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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:

****

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

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.20.15 PM

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

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 10.15.05 PM

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.

****

2) You have an irrational fear of

A) The Zombie Apocalypse
Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.42.01 PM

B) Big cities
Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.45.57 PM

C) Eccentric medium Tangina Barrons from the movie Poltergeist
Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.49.44 PM

D) Ice Cream Trucks
Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.53.12 PM

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.

****

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 11.28.32 PM

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!

****

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.

Community and a Contest

When I started blogging almost two years ago, I had no clear direction. I just knew I had some things to say and having a place to say it (and perhaps even have a few people listen) seemed like a pretty cool thing. Seems like a self-absorbed endeavor if you stop and think about it.

But I didn’t.

Think about it, that is.

For months I was sort of winging it. If you go back and read some of my earliest writing, that’s evident. It was all about me and what I thought. But that gets boring. Seriously — who cares? I didn’t even care all that much.

But then a wonderful thing happened. This blog became less about me and more about the relationships that were beginning to take form here and on other blogs I frequented. As the popularity of this blog grew, so did my sense of responsibility to help others when and where I could. I’m still not that big a deal, not even so much a medium sized deal, but I do what I can.

Last month I wrote a post about my friend Sarah Salter. Sarah will be going to the Sudan on a mission trip this summer, and my friend Wendy at Weight What is helping raise money for her expenses by donating a portion of the proceeds of sales from her Etsy shop to Sarah’s mission fund. You will find a link to Wendy’s shop on the right hand side bar of this blog.

To kick things off, Wendy suggested a giveaway. Because who doesn’t like some free stuff? The first prize winner will receive one of her $28 shirts, which are a available in a variety of sizes.

Second prize winner will receive a set of button wraps.

To enter, simply tell me in the comments section why you think you deserve to win. Be creative — a poem, haiku, short story – whatever. If you’re on the twitter (and if you’re not, then why not?), tweet your three favorite items from the shop, then come back here and let me know you did.

As in previous contests here, I will not be judging the entries. I will once again call upon my friends Jeff and Tamara Hogan – two of my non-virtual friends. (Jeff and Tam, if you’re reading this, thank you in advance for agreeing to judge the contest – Snort!) You have until Thursday, February 18, midnight CST to enter. Enter early. Early often. And please, no wagering.

If you find something there that you simply can’t live without, be sure to put “Sarah” in the comments section of your order so that a portion of the proceeds will go towards her mission trip.

Ready?

Set?

GO!

***

Editor’s Note: I realize this has been a pretty serious week here at Hey Look a Chicken, so tomorrow I promise to post something incredibly stupid and ridiculous. Sorry/you’re welcome.

Now Go…

Clean your Room!

A phrase I heard over and over as a child. Variations of this would be, “What a pigstye”, or “What a mess!”

There’s much I heard from my parents that I swore I would never repeat to my own kids. Yeah, yeah. I’ve said most of them, including “Clean your room”. Here’s the thing though – people (kids included) like stuff. More to the point, people like NEW stuff. But then the shiny newness wears off, and then the must have item becomes one more thing that clutters up our homes; one more distraction.

There are shows completely dedicated to helping people de-clutter their homes. Professional organizers are in big demand.

Many people have a distorted image of material possessions. They attach a sentimental value to inanimate objects. Don’t even get me started about people buying stuff on sale or at a garage sale because it will be worth big money some day. Do you know what kind of people pay big money for other people’s stuff? People who have more crap than they need in the first place! I’m not completely unsentimental. I have boxes of keepsakes from my kids — from their baby teeth, to a special stuffed animal they clung to as babies, to pictures and cards they have made for me. Those things are special to me. But random Barbies, games, trading cards, video games, etc., that’s just clutter – to me, anyway. Maybe it’s just me. When my house gets cluttered, my mind gets cluttered.

So, guess what I did yesterday? In part, I began to declutter some areas in my home that sorely needed it. It’s a constant struggle. I don’t want to be wasteful. If I paid for something, I should hang on to it right? That depends. Maybe I thought I would use it, and I never did. If that’s the case, I get rid of it. By the way, if you’re a fan of useless crap, you should check back here often. I have a lot of giveaways:





Oh, where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Here’s the thing. Acquiring more stuff for the sake of acquiring more stuff is just one more way we attempt to fill that big, God shaped hole in our hearts. Let’s just stop it, okay? I’m talking to myself here, by the way…

Revelation 3:17-22

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

I want to travel light. Lord God, help me cling to You; to always value people over things.

