By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The foundation of Riya Anne Polcastro’s first novel started off as a joke that turned into a story she couldn’t let go of.
“I had a friend who was really depressive and always seemed on the verge of suicide. I finally told him that if he was ever going to do it he’d have to pay somebody,” Polcastro said.
Suicide in Tiny Increments had its beginnings in that moment. The novel is the tale of Daniel Long, a depressed and miserable man, who puts out a hit on his own life. Not long after he realizes the error of his ways and tries to cancel the contract, but his chosen executor isn’t quite so understanding.
Polcastro, who is a bartender at Keizer’s Ringo’s Tavern in her alter ego, said what separates her writing from others is the lack of a sympathetic protagonist.
“The main character is kind of a jerk all the way through. One of my reviewers said their favorite character was actually the hitman,” she said.
Polcastro started dictating stories to family and friends at a young age, but only threw herself into the process about five years ago. Suicide took only three months to write in 2011, but it never found a home with an agent. She opted to self-publish earlier this year. The first copies arrived in June. Copies of the book are available locally at Ringo’s and more widely in e-book format from retailers like amazon.com.
She counts among her influences the Pacific Northwest’s own Chuck Palaniuk and Leo Tolstoy with a dash of Christopher Moore.
Having pushed her first book out into the world, Polcastro is already prepping her next book for publication this fall. It’s titled Jane and again touches on the fringes of mental illness.
“It’s about someone going crazy and making the conscious decision to follow that path and see where it goes,” she said. “I tend to be fascinated by mental illness and how it affects interactions between people.”
Admittedly, her day job gives her more than a few sources of inspiration.
After Jane reaches its audience, her next book will be targeted for the young adult crowd and tackles the question of whether humanity used up the resources of another planet before arriving on Earth.
“It’s told from the point of view of a 13-year-old alien boy. It’s kind of dark and visual and graphic and sci-fi lite,” she said.
While she’s used to working on multiple projects at this point, the well is in no danger of running dry.
“I feel like there are these stories that have to get out. Each has its own power and will claw at me if I try to control it,” Polcastro said.
For more on the book, visit www.riyaannepolcastro.com.