“Fear Drives My Writing” (“Dark End of the Spectrum” author Anthony S. Policastro)

Both of my novels, DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH, both mystery/thrillers, were written out of fear, universal fears that I believe all of us consider at one time or another.
DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is about Dan Riker, a computer security expert whose family is kidnapped by digital terrorists who take over the power grid and cell phone network and hold the United States hostage. Dan is the only one with the know-how to stop them, but the hackers have his family and he must decide to save his family or save millions of people.

While I wrote this book the fear of losing my own family pervaded my thoughts and I wrapped a plot around this fear using the latest wireless technologies and a lot of imagination. I still have my family and the thought of losing them is unimaginable. This was the fuel for DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM.

Dan’s life is well planned, predicted and uneventful like most of our lives and I wanted to see how Dan would react when all of that is shattered in an instant when his family disappears.

Does Dan have the courage to save his family or will he just give up because he never had to face such insurmountable odds? Will he save millions of people whose lives are threatened by the terrorists or will he save his family? The book is not just about technology.

These are some of the questions I addressed in the book and when or if you read the book you may ask yourself these same questions and maybe better understand your own capabilities.

ABSENCE OF FAITH also addresses universal fears when residents in a highly religious small town have horrible near-death experiences and wake up with burnt skin.  They believe they went to hell and that God has abandoned them. Matters get worse when a local Satanic cult emerges and wins over many residents.

My fears of losing all hope and all faith in the face of a downturn in life is what spawned ABSENCE OF FAITH. Again, I was interested in how people would react if you stripped them of all hope and faith. Would they pick themselves up and continue their lives? What would they do when this great fear overtakes them.

These are the questions I address in ABSENCE OF FAITH.

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.”

I have always been interested in religion and why and how it has such a powerful hold on all of us and what would happen if it were taken away.

I not only wanted my books to entertain, but I also wanted them to inspire, educate and leave readers with something to think about after they put the book down for the last time. I wanted the books to be relevant to people’s lives today and some of the problems we all face in the journey of life. I hope my books are that and more.    

Both DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH are available as paperbacks from Outer Banks Publishing Group, Amazon.com and as ebooks from Smashwords.com and the Amazon Kindle.
Both books will soon appear on Barnes and Noble’s new ebook site.

Visit my blogs for tips on writing, publishing, and books, WRITING IS ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF TO WORDS and THE WRITER’S EDGE.

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10 QUESTIONS FOR…mystery author Anthony S. Policastro


**Note to readers: Although Anthony’s 10 questions are not our standard 10, I’m sure you’ll still find his answers interesting! You can always post questions for him!

Author #10: Anthony S. Policastroaofcover2-13headshot

Absence of Faith, a new novel with a twist of faith


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 smashwords.com and in print from Lulu.com

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.