Author Q&A - Anthony Policastro

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Absence of Faith
Anthony Policastro
Anthony S. Policastro is the author of two novels, and a freelance writer with articles in The New York Times, American Photographer, and other national, regional and local publications.

His first novel, Absence of Faith, involving a mystery that causes the highly religious residents of a small coastal town to lose their faith, is available free as an e-book from and in print from

About the Author

Anthony S. Policastro has been writing all his life.

PhotobucketThe publication of his first novel, Absence of Faith, is the pinnacle of his work having previously published articles in The New York Times, American Photographer and other national, regional, and local publications.

Policastro was the former editor-in-chief of Carolina Style magazine, a regional lifestyle publication similar to Southern Living magazine. He was a former journalist, photographer, and web master. The author’s background is in technology, business intelligence, and communications.

He has two BA degrees - one in Creative Writing, and another in American Studies from Penn State University, both of which have greatly enhanced his writing career. A member of the Backspace writers group, he has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and a BA in American Studies both from Penn State University.

His short essay on “What does it mean to be an American family” won in the Borders Books contest to promote the movie and book, Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. He currently writes a blog with Michael Neff, creator and editor of the Webdelsol and Algonkian websites, about writers’ issues called The Writer’s Edge. Policastro and Neff have been referred to as the Ebert and Roeper of the literary scene with their point/counterpoint posts.

Born in New Jersey, he now lives in North Carolina with his wife. He has two sons and a daughter.

Author's Q&A

1 Q. Where do you get your ideas for a book?

ASP: I’m always thinking of what ifs. I guess this goes back to my curiosity as a kid. I was always interested is how things worked, what made them work and why? I still have that curiosity.  I like to push the envelope and see what happens, and then I know how and why things work the way they do. One of my favorite web sites is How Stuff Works. Sometimes I think that site was made for me. I think to be a good writer you have to be curious about everything.

2 Q. How did you come up with the idea for Absence of Faith?

ASP: I had just finished my first novel and my wife and I were discussing story ideas for the next book when we came up with the idea for Absence of Faith.  What would you do if you lost your belief in religion, your belief in God and thought everything was hopeless? What if you lost something that was extremely important to you? What would you do?

Bestselling author and psychic Sylvia Browne writes in her book, Prophecy, that, "...our beliefs are the driving force behind our behavior, our opinions, our actions. Without faith, without our beliefs, we're lost."
These are the issues addressed in the novel.

3 Q. How did you come up with the plot for Absence of Faith?

ASP: I always start out with a basic concept, a unique what if situation and let the plot evolve from there. I’ve tried outlining the plot chapter by chapter and found it too constricting on my creativity. I found myself trying to fit the characters into the plot rather than letting the characters create the plot for me.

4 Q. The characters create the plot for you? How does that work?

ASP: Each character has unique qualities and traits and when you put that character into a specific situation, he or she will react in a certain way. If you have a character that is very stubborn and you put him in a situation where he is faced with a multiple of decisions, he will most likely pick the decision that he knows works rather than the right decision. His actions then drive the plot forward. For every action there is a reaction.

5 Q. Why did you write this book?

ASP: I have wanted to write a novel since I was 17, but when I sat down to write, I had nothing to say. I hadn’t lived long enough; I didn’t have enough life experiences to write anything outside of myself.

I wrote this book to communicate an idea; to let people into the unique way I view the world. I love to communicate to people information that helps them or enlightens them. I like to invent unique situations and characters and see how people react to them with laughter, sadness, elation, surprise, or delight. I’m thrilled when that happens.

6 Q. Do you think you have a bestseller?

ASP: That’s a loaded question. Every author believes they have a bestseller, but the truth will be known when people read it and recommend it to others. I hope so, but the market will decide that for me.

In light of all the interest in spirituality and religion that was spawned by The DaVinci Code and other books, my book may be of interest. It is about the affirmation of faith; it doesn’t matter what religion you practice or what you believe in as long as you have faith in something. This is the message in my book.

7 Q. Have you written other novels?

ASP: Yes. Dark End of the Spectrum, my third book, is a mystery suspense thriller about hackers who take over the US power grid and cell phone network. My first novel, The Water Witch, which I wrote in 1990 has to be modernized to bring it into the 21st century, and I have a new one that I started last year, Looking for Lucy, that I hope to finish in the next few months.

8 Q: Where do you get all these ideas for novels?

ASP: Funny you asked that. I may be reading something in a magazine or online and suddenly an idea jumps into my head – a what if question. Then I do a little research on the question to see if it is plausible and to make sure no one has written a novel with the same concept. If I don’t have the time to research it right away, I write the idea down and do it later.

9 Q. What are your goals as a novelist?

ASP: I want to tell a story that helps people live more meaningful lives - a story that enables them to better understand the problems facing everyone. A lot of writers write for themselves and there is nothing wrong with this because what they write sometimes helps all of us. I always write with the reader in mind and what they will get out of my work.

10 Q. What advice would you give to upcoming writers?

ASP: Never give up if you truly want to be an author. It’s a tough road, but every published author I know goes down the same road and has a bag full of disappointment, self-doubt, and loss of purpose. Just keep writing.

Thank you for that interesting post, dear Author! Readers, your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

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