Monday, June 3, 2013

Love This Title: Deep Fried and Pickled

 Getting to Know Author Paisley Ray 
I grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh when the Terrible Towel was introduced to cheer on the Steelers. As a kid, my family spent summers at the Carolina beaches. Hush puppies, sweet tea, and discovering sand dollars in the low-tide turned into intoxicating memories. I fell hard for all things southern. School, work and family keeps luring me back, and I'm still in love. The Rachael O’Brien Chronicles are my southern-soup of life-lessons inspired by the unforgettable people and places I hold dear.
The Blurb...
It’s 86’, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes and big hair bands. Rachael O'Brien's freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college, five-hundred miles from her hometown of Canton, Ohio, earn an art history degree, party and lose her virginity—hopefully, not in that order. “Becoming a woman,” somehow turns into a series of life-lessons that she and her journal are lucky to live to tell. Being threatened by a redheaded She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a thirty-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme interfere with her “to do” list. On top of her troubles at school, Rachael finds herself forging a new relationship with her emotionally-distant father after her mother abandons him for a psychic adventure.

Bad decision-making, law-bending behavior, surprising romances and near death experiences can make freshman year challenging in PAISLEY RAY'S, DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED, quick-witted, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon tale of survival.
Sitting Down with Paisley
  1. Author name or pen name. If writing under a pen name, why did you choose this particular name? 
  2. Paisley Ray is my nom de plume. I wanted to choose something memorable, easy to spell and fun loving. 
When did you tell your family and friends that you were a writer? How did telling them make you feel?
Besides my husband, one of my sisters and my mother-in-law (who lives in England), I didn’t tell anyone I knew personally until I published – disclaimer: strangers don’t count, they’re safe to tell. They don’t know where you live and can’t hold you to you word.
When you tell someone you’re doing something creative, they think that’s great. . . when will it be finished? I knew writing a novel would take a long time (I didn’t know Deep Fried and Pickled would take 5 years!) I held back saying anything to protect my ego in case I bailed or hated how it turned out.  
What would your grandmother think if she met the hero in your book?
My grandmother’s stepfather owned a bar in Wheeling, West Virginia. Besides helping part-time and hanging out in the family business, at age 14 she was in a band. She was very social, generous with her time and a people pleaser. There is a lot of my grandmother in Rachael, the heroine in my book series. They’d get along great.
What is the most romantic thing a man/partner has ever done for you?
That’s a tough one. Mostly because I’m not a mushy person. But I’d have to say the most memorable /romantic thing I recall was when I was laid off from my job during the 2009 recession. That night my husband put logs on the fire, poured me a glass of champagne and asked, “What do you want do? If anything?”  
Teary eyed, I said, “I’m gonna write that damn book I keep talking about.” 
We both took a sip, mine was more of a guzzle, and he said, “Alright then, Let’s celebrate.” 
If you were planning a seductive dinner in front of a crackling fire, what would you serve?  How would you serve it? What would you wear?
Cocktail – Firefly vodka and pink lemonade over ice
Appetizer – Oysters on the half shell
Main course – small plates of lobster mac n’ cheese and hush puppies with honey butter
Dessert – bite-size key lime pies
I’d wear a smile.  
Clothing is an important part of each scene. A low cut tank top sparks more male appreciation than a conservative button down, rolled up sleeve shirt. From a male perspective, compare the two opposites I mentioned above or choose your own for comparison.
Clothing helps the reader identify with character.  It’s a prop that helps a writer portray character insight and what they are all about. In Deep Fried and Pickled, Macy, the New Yorker, is a no nonsense, tell it as it is character. Her self-confidence exudes from the wild beach towel she sunbathes on, to her silk kimono bathrobe, curly hair and always-polished red nails. 
Besides being unfaithful, what quality in a manno criminal actswould be a deal breaker? Why?
Toilet seat etiquette – I’ve taken an unforeseen plunge on a dark night. Lids belong down. 
Do either your heroine or hero have a vice  (drugs, chocolate, expensive jewelry, cigarettes, etc.)?  How important is it to the story?
Um it’s college--cigarettes, alcohol, and occasionally hooch are not considered vices in this setting! In addition to breaking childhood barriers, Rachael O’Brien, the heroine, has a bucket list and ticks off a fair number of experiences that most people don’t and wouldn’t want to try, surprising even herself (eating crawfish, riding a float in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, meeting a voodoo maven). Sorry, you’ll have to read Deep Fried and Pickled to find out more.  
