Sunday, January 27, 2013

Joy Castro

Joy Castro is the author of the thriller Hell or High Water, which received a starred review from Booklist for its “exquisite New Orleans background, intriguing newsroom politics and atmosphere, a flawed but plucky heroine, and skillfully paced suspense.” Also the author of two memoirs, The Truth Book and Island of Bones, she lives with her husband in Lincoln, Nebraska and teaches creative writing, literature, and Latino studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

From her Q & A with Mandy Van Deven at In The Fray:

Your novel is set in New Orleans, a place known for its stark contrast between the lives of blacks and whites, rich and poor. What do you find compelling about placing a struggling Latina journalist in this post-Katrina backdrop?

There are a couple of reasons. First, like many people, I love the city of New Orleans. My husband grew up on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and he lived, went to college, and worked in the city as a young adult. When we met in graduate school, he took me home to meet his family, and I fell in love with the city as I was falling in love with him. I’ve been going there regularly for twenty years now, and my affection and respect for New Orleans made me want to set a novel there.

You’re right about the black-white construction of race and ethnicity in New Orleans. While there has famously and historically been a great deal of mixing, it has usually been defined along a black-white continuum, though the influx of Latino construction workers and their families has shifted the demographic somewhat since Katrina. I was interested in exploring how a character lives her Latinidad in an environment where there’d been almost no Latino community.

You have personal experience with that as well.

Being a Latina without an ethnic community was my own experience growing up. Though I was born in Miami, we...[read on]
Visit Joy Castro’s website and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Hell or High Water.

Writers Read: Joy Castro.

--Marshal Zeringue