Monday, May 22, 2023

Shelf Edition: Debra Castaneda


Do you have any recent favorite Horror Spotlight books?

I loved Lone Women! What Moves the Dead was the perfect length between longer books and delivered all the stuff I’ve come to expect from T. Kingfisher: creep, quirkiness, and unconventional MCs with attitude. If you haven’t read Monstrilio, please check it out! It’s a wonderfully weird and beautifully written debut novel and I will now read anything Gerardo Samano Cordova writes. It’s a monster story with heart. I bought the hardback after checking it out from the library. 


Which Horror Spotlight books do you currently have on your TBR?

The Scourge Between Stars
Gods of Jade and Shadow
This Thing Between Us 

I’ve heard so much about these and can’t wait to read them! 

Like many readers, my TBR is out of control. I belong to Kindle Unlimited and that's where I discover many new-to-me authors, and if I see an intriguing title on sale, I snag it. But I'm a big mood reader, and my mood decides what I'm reading next. I'm not big into extreme horror, but I do have extreme horror on my Kindle as a challenge to myself, but I keep chickening out. I also keep a pile of physical books. I've seen such great reviews of these books and I'm excited to read them soon.

Where do you find recommendations? Are there any Horror Spotlight books that have been recommended to you that you loved?


I find recommendations on Horror Spotlight, of course! Instagram and the Books of Horror Group on Facebook. 

Recommended on Horror Spotlight:  Sister Maiden Monster blew me away. I’m a big chicken and don’t read much extreme horror, but for some reason, I wasn’t put off by the gore. Lucy A. Snyder also has this incredible way of delivering facts without info dumping and twists that drop like a bomb. 

I read and loved Bound Feet by Kelsea Yu and Linghun by Ai Jiang. Also, A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher, which made me laugh as much as it creeped me out.

Are there any upcoming Horror Spotlight releases you're excited about? 

Yes! I’m excited to read The Reformatory by Tananarive Due and Isabel Cañas’ Vampires of El Norte.

Let’s get a little adventurous. Answer one or both: What Horror Spotlight book (or story, or movie, etc) would you like to see turned into a Muppet Movie? And/Or Who would play you in a horror movie based on your life?

Monstrilio would make a PERFECT Muppet Movie as evidenced by the illustration of Monstrilio as a monster baby. Lol. 

In regards to your own work, tell our readers a little bit about what’s new and/or coming up for you.

I have a novella coming out June 30th. Circus at Devil’s Landing is the origin story for the cryptids in my coastal horror novel, The Devil’s Shallows. That one did my head in. Since the story starts off in Mexico, and I watched way too many telenovelas with my grandmother, I kept trying to turn the story into a telenovela. As a result, many chapters were written only to be killed. Next up is another coastal horror novel, inspired by the massive storm that struck my hometown of Capitola, California. 

I’m sharing a photo of what I call my wrapping station. I’ve always loved wrapping and collecting unusual stamps, but I got too busy writing and stopped. Recently, I started selling signed paperbacks of my spooky books on Etsy. So out came the paper, ribbons and I started buying new stamps too. So now, I’ve reclaimed a hobby and it makes me so happy.


Where can people find you on social media and/or find your work?

🖋 My books 🖋
New Release: The Copper Man: A Dark Earth Rising Novel
Active Member, Horror Writers Association
Follow me on Facebook or Instagram

Debra Castaneda grew up in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California as an only child. Finding adult conversation boring, she found companionship in books. She wrote her first murder mystery in the fifth grade and turned it in as a homework assignment.

After college, she became a journalist working in television, radio, and online. Her work has been featured on Marketplace, This American Life, and National Public Radio (one story took her behind bars at San Quentin Prison to cover a baseball game). Most recently, she worked as a TV news director on the Central Coast of California.

Now, she devotes herself full-time to writing horror and dark fiction. Her novella, The Monsters of Chavez Ravine, is a 2021 International Latino Book Awards gold medal winner for Fantasy/SciFi-English. It also made two CrimeReads Best of 2021 lists: Horror and Historical Fiction.

For much of her professional life, she has worked under her married name, Debra Monroe, but she writes fiction under her family name of Castaneda.

For inspiration, Debra draws from her experience as a journalist, as a third-generation Mexican American, and as someone who has lived in various parts of the country, including Dallas, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Portland, and the San Francisco Bay area.

Debra lives in Capitola, California with her husband. She enjoys rediscovering the Mexican dishes of her childhood and texting her two daughters about her latest binge-watch.

Teresa creates the Shelf Edition posts, creates bookish lists and is a contributing reviewer at Horror Spotlight. You can find Teresa on Goodreads, and on Twitter.

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