You’ve been dating Mr. Practically Alright for a month. He’s been to your house several times. Finally, he asks you over to his place to meet someone who is important to him. You are thinking it’s a child or perhaps his visiting mother. Wrong. It’s a big Labrador retriever who puts his paws on your shoulders and washes your carefully air brushed face from ear to ear. The biggest dog you’ve ever been around was the size of a meatloaf. What are the first words out of your mouth? If your date doesn’t offer antibacterial face wipes and saysby the way—Fido sleeps with him every night,  what’s your next move?
“It’ll be tight in the bed with your lab and my pug.”
In your work, regardless of genre, do you consider the environment and do you exhibit an awareness of practices that can make a difference?  It could be something as simple as motion activated lights or lights on timers.
Deep Fried and Pickled is an 80’s fiction novel, most notably, there are no cell phones or computers. My heroine is from Canton, Ohio, and her induction into the south from a geographic perspective… the differences in climate, the palmetto bugs, learning to shag, drinking regionally distilled libations (bathtub dew) and the beauty of the North Carolina coast play a big role in her southern experience. Slowly, she falls in love with the people and the places she visits.
Do you think readers would embrace a heronot a struggling artist, sculptor or writerwho earns only a fraction of what the heroine earns?  Please explain.
You bet. Mitch McCoy, the hero in Deep Fried and Pickled, is still in high school. Despite his youth he has a overflowing bag of admirable qualities . . . He’s such a big flirt, from the moment he meets Rachael, he’s devoted to her. He has a passive courage and follows his instincts, encountering danger and enduring pain with a steadfast and unbroken spirit. 
Congratulations, your book has just been optioned by movie producer. Of course you’ll be a consultant to the casting director. Who would you chose to play your heroine?  Hero? What song would you pick for your soundtrack? And since you’ve convinced the powers to be that you must write the screenplay, what will you be wearing to the Academy Awards to accept your Oscar for best screenplay? Include jewelry!  
Heroine – Jennifer Lawrence with the mouth of Melissa McCarthy
Songs for Soundtrack – Hall and Oates, You Make My Dreams Come true. Paul Simon’s, Loves Me Like A Rock, B52’s Rock Lobster, and Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good.
Wearing – Nothing strapless. I have a lump on my right shoulder from a college bunk bed incident – see chapter 27.
Jewelry – Eye of Horus necklace custom-crafted by Cartier.
Now for a taste ...
Billy Ray’s donut eyes appeared glazed, and he spoke
in a slur, barely recognizable as English. I turned my ear
toward his mouth and strained to understand him. “It’s my
sincerest pleasure to meet you, Razzle.”
I pulled back, but he continued holding my hand as
though steadying me on a patch of ice. “Rachael. My name is
Flexing his operatic aria, Billy Ray sang, “Razzle
dazzle, I love your pizazzle.”
I stood trapped between a smoking barbecue and Billy Ray drunk off his ass. Turning my head, I mouthed, “Help,” to Patsy’s backside. In my moment of need, she flirted with someone I didn’t know. My level of attraction hovered below
frosty. I needed an exit strategy and settled on the tried and-true, I have to use the bathroom. Lightly placing my free hand on Billy Ray’s arm, mostly for balance, I said, “You’ll have to excuse me, I. . .”
“No excuses, Raz,” he said, leading me to a clearing. “Let’s show ‘em how it’s done.” Before I had a chance to bolt, Billy Ray slid an available arm around my waist. His other hand still held mine, and the oversized spatula.
“Rrrrazzle,” he growled, stretching his tongue across the single r as if it had multiplied. Stiffening to a bullfighter stance, he advised, “Get your shag on.”
I had no idea what he meant by shag. Wangling out of his grip I made my excuse. “I’m really not a carpet kind of girl.”
Billy Ray folded into a knee bender laugh. “You’re funnier than Raid on a cockroach.”
Paisley will award a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter. The
more you comment, the better your chances are to be a winner. Follow this link
 to Paisley's tour schedule.


Mary Preston said...

Paisley Ray is a great pen name & one I'm likely to remember. Job well done there. I enjoyed the post thank you.


Paisley Ray said...

Hey Christy,

Thanks so much for featuring Deep Fried and Pickled.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Ingeborg said...

Great interview, I enjoyed it very much.


Shannon R said...

Thanks for the great interview. I agree that Paisley Ray is a fun pen name and I think it helps define your work

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Christy McKee said...

Glad to have you, Paisley. I love, love, love the title!

MomJane said...

I really enjoyed all your comments. Fun excerpt.

bn100 said...

Very nice interview

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Catherine Lee said...

LOVE your name, Paisley...and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the name of the book. I am fortunate to live near the Carolina beaches (in NC) and we do love our foods deep fried and/or pickled. I had a deep fried snickers bar recently...never tried it pickled! LOL.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Andra Lyn said...

AH! Paisley Ray is your pen name??? I feel lied to!! lol Not really...but it definitely fits your personality!

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com