Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Chase and the Fallen Angel by R.J. Castro + Interview

Chase and the Fallen Angel
The Chase Series, #1 
by R.J. Castro

Chase, an uninspired twenty-three year old, trudges through his uneventful life taking for granted the everyday privileges of his human existence. He does not realize how great life is until he is killed in a tragic, freak accident and unwillingly transformed into a guardian angel. Ripped away from his life and loved ones, he now finds himself living in an unfamiliar world where fantasy becomes a reality. He must carry the heavy responsibilities of protecting his Delicate (mortal) from dangers unseen to the human eye. With the help of his two new guardian angel friends, Trevor and Rachel, Chase is taking his first steps on the long journey to eternal peace by becoming a dedicated guardian angel. But the road to eternal happiness is far from easy when Chase has to find his inner strength and courage to battle malicious demons, a deranged priest and a merciless fallen angel.
Paperback, 424 pages
Published January 4th 2013 by Raymond Castro, Jr.

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap Date:  September 13, 2015

Writing is a joyful hobby that I have been doing since I was a child. In kindergarten I began writing stories for my class and that continued all the way through my sixth grade year. Yes, the stories were terribly written and cheesie but it was the creative process that I always enjoyed the most. In my fourth grade year I became a huge fan of the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. I even began writing my own series called "Chills" in the fourth grade and started selling those books to my fellow classmates. I fortunately own two of those stories to date and I have to say that I am still pretty impressed with my nine and ten-year-old self. My author name for the "Chills" series was R.J. Castro, following my hero R.L. Stine. I only felt it fitting that my author name as an adult should be R.J. Castro in dedication to the ten-year-old that always wanted to write. Writing was not my first choice occupation, I always wanted to be an actor, and still do. But my passion for writing became reignited when I read the first Harry Potter book back in 2009. I fell in love with reading all over again. I absolutely loved the magic, fantasy and I was inspired to write immediately. But what? I know I have always been fascinated with working with my hands but what if hands were used as the primary source of magic. I went to work the next day and thought and thought of a story, but I knew I wanted to stray away from vampires, witches, wizards and werewolves. That night I needed to talk about the book I was developing to someone, Kyle, my partner. The poor thing got an earful of nonsense but I didn't care, I just needed to tell someone. I must've spent a year in my head developing the story while studying writing and reading other books. Little by little Chase was born and his story was flowing out of my head, through my fingers and onto a blank screen. I am thrilled to have finished this story. I absolutely loved writing it and I love reading it. It really does give me hope for a better future and confidence in knowing that anything can be accomplished so long as you have the will and drive to pursue your dreams. 
Q & A with R.J. Castro

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Chase is the protagonist of the story. When he dies, we discover this new world through his eyes as he is now transformed into a guardian angel. What I like about him is that he adapts to this new world slowly, showing his vulnerability. He's not the typical first-to-battle hero. He takes a back seat, letting those more experienced take the lead and this is what makes him relatable, human and flawed. Chase has the room to grow as so many do. He makes mistakes and becomes stronger because of them. Imagine being thrust into a new way of living, one you didn't ask for, and already having to run before learning to walk--that is the new reality that Chase is experiencing.

Rachel is one of my favorites. She is a fellow guardian angel and shows tremendous amounts of patience toward Chase. She knows the job needs to get done but she doesn't expect Chase to become an expert over night. She is kind, warm and pleasant to be around. Rachel is Chase's "breath of fresh air' in this new life and his new best friend.

Trevor, oh man, this guy would drive me nuts in real life however I think he is most effective. He is a fellow guardian angel and he has a tough love type of personality which pushes Chase to his limits, as well as getting results the quickest. He gets the job done without doing it sensitively. I do like this guy but the "all-business" attitude would eventually make me want to scream in real life.

These three are in charge of watching over a family of Delicates (mortals), serving as a personal guardian angel to each of them. Chase serves Kyle, the dad in the family, while Rachel serves Claire, the mom, and Trevor serves their four year old son Alex. Together, this family is the model for perfection and one that Chase quickly falls in love with. Chase quickly learns his responsibilities of being a guardian angel once he realizes that outside threats compromise the safety of the family.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
A:  The cover art is done by Sylvia Lopez. I am a HUGE fan of her work. I think she has tremendous talent and I wanted others to appreciate her work as well. Originally, I only wanted a feather on the cover but I asked her to go crazy and send me whatever tickled her. When she sent back the rabbit head I was shocked, then I laughed out loud. I LOVED it! She thought it matched the morbid humor of the book, taking the subject of death and poking fun at it.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
 A:  My ideal writing spot is at home. There is peace and quiet here and I love it. I write in different places around the house just to keep ideas flowing and changing. I move areas when I get stuck on a sentence. My absolute favorite go-to spot would be the dining table, which gives a great view of the outside world for daydreaming. I love having my coffee or wine ready and this is the perfect spot for that.

What is the best advice you have been given?
The best advice I was ever given was never actually said to me. I believe in the universe playing a big part in giving you what you need. I was walking through Solvang one day and I HATE shopping, so I decided to sit out some stores while my partner and his parents went in. He finally convinced me to come into one and there were tons of motivational signs hanging on the wall. One of my favorites, that sticks with me to this day and I tell it to others is: "When you feel like quitting, remember why you started." I believe the universe wanted me to go into that store out of all the ones I skipped just so I would see that sign, and give me strength through the hardest of times. Another saying happened just as I was leaving work. I walked past two employees having a conversation, and at that moment, one employee said to the other: "You can't hit a home run without swinging the bat." What were the chances I would walk past them as he was saying that? Once again, thanks universe.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A:  As a child, I always wanted to be an actor. I loved the stage and I loved the rush of a live audience. I also loved portraying different people, getting to be evil, or dirty, or completely insane and it was all for the love of the art. Truthfully, I still do. But as I was growing up, I loved to tell stories and I even created my own series as a kid called "CHILLS" modeled after "GOOSEBUMPS" by R.L. Stine. He was actually the reason for my author name, something I felt I owed my ten year old self. It was only until recently, the past couple of years or so, that I truly realized what I love to do, and that is create. I didn't realize it when I was younger because I was so stuck on being an actor that I overlooked all the creative things I accomplished: invented several new board games, blueprints for rides, stories, scripts, and shows, just to name a few. This is why I think I love writing so much, because it allows me to create, and I love it.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
 A:  I prefer paperbacks. Nothing like sitting in my favorite spot on the couch, with my coffee or wine next to me, while physically turning the pages of a book. It feels like a mini vacation, and the time to myself to escape from the world.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
A:  If I could have a super power it would definitely be to be all-knowing. I think so much can get solved with it: how to cure diseases, how to cure world hunger, how to clean up the environment, how to get world peace, and how to get my series to become a best seller. Of course, it would have its cons as well, like: what does that person think of me, who is my mother's favorite and what does my partner really think of my cooking and so on but I think the sacrifice would be worth it.

What book are you reading now?
 A:  The book I am currently reading is Legend by Marie Lu. I started it in November of 2014 but in between that time I finished the Maze Runner series. I don't think I'm hooked into the story of Legend yet and it is also very hard for me to read books because I am constantly coming up with ideas for Chase in my head.

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