The Conjurer & Other Azorean Tales

My dad (Darrell Kastin) has a new short story collection that came out this past December and lots of exciting things have been in the works so I thought I would share them with you 🙂

The collection is called The Conjurer & Other Azorean Tales (you can order it here) and it is filled with magic, poetry, humor and saudade. Here’s the official description:

Etched from the fertile volcanic soil and the sea and mists surrounding the Azorean islands, the characters who inhabit these stories merge realism with magic. Like the nine Muses, each island has its own special attributes. Whether searching for love, power or meaning, these characters are subject to the whims of Fate and Fortune. Here the commonplace present confronts forces both natural and supernatural. Taking place in the Azorean microcosm, they come to represent a far larger and wider sphere, depicting the foibles and idiosyncrasies of humanity the world over.

If you’re curious to know more about the Azores and my dad’s relationship with the islands you can read this article he wrote on the RTP blog, “The Other Realm, Writing about the Azores“. Here’s a little snippet:

We no longer think of mysteries pervading the landscape. They’ve all been chased away by skyscrapers and television, by computers, automobiles, and cell phones. For example, people no longer go off in search of mysterious islands of Gold or Women, remote havens that went by many names, but which can be summed up by The Fortunate Islands. Islands that rose and sank, elusive, just out of reach, fading into the mists from which they appeared.

We think the only mysteries left are in space, or perhaps in the deepest trenches of the oceans, not in our own backyards. But there are other places, realms in which things can’t be readily explained away as fancy or delusions. And the Azores is a place that lends itself to mystery.

You can also check out these two interviews: “Beauty of the Azores inspires collection of short stories” and “Darrell Kastin: His allure of the Azores and his work in progress– Interview“.

If you’re curious to read one of the short stories check out “Constança’s War with the Elements“.

Also, my dad’s going to be at a couple of events in the next few months. He’ll be at the LAEF XXXVII Annual Conference, March 22-23, CA State University Stanislaus (in Turlock). He’ll be participating in the workshop led by Frank Sousa to discuss Portuguese-American authors writing in English.

And July 25-27 he’ll be at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend the international conference Exploring the Portuguese Diaspora in InterDisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives.

And finally, if you want to keep up with events and updates and that sort of thing, “like” his new facebook author page!

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The Next Big Thing

First of all, a thank you to Lyn Miller-Lachmann for tagging me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. You can read all about her awesome new book, Rogue, here.

I was originally going to write about my thesis, Triptych, but then this shiny new idea took over my brain so I’m going to write about that instead. You’ll just have to forgive me 🙂

What is the working title of your book?

La isla de la luna or The Island of the Moon.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This actually started as a story that the protagonist in Triptych was writing. So it was originally a story within a story. Then it kept getting longer and more complicated and eventually became more interesting than the original novel and seduced me away from it, lol.

What genre does your book fall under?

Spanish-flavored fantasy?

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have no idea how to answer this. Most of the Spanish actors I know are older than my protagonists. Clearly I need to watch more Spanish films.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A young girl washes up on one of the last floating islands with the power to control the sea and meets the dangerous Crooked Man, a magician who makes her question everything she’s taken for granted: her courtiers and friends, her magic and her past.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Hopefully when I finish this it will be represented by an agent!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ve only written bits and pieces so far. I’m nowhere near done yet.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is another hard question. I haven’t seen a whole lot of Spanish-themed fantasy books. I’d say “Pan’s Labyrinth” (even though it’s obviously not a book), but the time period is all wrong.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been seriously needing to write some self-indulgent fantasy and this story has given me permission to do that. I’ve always been in love with the sea and dreamed of having my own island and being able to do magic. I’m also very fond of tricksy magicians. So this story rose up out of my desire to write about many of the things that excite me as a writer/reader. I actually sat down recently and brainstormed all the exciting things I could put in this book. It made me deliriously happy.

What else about your book might pique the readers interest?

I’m just going to write you a list of awesomeness to entice you. This story contains: the daughter of the sea, a shape shifting magician who collects hearts, a floating island, an Iberian lynx named Fuego, a red fox named Lucifer, a ship wreck, a curse, a troupe of traveling players, masquerade balls, and ships with black sails. Hey, there may even be pirates. We’ll see 😉

And now to tag other writers to share their Next Big Thing…

L. Marie

Sharon Van Zandt

Val Howlett