As many fans of “Castle” are aware, the series’ raffish mystery writer, Richard Castle, has managed the unique feat of emerging from TV and coming out with best-selling books in the real world — more than 2.3 million copies in 14 languages, no less. His fifth book, Deadly Heat, is just now hitting booksellers. Deadly Heat is once again centered on the brilliant, beautiful NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat (inspired by Castle’s beloved Kate Beckett) and investigative journo Jameson Rook (a stand-in for Castle himself).
You may imagine that, being a fictional character, Castle gets a lot of help from his writers, but of course ABC and everyone involved in the show and the books are mum on that topic. Castle — a dead ringer for oh-so-handsome TV star Nathan Fillion — even does book signings. The series that bears his name is back for its sixth season Monday (9-23). Beck/Smith Hollywood caught up with the author for an interview somewhere in that space between reality and fiction.
Beck/Smith Hollywood: Nikki and Jameson have to thwart both a terror plot AND a serial killer in your new book, is that right? That’s an awful lot to deal with at once. Did you have it all plotted out in advance, or do some elements of your novels sort of introduce themselves as you go along?
Richard Castle: Writing a novel is like taking a great road trip. You always need to have a destination in mind, and be driving toward it. But it’s the little side trips and adventures you take along the way that make it interesting. I knew where I wanted to end, and knew basically how I wanted to get there, but I always leave room for exploration, inspiration, and the happy joyous accidents of discovery.
BSH: Will you be traveling and doing book signings to promote the book as in the past?
RC: I’d like to, but my secret identity as a crime fighter has been keeping me quite engaged.
BSH: Can you imagine yourself marrying again?
RC: I can imagine myself with magical powers fighting dragons, so anything’s possible. And you know the old saying… third time’s the charm.
BSH: How do you feel about the press in general, and how do you deal with it when they want more personal information than you want to give?
RC: If you think this gets you off the hook for the “marry again” question, you’re sadly mistaken. I actually love the press. They’re like my drunk aunt at Thanksgiving, always asking the offensive questions that everyone wants to know the answer to, but are way too polite to ask.
How do I deal with it when they want more personal information than I want to give? I usually just make something up. After all, as a professional novelist, that’s what I’m good at.
BSH: Do you have a bucket list? What items are still on it?
RC: I do have a bucket list. “Time travel” and “Going into space” are at the top right now. And I haven’t had a cronut yet.
BSH: Having taken that journey of having one of your books made into a film in the past, if another of your books was picked up by Hollywood, what would you do differently this time? Demands you would make?
RC: Next time, I’d like more control over the script… and the director…and the casting…
BSH: What TV shows do you like?
RC: Actually, I don’t watch TV. I read.
Ha! I so watch TV. Lots of it. Don’t you hate those people at dinner parties who say “I don’t watch TV.” They’re such liars. You know they’re racing home from that dinner party to watch a “Duck Dynasty” marathon. I like smart, well written stuff. And lots of trash. I mean it’s cool to say you like “Breaking Bad,” which I do, but isn’t it cooler to admit to a three-day “River Monsters” binge? I also like that Nathan Fillion show.
BSH: If your daughter wanted to become a writer, how would you feel about that?
RC: I’d love her anyway.
BSH: Do you read your reviews, and have harsh ones (I seem to recall an especially mean one for Flowers for Your Grave) hurt you? How do you come back from disappointment?
RC: I try not to read reviews, but they’re impossible to avoid, especially when my mother insists on reading me the bad ones to “keep me grounded.”
As far as coming back from disappointment, some people say that disappointment fuels success. I say that disappointment fuels revenge fantasies that fuel success.
BSH: Jameson Rook has written romance novels under the pen name Victoria St. Clair. Have you ever written a romance novel, or if not, would you consider one for fun?
RC: No comment.
BSH: Getting to know your father — has it made an impact on your life, your outlook?
RC: I grew up without a father, without even knowing who he was. I think it inadvertently helped me become a novelist because I’d lie awake at night making up stories about him. Having just recently met him, albeit briefly, I can say that he surpassed everything I ever imagined. And though it’s put some demons to rest… I have to admit that it’s awakened others.
BSH: What’s next for you?
RC: A nap.