Archive - March, 2014

The revealing Billy Coffey multiple choice interview

Over the past five years, Billy Coffey has done a variety of interviews. In addition to multiple online and print interviews, he has also appeared on the PBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., a morning news show in in Richmond, VA and has participated in a few radio phone interviews. I remember listening to his first on-air live interview when his debut novel, Snow Day came out. The scheduled interviewer had read the book and liked it. Unfortunately, something came up at the last minute and she had to bow out. Instead, the interview was conducted by a guy who knew nothing about the book, Billy or how to conduct an interview. He was clearly unprepared and more than a little distracted. He spent most of the interview talking about himself and at one point, stopped to feed his cat.

Stock image from google images. Not the actual interviewer.

Stock image from google images. Not the actual interviewer.

Yes. You read that right. He fed his cat, which you could hear meowing in the background. Billy was a real pro and tried his best to steer the conversation back to the book, but I swear I haven’t cringed so many times since I heard Roseanne Barr sing the National Anthem.Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 8.41.52 PM

Aside from that rocky start, I’ve found Billy’s interviews to be interesting and informative. Most tend to focus on story lines and the craft of writing, which makes sense–he’s a writer trying to market his books, after all.

But I thought we would take a little detour from all things literary and writerly and do a little “out of the box” multiple choice Q&A with everyone’s favorite fancy redneck, Billy Coffey.

Bill, (can I call you Bill?) thanks for taking time out of your busy day to answer a few questions here at katdish.net!

Like I had a choice. I’m busy, so let’s hurry this up. Unlike some people, I have a job.

And don’t ever call me Bill.

I suppose you’re right. Helping make other people’s dreams come true really isn’t a job. It’s more like mission work. It sure pays like mission work. And speaking of me, here’s your first question:

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1) Which TV work relationship do you think best reflects our working relationship?

A) Shaun Spencer & Burton Guster from Psych

B) Jack Bauer & Chloe O’Brian from 24

A) Jack Bauer & Chloe O'Brian from 24

“DAMMIT CHLOE!!!”

C) Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen & Deputy Raylan Givens from Justified

Chief Deputy Art Mullen: Just what part of “under investigation” confuses you?
Raylan Givens: So many things confuse me, Art.

D) George Costanza and George Steinbrenner from Seinfeld

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Mr. Steinbrenner: Nice to meet you.
George: Well, I wish I could say the same, but I must say, with all due respect, I find it very hard to see the logic behind some of the moves you have made with this fine organization. In the past 20 years you have caused myself, and the city of New York, a good deal of distress, as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduce them to a laughing stock, all for the glorification of your massive ego!
Mr. Steinbrenner: Hire this man!

E) Dr. Frasier Crane and Agent BeBe Glazer from Frasier

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Bebe: Frasier, we have to talk.
Frasier: Are you aware that you are in the men’s room?
Bebe: Oh, please, if I paid attention to signs with little pictures on them – I would never get a parking space.

F) All of the Above

G) None of the Above

I’ll go with G, assuming that I’m Gus, Chloe, Art, George, and Frasier.

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2) You have an irrational fear of

A) The Zombie Apocalypse
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B) Big cities
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C) Eccentric medium Tangina Barrons from the movie Poltergeist
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D) Ice Cream Trucks
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E) All of the Above

F) None of the Above

Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even get through that list without dry heaving. E.

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3) When traveling on business, after leaving the airport you typically

A) Check into the hotel, find the nearest Starbucks with wifi, sit down and get some writing done.
Working from Starbucks

B) Hail a taxi and ask the driver to take you to a few local hot spots or points of interest.
Taxi

C) Look up a few locals and ask them to meet you for lunch or dinner.
Dinner with Friends

D) Go straight to your hotel room, order room service then barricade yourself in your room by pushing the largest piece of furniture you can find up against the door.
Barring the door

E) All of the Above.

F) None of the Above.

D. Isn’t that what everyone does? I mean, come on. It’s THE CITY. If city folks came to where I live, they’d do the same.

