Friday, January 12, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - A Peek Into the Mind of Ray Blackston

Here you go, guys. I know you've been waiting for this. Ray came through, big-time. A peek inside the mind that created "A Pagan's Nightmare."

As per usual - Red = Q's, Blue = A's.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule, Ray.

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

Ah, great question. I would love to try my hand at screenplays, possibly an adaptation of either my latest novel, A Pagan’s Nightmare, or my first, Flabbergasted, which is a comic look at singleness in the South.

What makes you feel alive?

Falling in love, hiking in the Outback, having a personal relationship with God, and using my creativity to entertain people are the first four that come to mind. Oh, and a well-struck golf shot.
I’m getting hooked on the sport.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

All of the above. The teary kind are the probably the most vivid and memorable, the truthful kind more character-building, and the humorous kind the most likely to be included in my novels.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

The period when Jesus walked the earth ranks highest—being there to witness God in the flesh, not to mention all those miracles, would have intrigued me to the nth degree. (I was going to say the early 1900’s, but the cheesy dialogue in Titanic ruined it for me.)

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
In a movie:

Most any line from Forrest Gump!

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

Rand McNally Road Atlas, 80’s Hits, Chris, and dark chocolate.

Pick one…Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why?

Purple cow—ever since childhood I’ve craved a cold glass of grape-flavored milk.

Favorite book setting. Why?

Probably the last eighty pages of Flabbergasted, when Jay and Allie are down in the Ecuadorian jungle and working in the orphanage. That rainforest setting, coupled with the budding romance, has a kind of resonance for me.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

Ya know, sometimes reviewers just “get it,” and they write blurbs that really help
an author’s confidence. This was the case in 2003, when Flabbergasted released. Two of these blurbs stand out, so I’ll include both here:

“Blackston’s imaginative first novel is sometimes brutally honest but always refreshingly funny.”
— Library Journal in naming Flabbergasted to its Best Fiction List for 2003

“If you only read one novel this summer, let this be it!”
— Crossings Book Club, which featured Flabbergasted as a main selection

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

Ya know, sometimes reviewers just don’t get it, and one of them told a lie about my third novel (third book in the Flabbergasted trilogy) which is titled Lost in Rooville. I’m fine with honest critique, but to bend the truth to make a point does not sit well with me. Especially when the reviewer is supposedly a Christian.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

Hug my family, kiss my girlfriend, and write my “one week memoir,” tentatively titled Moonwalking on Streets of Gold.

A man and woman sit at a table in an upscale restaurant. They each have a cell phone to their ear. What are you overhearing?

All night she had avoided eye contact with her boyfriend. She reached for the appetizer -- which were coconut-glazed shrimp--but hesitated. She eyed the shrimp with suspicion. “Honey,” she said, with a bat of her lashes, “were these shrimp grown in a shrimp farm, or were did they die a tortuous death in some fisherman’s net?”

He gulped three of the morsels and shrugged. “Who cares? And since when do you sympathize about the particulars of a shrimp’s life?”

Summoning courage, she wiped her mouth and blurted, “Since I met Jacques, the French environmentalist.”

And with that she stood and bolted out of the restaurant.