Pleasanton author Holly Castillo released her book “A SEAL Never Quits,” this past summer. It is the first book in Castillo’s thrilling romantic suspense series about Navy SEALS.
The public is invited to a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at The Shops at La Cantera in San Antonio, on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. Castillo will be joined by other authors for a special Q&A session. Castillo looks forward to discussing how they get their ideas, why they write and more.
In 2017, Castillo released “Texas Conquest,” the first book in her Texas Legacy series.
“Those started out really focusing on the Texas Revolution. The last book was set in December of 1840, about four years after Texas had won independence,” said Castillo.
Her Navy SEALs series is being published by Sourcebooks, a large publisher. She didn’t know if she could get her foot in the door with Sourcebooks, but reached out and sent a blind email. Castillo received a response from an editor saying, “Let’s talk.”
She learned that big publishers like to stagger the books in a series much farther apart. She signed a contract in March of 2018, with the release date of July 2019. It was a blind deal, as Castillo did not have a book, just a concept. She was signed for three books.
In the past year, they have worked on the edits and creating the world featured in the series. She said the unusual aspect of this is that SEALs aren’t normally put on assignment in the United States, nor fighting terrorism in Central and South America.
“It was creating that world where it worked or it fit, so we spent a lot of time on that.”
Her third book is in edits now. The second book is projected for release in early March.
“It has been an adventure.”
The book’s description reads:
“A SEAL is ready for anything… except losing his heart…
Lieutenant Amador “Stryker” Salas and his tight-knit Navy SEAL team are undercover on a Texas ranch and tasked with covert ops across the border. It’s an assignment that requires all their skills, all their secrets, and all their know-how.
Anya Gutierrez, the local veterinarian, has been serving the ranch for years. She loves the animals and ranching life, and Stryker finds her a breath of fresh air in his otherwise rigidly disciplined existence.
When Anya gets caught in the crosshairs of a mission gone sideways, Stryker must tell her the truth about who he really is, risking everything to keep her out of harm’s way, even if it destroys him…”
Castillo shared how much harder it is to go from writing historical to writing something contemporary.
“A lot of people say, oh, well it must have been easier because you don’t have to research as much for contemporary. Any book that you write has to have really in-depth research, or otherwise you’re going to miss certain key components,” said Castillo.
She researched the Navy SEALs program with a close friend of hers, and her husband, Rudy. Their friend was in the Navy for 20 years. She also met and interviewed a retired Navy SEAL, asking him about the concept and if this could realistically happen– SEALs stationed in America. He told Castillo that yes it has happened, you just don’t know about it.
As the book is set in Hebbronville on the Texas border, the Castillos took a weekend trip there and studied the area. Holly credits her husband for often helping her with research and fact-checking. They visited a cafe and asked for permission to use them in the book.
So how did they decide on featuring Navy SEALs?
The editor approached Castillo about her great knowledge of Texas and ranch life. Her editor wanted to see something like, Band of Brothers working together against criminals. The editor discussed how cowboys are always in. What first came to Holly’s mind was to feature Army Rangers, as her dad was the captain of the Rangers.
“He had that Special Ops experience and told me stories growing up.”
They decided upon a series on Navy SEALs. Much of the series is pulled straight from the headlines and current events, such as drug cartels, human trafficking and conspiracy within the American judiciary process, said Castillo.
“We wanted to be sure that this wasn’t about, America is superior to our southern neighbors. We wanted to be sure that this is recognizing that this is something unusual. That is where the whole terrorist plot comes in.”
As someone who studied Texas history intensely, Castillo said she had to take note of the difference between how people speak now vs. in the 1800s.
Castillo celebrated with a book signing on Aug. 24, after the book’s release on July 30. Her husband and children, Rudy and Sierra were able to attend. Both children attend Pleasanton ISD. Rudy is a junior and Sierra is in sixth grade.
Her son is extremely interested in being a literary agent.
“He took an aptitude test, and that was one of the jobs it listed he would be good at.”
Her daughter wants to be an author.
“She loves to write. She has written multiple short stories and it is something she has a passion for.”
Castillo has also served as a mentor for her daughter’s closest friends who both want to write. She also meets with other family friends, putting ideas together.
“It’s great to have that experience of getting to mentor someone and getting to share what you’ve learned and see them grow, and have that encouragement, because it’s like okay, someone actually thinks I can do this. Someone believes in me. It goes so far for kids. It goes really far for adults, too. It makes a huge impact.”
She is thankful for her husband’s support. He encouraged her to “give it a go.”
Castillo has more projects lined up. Her editor has seen a lot of interest in the historical pick-ups since this one came out. So she asked Holly to submit a proposal for the next four in the historical series, which follows Texas Rangers, from the years of 1842-1845.
Castillo described how she always has a book idea in her head.
“Usually it is multiple book ideas going on at the same time, competing.”
Once the children are off to school, she devotes an hour and a half to posting on social media and interacting with followers. The rest of the day is spent on either researching or writing. However, she tries to stop her writing when the children get home.
She has had some health related issues with her back and is scheduled for surgery later this year. She uses her experience to help others. While it has been rough, she feels everything happens for a reason. She receives amazing support from family and friends at her church, St. Andrew Catholic Church in Pleasanton.
She loves writing because it allows her to go into her own world.
“Whatever I imagine, I get to write. So many people have daydreams and think wouldn’t it be amazing to write about this or that, and I actually get to do that. It’s wonderful and exciting. Sometimes I feel so strongly about my characters that my manusripts will make me cry. Other times I laugh out loud at the perfect comedic set up.”
Castillo is always open to ideas on future books. She asks the public to share them, as it is helpful.
You can follow her on Facebook under “Holly Castillo Author.” Her Twitter tag is hcastilloauthor and on Instagram it is Castillo.holly.