****

4) You’ve written about your father before. Most recently in an article you wrote for The Good Men Project, A Father’s Long Shadow. Which on-screen father/son relationship would you say is most representative of your relationship with your father?

A) Andy Taylor and Opie of The Andy Griffith Show
Andy and Opie

B) Martin and Dr. Frasier Crane of Frasier
Frasier and Martin

C) Jackson and Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS
Gibbs and father

D) Sheriff Buford T. Justice and Junior of Smokey and the Bandit
Buford T. Justice and Junior

E) All of the Above

F) None of the Above

I wish I could say the Gibbs’s, but I could sue the writers of Smokey and the Bandit for basically stealing my childhood story.


****

I’ve saved the hardest question for last.

5) If you were only allowed to watch three television shows for the rest of your life, but were given access to all episodes, which three would you choose and why?

FrasierMonk

Psych

PerceptionLost

CastleFringe

Ed

Person of InterestElementary

24NCIS

The OfficeSeinfeld

Twilight ZoneSherlock

The Andy Griffith ShowJustified

Sweet fancy Moses. Okay—Justified, Castle, Ed, Sherlock, and Frasier. Yes, that’s five instead of three. But that’s what you deserve for not putting any sci-fi AT ALL on that list. No Battlestar Galactica? No Eureka? No Star Trek?

I’m done with this interview.

***

I suppose I’ll allow the five rather than three, even though in some circles The Twilight Zone and Fringe would be considered sci-fi.

I keep forgetting what a hopeless nerd you are.

NOT Billy as a child. Just a reasonable facsimile.

NOT Billy as a child. Just a reasonable facsimile.

It’s the hat that throws me off, I guess.

Thanks again for taking time for this interview, Billy. And no, you really didn’t have a choice. Now get back to work.

Newman!********************************************

For those of you who are still with us, now is your opportunity to win a signed copy of Billy Coffey’s fourth novel, The Devil Walks in Mattingly. Just leave a comment here. A winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, March 27, 2014.

But wait…there’s more! Win a Kindle HDX from Billy Coffey in “The Devil Walks in Mattingly” Giveaway!

Win a Kindle HDX!
The Devil Walks in Mattingly Billy Coffey

In the meantime, it would be great if you could help get the word out about the book by sharing links via social media, reviews or just good old fashioned word of mouth. I’ve provided some links below:

Billy’s website: http://billycoffey.com
(Be sure to sign up to receive new posts via email. He writes good short stories, too!)

Twitter: @billycoffey

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mattinglyva/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/billycoffeywriter

Join the Launch Team: Devil Walks in Mattingly Launch Team

Thanks for helping spread the word about Billy’s latest (and greatest, I think), The Devil Walks in Mattingly. I’ll notify the winner via email next Friday.

Good Luck!

How Sweet the Sound: An interview with Amy K. Sorrells

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.40.18 PMAs promised earlier this week, today I have an interview with the lovely and talented Amy K. Sorrells.

As an added bonus, by leaving a comment on this post, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Amy’s debut novel, How Sweet the Sound from David C. Cook Publishing AND a yummy combo tin of pecans, including Milk Chocolate/Dark Chocolate/White Chocolate/Honey Toasted/Praline/Roasted & Salted/Creamy White fresh from the B&B Pecan Farm in Fairhope, Alabama. (If you don’t like pecans, I’m willing to have them shipped directly to my house and take them off your hands. (I’m generous like that.)

I came across Amy’s blog four years ago and was immediately drawn to her lyrical and honest writing. We sort of hit it off right away, and I’ve been a fan ever since. There are many good writers I’ve stumbled upon through blogging, but if you asked me to choose my absolute favorites, she’d be right up there at the top of the list, even in light of her continuous overuse of emoticons in correspondence, done just to annoy me.

Amy is the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest, former weekly newspaper columnist, RN, and a member of the RAINN Speaker’s Bureau. She lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana.