Well I was doubling over the load on my shoulders
Was a weight I carried with me everyday
Crossing miles of frustrations and rivers a raging
Picking up stones I found along the way
I staggered and I stumbled down
Pathways of trouble
I was hauling those souvenirs of misery
And with each step taken my back was breaking
‘Til I found the One who took it all from me

Down by the riverside
I laid my burdens down,
Now I’m traveling light
My spirit lifted high
I found my freedom now
And I’m traveling light

The envelope please…

Before I announce the winner of HLAC’s first ever Super Skanktacular Saturday Giveaway, I need to take care of some bloggity business. As previously mentioned, Stacy from Louisville (aka “Stace”), was disqualified from the contest. I did, however offer an alternative prize for one of her fabulous giveaways. Stacy, may I offer to you for future giveaways, Lint from my Dryer:

(You’re welcome! Don’t mention it.)

Now, on to the contest. I will tell you that 2 out of 3 of the judges put a great amount of thought into choosing the winner of this contest. (One of them thinks I’m very silly and that I should probably go grocery shopping. But I digress…) The following is an excerpt from an email from one of the judges:

“ok- here’s my 2 top ones – Jake and RRRRamone….but it’s tough..the GI Joes need women….and I want to pick Helen just because….
but….the more I think of it being the Kardashian sisters….it seems they need to go to Tony C to get to know the GI Joe guys….is that sick and twisted?
RRRamone at least needs to get some feet….but Jake and the antennae story is really funny….I keep vacillating….ok – final answer – Toncy C -…I can’t quit you!!!!”

When all was said and done, there were four favorites. Tony C and Jake both had compelling stories, Rrramone was a strong contender for all of the judges, and regardless of the results of future contests, he will definitely be getting some feet.

But there can only be one winner. Two out of the three judges agreed that one story deserved to win. And while the story was compelling, what put this contestant over the top was the introduction of a new word forever burned into the judges’ minds:

Prostitot:

Congratulations Erin! Please email me at katdishrich@gmail.com with your shipping address. Non-winning entries will be forwarded to this week’s contest. Enter early. Enter often!

Later today, I will introduce the next group, “Slutty Girlz Rock Band” featuring the musical stylings of Miss Amy Winehouse! Stay tuned…

Super Skanktacular Saturday Giveaway!

Okay, okay…I know I said I had reached my self-imposed limit on ridiculous blogs posts for the week, but this is different. I’m giving away free stuff! To celebrate the fact that I have FINALLY convinced my daughter to get rid of a certain collection of dolls that I’m not very fond of, for the next few Saturdays, I will be giving away groupings of them.

Here’s the deal: In the comments section or via email (katdishrich@gmail.com), convince me how much you want these lovely little dolls and accessories pictured. Leave a caption, tell a story, make me laugh! I’m not going to judge the contest, because I don’t want to have to decide. So, I’ll probably ask Jeff, Tamara and my husband Ron to pick a winner. Special consideration will be given to those who link this post to other blogs authors who have never read this blog. Come on, spread the love that is Hey Look A Chicken! Ready? Let’s do this thing!

Super Skanktacular Saturday Giveaway No. 1:

The Kardashian Sisters Collection:


What better way to kick off this contest than dolls representing Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian? Surely these ladies represent all things Skanktacular!


Come on, people. You gotta admit, the resemblance is uncanny! You will also receive 3 additional skanky outfits:

Contest deadline next Saturday, 9:00 AM central time. At that time, I will also reveal the next group of dolls: “Slutty Girlz Rock Band!” Good Luck!

EDITOR”S NOTE: Annoying mother and bail money not included.

UPDATE: I realize many of you are saying, “Sure, those dolls are Skankalicious, but I really don’t have a need for them.” I am also willing to send these dolls to a friend, beautifully gift wrapped in an empty Fancy Feast cat food box, with gift card included. The longer these things are in my house, the more likelihood that my daughter will change her mind! Enter early, enter often!