A Gift for you from Selene

Hello Reader!

Thank you so much for visiting. My name is Selene Castrovilla and I’m pleased to offer you three gifts:

  1. My novel SAVED BY THE MUSIC in its entirety.
  2. The opening of my novel MELT.
  3. And an exclusive peek at the sequel to MELT: SIGNS OF LIFE!


I hope you enjoy these gifts, along with the bonus content shared below. I love hearing feedback from readers, please feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear what you think!


SAVED BY THE MUSIC was a both a painful labor, and a labor love. It’s about me, raw and unfiltered, when I was a teen. It’s something I fought to keep inside because I felt if I let it out it would kill me, until my thesis advisor at THE NEW SCHOOL said, “Keeping it inside is killing you.”

She was right.

Below, please find a synopsis, and an interview Embracing The Child did with me when the book was released:

Saved_by_Music_mediumSaved By The Music

Publisher: ASD Publishing
Publication Date: May 13, 2013
(WestSide Books, 2009)

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The last place fifteen-year-old Willow wants to spend her summer is on a run-down former coffee barge in a boatyard in Rockaway, New York. But that’s where her aunt is converting the broken down hulk into a floating concert hall and Willow has no choice but to help; her unstable mom has kicked her out for the summer. Willow’s miserable when she sees that there isn’t even a shower on the barge, and she has to deal with Craig, the leering hunk of a construction worker working with her aunt. The only bright spot is Axel, an older teenage boy living alone on a neighboring sailboat. Introverted and mysterious, he has the soul of a poet, a deep, philosophical mind, and loves Shakespeare. He’s also scarred by a painful, disturbing past, and the two bond through their shared pain and laughter. But when devastating events threaten to destroy them, Willow and Axel struggle to save each other – and themselves – before it’s too late.

Your story begins with fifteen-year-old Willow sent off to spend the summer with her free-spirited aunt in a boatyard, on a barge. How did you come up with such a unique setting?

Castrovilla: I can’t take credit for creating the setting – I lived in it. When I was a child I helped my aunt Olga Bloom transform a dilapidated coffee barge into a floating concert hall. It’s called Bargemusic, and it’s been offering concerts for more than thirty years. I used this metamorphosis as the premise for my book.Selene Castrovilla

ETC: So is it fair to say that the relationship between Willow and Aunt Agatha is true?

Castrovilla: Yes. While the story is fictionalized, that portrayal is dead-on. People who know us comment on how accurate our voices are. Among other things, this book is a testament to the relationship which taught me that anything is possible if you believe in it and are willing to follow it through. I wouldn’t be the writer or the person I am if not for my experiences with Aunt Olga.

ETC: What else is this book about?

Castrovilla: It’s primarily a coming of age story, about Willow’s struggle to fit in. When Willow meets two boys – one mysterious, one an obvious “bad boy” – and she makes the choices that she does, teen readers will see that there’s far reaching consequences to the decisions they rush into, and maybe a boy’s attention isn’t as vital as their own self-esteem.

ETC: Axel, the mysterious boy you mention, lives alone on a sailboat and has some major issues. Combining these with Willow’s problems, would you say this book is issue-driven?

Castrovilla: No. The issues are there but they don’t pound you over the head. The book is character-driven, and the issues are factors which affect characters and hence the story. It’s not the issues which are paramount, but rather, it’s the characters’ reactions to these issues which builds tension and keeps readers turning pages. Literarily speaking, the issues are practically interchangeable, because what’s necessary is to see a character under duress and how they handle that stress – and pretty much any issue will do.

ETC: What do you want teens to take away from this book?

Castrovilla: Teens tend to live in a dark bubble of solitude. Often, they think they’re alone, and that no one else could possibly feel the same way. It’s hard for them to see past their problems – everything’s the end of the world. Ultimately, this book is about two teens who discover that they’re not alone at being alone – and that life’s not so dark after all.

ETC: What do you most want to tell people that no one has ever asked?

Castrovilla: Writers write for themselves, and any accolades they receive are a bonus. I’ve gotten great reviews which of course I appreciate, but the best feeling comes when I hear from teens about how much the book affected them. I have a fifteen year old son who is an honor student, but also what I would call a reluctant reader, because if he doesn’t like a book he’ll be quite reluctant to read it. When he read the first chapter of SAVED he called me and said, “Wow, Mom, I’m impressed. I had no idea you had this in you.” When he finished he told me, “Anyone who reads this book is going to fall in love with it.” That was the greatest reward I could get.

Download SAVED BY THE MUSIC, my gift to you, by entering your Dropcard code in the widget above!

My novel MELT came to me at a time when I was frustrated with EVERYTHING, and I was taking boxing lessons. One day my boxing coach looked me in the eye and told me, “My dad used to come home every day and shove a gun down my mom’s throat in front of me.”

Thus, MELT was born.

Melt by Selene CastrovillaMELT (Rough Romance #1)

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Melt is a brutal love story, set against the metaphorical backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Sixteen year old “good girl” Dorothy just blew into the small town of Highland Park – where the social headquarters is Munchkinland (Dunkin’ Donuts.) There, she meets Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? And then there’s his family’s secret – about to be unleashed.

Told in dual first person, Joey’s words are scattered on the page – reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason – until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away?

Melt is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul.


Here are some editorial review quotes:

“A fresh, emotionally complex bildungsroman of young American love that looks long and hard at violence, and at what can overcome it.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Poignant, moving, and riveting, the narrative switches seamlessly between both of their perspectives, capturing the angst of adolescence and young adulthood, while handling a heavy thematic element with incredible verisimilitude.” — IndieReader

“[Selene Castrovilla] is a writer to watch.” — Jacqueline Woodson, author, Brown Girl Dreaming

“Raw, lyrical, and darkly humorous—and uncompromisingly honest—Selene Castrovilla’s work is poetry and prose combined to the utmost. This is a writer to watch out for.” — Daniel Ehrenhaft, author, The Last Dog on Earth

“Melt is evocative, emotional, vivid, and powerful. Beautiful, painful, and ultimately healing, Melt is a gripping read that will make you feel and care about the characters.” — Cheryl Rainfield, author, Scars

I am most proud of the reader response for MELT, which has touched hearts far and beyond what I’d dared hope. Check it out on Goodreads, and you’ll see what I mean.

Awards & Honors for MELT

Awards and Honors for MELT by Selene Castrovilla

Watch the Trailer (created by a fan!)

Download an excerpt from the beginning of MELT by entering your Dropcard code in the widget above!

Need more?!

Grab your copy of MELT from Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Leading up to the release of MELT, I wrote a series of Meltdown blog posts where I shared tidbits of “insider information” about MELT: its content, its inspiration and my writing process creating it. You can start at the beginning, here, and then click the “next post” button at the bottom to click through the posts. Or if order doesn’t bother you, you can see all the Meltdown tagged posts here. Enjoy!

Reader response has also lead me to the sequel: SIGNS OF LIFE. I thought I had nothing more to say about Joey & Dorothy. I was wrong. Click on the cover for SIGNS OF LIFE (Rough Romance #2), below to read the synopsis and another opportunity to download the sneak peek! WARNING: If you haven’t read MELT yet, you may want to wait as there are spoilers!

Enter your Dropcard code into the widget above for an exclusive preview of MELT’s sequel, SIGNS OF LIFE!

Signs of Life (Rough Romance #2) by Selene Castrovilla