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Now, on with the Q&A:

Katdish: The first thing I ever read from you (besides a blog post) way back in 2010 was a non-fiction manuscript about dealing with brokenness. What lead you to make the leap to fiction? Do you imagine yourself writing non-fiction in the future?

Amy: How Sweet the Sound did begin as a non-fiction work which centered around finding hope and joy in the midst of brokenness. As I delved further into the publishing industry, I began to realize that my chances of a publishing house picking up my non-fiction story were pretty dismal, considering most non-fiction works are either by or about someone who is already famous. In industry terms, I didn’t have a “platform.”

Still, I believed in the message of that manuscript, that it is possible to find not only hope, but joy, in the midst of pain and brokenness. I also knew that fiction has a lot better chance of being picked up by publishing houses, and that if a story is well written, platform doesn’t matter nearly as much. So, I set about studying the craft of fiction. I’d already been studying it for my non-fiction, because even those books need well-told stories, even plots, to make them engaging. I read books on the craft, stalked fiction author blogs (including Billy Coffey’s), read piles of novels in the genre I hoped to write. Soon I had a new goal: turn my nonfiction into a novel.

Now that I’m finishing up my second novel (as yet untitled, and scheduled for spring, 2015 publication), I don’t know that I’ll ever turn back to nonfiction. Anything is possible of course. After all, I never thought I could write a novel. But fiction writing is an adventure all its own, and the imagination, the sculpting, the creation involved in novel writing is one I doubt I’ll turn away from, as long as my brain keeps working well enough for me to keep writing. 🙂

Katdish: Well, as a big fan of novels, I’m glad you made the move to fiction. It’s funny that you mention Billy Coffey, because his first published work was submitted as a memoir, but his publisher asked if he would be willing to make it into a work of fiction. He was extremely hesitant about it at first, but I pleaded with him to take their advice and insisted that the only way it would have been a better idea is if I had thought of it first. The rest, as they say, is history. He’s now a bonafide novelist. (That’s not really a question. I just wanted to put that out there.) Moving on…

I fell in love with the characters in How Sweet the Sound, particularly Anniston. Any plans to revisit her and her family in later novels? (Say yes.)

Amy: I’m sorry to say, at this point (never say never), I have no plans to write a sequel or follow-up novel about any of the characters in How Sweet the Sound. The story is so strong, I don’t think any subsequent book would do any of them justice. I also feel like the story needs to rest where it ends, that part of the longing readers may have for a sequel can be best met with the readers own imaginings of “what happens next.” 🙂

Katdish: That’s disappointing news. Perhaps it’s the fact that the story is so strong, the characters so compelling that I’m just not ready to say goodbye to them yet. Which is why I’m planning to start a How Sweet the Sound fan fiction site, where quality of story or characters won’t be an issue. You’re welcome.

And speaking of non-traditional publishing routes, in a publishing world awash with self-published authors, what made you hold out for a contract from a traditional publisher? Any advice to fellow writers about the pros and cons of either route?

Amy: I live to disappoint you, Katdish.

You’re welcome.

Here’s the thing about traditional publishing. Waiting for an agent and getting through all those dozens of rejections is excruciating. Waiting for an editor is a veritable thorn in the side. Landing a contract is thrilling, but the editorial process that follows that is heart-rending. In the midst of all the rejections and waiting and heart-rending, friends and family begin to tire of your laments. They want to know when–IF–your doggone book is ever going to be out. They even wonder if you’re lying about ever having written one. After all, no one has seen it. And inevitably, eventually, they ask:

“Why don’t you just self publish?”

I imagine everyone who works toward traditional publication has a different answer. Mine are twofold for choosing that path: 1) I wanted my book to have the greatest reach, the widest sales opportunities, the biggest chance to bless the most amount of people as possible. This can’t happen–unless you have tons of money to hire publicists on your own–without the force of a team of people at a publishing house behind your work. 2) I wanted my book to be the best. I could not make it the best on my own. I needed editors. I needed proofreaders. I needed input from industry professionals who know–and know well–how to turn a manuscript into something excellent. Going solo is great, but I needed and wanted the critiques from seasoned professionals who would work with me to make sure what I’m offering to readers is not only good, but excellent.

