Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Former Darke County resident is a New York Times best-selling author

photo from lindacastillo.com
Linda Castillo lived with her family in Greenville and Ithaca - and graduated from Arcanum High School - before starting her career as an author. She wrote twenty-two books for two publishers before hitting the New York Times best seller list with her Amish crime thrillers SWORN TO SILENCE and PRAY FOR SILENCE. Now living in Texas, Linda was willing to do an email interview for DarkeJournal.

Linda, how long were you in Darke County?
My family moved to Darke County when I was in seventh grade. We lived in Greenville and then moved to Ithaca a couple of years later. I graduated from Arcanum High School. I don’t have any family in the area, but I do have many friends I enjoy visiting.

Did you live on a farm - or inner-city Ithaca?
We had five acres about a mile outside of Ithaca.

Did anyone at Arcanum H.S. influence your career as an author?
Like most writers, I loved to write from a very young age. I would have to say the teacher that influenced me most was Marilee Pallant. She encouraged creativity and really embraced the writing process. She had an open mind, she loved her students, and truly enjoyed teaching. She just recently retired.

Where do you live now? Are you married / have children?
I live in the Texas Panhandle with my husband, Ernest. We don’t have any children, but we do have two appaloosa horses, three dogs and a neat little barn cat.

Also…I’m an avid horsewoman. A hobby that I believe came into being because of my Ohio roots and the always-fabulous Darke County Fair, where I showed in 4-H and an open show.

Have you always been an author, or have you had other jobs?
I had quite a few jobs before I turned to writing. Some were quite interesting, most not so much. My very first job was detasseling corn for Dekalb when I was fourteen years old. I also worked on the third shift assembly line making Fram oil filters for a spell. I collected hot checks for a major pizza company in Dallas. And I worked for the Daily Advocate newspaper in Greenville, Ohio.

You are a New York Times best seller. When was your big break?
The first installment of my Amish thriller series, SWORN TO SILENCE, was my first New York Times bestselling novel. PRAY FOR SILENCE was my second. The publishing industry is a tough cookie to crack. For most writers, success (a relative term, btw) is a slow build. I wrote twenty two books for two publishers before I “hit the list.” The “big break” came with the Amish crime thrillers.

What's your new book about?
Here’s a neat snippet from the back cover copy: The Plank family recently moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill, Ohio. They were the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold November night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English and each other, but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary.

When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teen-aged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn that the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. As Kate’s outrage grows, so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

What prompted your interest in the Amish?
A visit to Amish country a few years ago prompted the core idea and setting for SWORN TO SILENCE. But that was only the beginning.

I was nearly finished with the book when the horrific Amish school shootings occurred in Pennsylvania. The event hit me particularly hard because I had done a tremendous amount of research on the Amish. In the aftermath of the shootings, like many Americans, I was angry and wanted answers. In stark contrast to my own reaction, the Amish mindset was one of forgiveness. That tragedy illuminated some very fundamental differences between the Amish and mainstream society. It was an illuminating moment for me as a writer.

I couldn’t think of a more interesting setting for my book. As a writer, I wanted to explore the culture. I wanted to write a protagonist that could immerse us in that world. A character torn between two cultures—cultures that many times clash. I wanted to inject something terrible into this wholesome small town to see how this diverse character handled that kind of stress. I love the juxtaposition of wholesome versus evil, particularly in thrillers. I believe I accomplished that with this series.

How can people learn more about you?
Anyone who’s interested in my backlist can go to my website at www.lindacastillo.com.



  2. She has a hole in her jeans, which must mean she's really cool. LOL I couldn't resist. I must be an old man, because I cannot understand that particular fashion.

  3. you're pretty cool JP, but she's way out of your league !!

  4. LOL, I like my league just fine, thank you.

  5. Advocate mentioned class of 1978.

  6. No way the person in the pic is 50 years old.

    I call shenanigans (or typos).

  7. She did graduate in the class of 1978 from Arcanum. My brother knows her, and she is 50 years old.

  8. ok, gossip time is over. why isn't anyone talking about how amazing it is that a darke county native has written TWO new york times best sellers?

  9. Inner - city Ithaca???

  10. DJ, agreed, very very impressive. I don't think highly of the NYT due to its journalistic integrity, however, what she has accomplished is quite an accomplishment.

  11. Her maiden name was Linda Coble and she did graduate from Arcanum in 1978. Went to school with her and she was somewhat quiet but a very nice girl. Glad that she made it - pretty cool and she does look fantastic for 50!

  12. Maybe that is a photo from 10 years ago......

  13. I will check out her books....see is they are anything like Tamar Myers who has a career writing awesome mystery books about the Mennonites and such. Love her writing. Congrats.

  14. I read her first book and it is GREAT. I am looking forward to the new one.
    She's as good as Tamar Myers. Her books are more serious than funny.

  15. I also went to school with Linda...that is a recent photo. She looks great and is super talented

  16. Whe I was reading the book I had no clue she was from Darke county. I grew up in Arcanum and recognized so many places she wrote about that I had to look her up and find out where she came from. It's pretty cool to know she is from Darke county.


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