As far as advice, I would say if you can’t handle–nor even welcome–critique gracefully, then you should self publish. If you have thousands of dollars to spend on editors on your own, and then thousands more to spend on marketing and promotional services, then you should self-publish. If you are a professional looking to get a non-fiction book involving your business into the hands of your customers quickly, then self-publishing might also be for you. But if you work well with teams; if you can take constructive critique, heed it, and use it to improve your work; and if you have patience for the years it takes for a manuscript to reach bookstore shelves, traditional publishing is worth it.

Neither method is perfect. Neither is right or wrong. Every writer has unique needs and expectations for their art. But for me, traditional publication has been the most difficult, yet rewarding path of my life.

Katdish: So what you’re saying is that while the traditional publishing route is much more difficult, the quality of the finished product is worth the blood, sweat and tears associated with it? I admire you for sticking with it. Having read an early version of How Sweet the Sound, I will say that it was a solid, well written story before the editing process. But I will also say that editors are the unsung heroes of the publishing process, and whomever it was that convinced you NOT to kill off one of my favorite characters early in the book did you a big favor, because I was pretty mad at you for doing that. Having read the finished novel, you are now officially off my crap list. (You were only on there in pencil, not the usual black Sharpie. All is forgiven.)

Thanks for taking the time for this little Q&A, Amy. I’ll close with the most important question. Where can folks pick up one or 50 copies of How Sweet the Sound?

Amy: How Sweet the Sound is available nationwide at brick-and-mortar and internet stores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in e-book format, too!

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You can catch up with Award-winning author of How Sweet the Sound: A Novel Amy Sorrells at her website, Amy K. Sorrells
Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of How Sweet the Sound and a tin-ful of deliciousness from B&B Pecan Farms. I will end the drawing at midnight next Thursday, March 20, 2014 and notify the winner by email. But if I were you, I’d play it safe and go ahead and pick up a copy or two of the book today.

In like a lion

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 11.18.28 PMThis month is chock full of book releases. Among these books are authors whom I also consider friends. Virtual friends, but friends none the less.

I’ve been at this blogging thing for just shy of six years.

Six years.

What began as simply a way to transfer my long, annoying comments from other people’s websites onto one of my own has turned into so much more. Blogging has introduced me to so many amazing, wonderful people and has changed my life in ways I never expected.

If you were to suggest to me that I would be involved, even in a small way, in the career trajectory of people who actually make money from writing, I would have laughed and told you to get your prescriptions refilled. Who knew that this lifelong lover of stories would morph into a lover of storytellers and an immense respect for their craft?

Writing is easy. Writing well is an art form.

The list of favorites is long and varied, but this month I’d like to highlight some of my favorites.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.17.06 PMToday is Billy Coffey’s day. His fourth novel, The Devil Walks in Mattingly is released to public today. It is by far my favorite book he’s published to date, and I’ve probably read everything he’s published, usually multiple times. To read a story of 90,000+ words and not tire of it or its author just goes to show the immense talent of said author. It’s a talent I recognized (along with many others who visited and continue to visit his website) over 5 years ago, and it is a talent that still surprises me on a fairly regular basis.

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Later this week, I’ll introduce you to another favorite: the lovely and talented Amy K. Sorrells and offer you the opportunity to win an autographed copy of her debut novel, How Sweet the Sound along with some delicious southern goodies. Stay tuned.

But for now, I’ll ask you to hop on over to Billy’s place and find out where you can pick up his latest and greatest. (I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of his book as well, but you’ll have to wait until next week for that.)

On a personal note, I want to thank you for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere, either for the first time or the hundredth.  I don’t say it often enough, but I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to do so.