Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Getting to know Ray Blackston

You can always count on Ray Blackston for out of the box, laugh out loud novels. He has authored the entertaining Flabbergasted, A Delirious Summer, Lost in Rooville (a personal fav of mine!), A Pagan's Nightmare and most recently, Par for the Course.

Now here is a look at the man behind the stories, his childhood aspirations and his penchant for the colour lime!

Over to you, Ray....

If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

I’ll stick with Ray Blackston, since I’ve practiced writing it for years now.

Your first pet’s name?

No pets...but my sister’s big black Labradoodle, “Finn,” is a favorite dog. Just the most good-natured mutt you’ve ever met. For Christmas I bought him peanut-butter flavored dog bones.

Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?

Dale Short

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

A mini Atlanta Braves baseball bat stayed pretty close. I still have it!

If you could be an animal for one day, what would you be and why?

I’d have to be a bottle-nosed dolphin, just so I could explore the vast oceans for a day. I’d be a swimmin’ fool.

If you could meet a famous person, who would it be?

Probably Bono, the lead singer of U2 and a dedicated humanitarian. Learning how a Christian juggles life as a rock star, a husband, a father, and international ambassador would be an interesting chat.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

My one object would be quite large: a forty-foot Hatteras yacht with a full tank of gas. Okay, if you remove that option and want a practical answer, I’d say a machete’ like they use on Survivor.

If you could only have one favorite food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Shrimp creole. I can eat bowl after bowl of the stuff.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Lime Sherbet.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional baseball player or a professional golfer.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ireland and Scotland rank very high on my list! Australia too, but I’ve been once already.

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

My parents. They are most excellent role models.

What's your favourite book?

Well, besides the Bible, I’d have to say my first novel, since I wrote it.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

Coffee and cereal at 6:45 a.m., just moments before I begin my daily writing quota.

What's your favourite movie?

Forrest Gump. It just sweeps across America during a most turbulent time in our nation’s history, and does so with both depth and humor, a tough combination. Sometimes when we do the Sunday morning “stand and shake someone’s hand” at church, I’ll reach out and say “I’m Forrest, Forrest Gump.” Okay, I’m just kidding.

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

Australia. Nice to travel 14,000 miles from South Carolina and meet people who speak English. Whodathunkit!!

What's your most fervent prayer?

For forgiveness. I’m a pretty consistent sinner.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Cashing in my retirement monies at age 38 to live off the funds while I wrote Flabbergasted, my first novel. I had no creative writing experience; I just knew I could do it if I applied myself.

What gift have you received that you will always treasure?

God gave me the gift of communicating through the written word, so I will choose that one.

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

Isaiah 55: 8-9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts…” It means that I cannot improve upon God’s will, therefore I should not only submit to it, but wholly embrace it.

What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?

Slipping in mud while running full blast across the school yard towards the cafeteria. I got up, saw how much mud was on me, and just kept on running, all the way off the campus and home—to change clothes.

Favourite spot you visited when in Australia?

A series of four-hundred foot-high rock formations called King’s Canyon, in the middle of the Outback. Great views, beautiful weather, adventurous friends, and a camp out under the stars. I highly recommend WayOutBack Safaris in Alice Springs. They are a fun bunch.

Par for the Course

Your love of all things golf is obvious! In terms of your game are you a Molly, Chris or Tiger?

Closer to Chris…pretty good but not quite at professional standards.

If you aren’t going to be a threat to Tiger are there any political aspirations for you?

Not a chance. One has to compromise themselves way too often in that vocation.

Do you inherently know what you write is funny or do you have someone as your “laugh-o-metre”?

If I can read something three or four times and it still cracks me up, I usually assume it will pass the test. It’s just as hard to write humor as it is drama, or so I’m told. But a comic narrative style just seems natural to me.

What do you hope readers take away from this story?

That when trouble strikes, one of the biggest blessings you can have in place is a tight-knit community of loving, supportive friends. (And if those friends have a sense of humor, all the better.)

What is in the writing pipeline at the moment?

A “Texas novel” is in the pipeline, narrated by a young man just graduated from Texas Tech who pursues a young woman across Alaska and variou
s other corners of the globe. His name is Kyle Mango.

A sneak peek, please.

Okay, the title will be Last Mango in Texas.

Texas Tech student Kyle Mango is attending a fraternity party when he meets Gretchen, an artsy animal lover whose independent spirit immediately sparks his attention. But after a month of bliss, they suddenly find themselves in rough waters. When Kyle inherits four oil wells from his uncle, he sees his affluence as an opportunity to impress Gretchen. But just before he makes his move, Gretchen hears news of an oil tanker spilling its load near the coast of Alaska. Leaving Kyle behind in Texas, she joins a group of campus activists in Alaska for the summer to clean oil from suffering birds.

Kyle is torn between managing his business--and being left lonely in the Lone Star state--and risking everything to fly to Alaska to pursue Gretchen. The young oil man soon discovers that oil slicks are nothing compared to relational slicks. The early bird may get the worm, but the oily bird can ruin romance! Through it all, Kyle explores faith in God and His power to change lives.

Thanks so much, Ray :) It's been great fun!

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Review of Par for the Course

Visit Ray's website

Order Ray's books from Amazon and Koorong (Aust)


Tracy said...

Thanks for the peek into what makes Ray tick, Rel.

I remember reading 'Flabbergasted' and being quite flabbergasted myself. Funny, funny book! 'Lose in Rooville' looks to be something that will tickle my funny bone too.

Dawn said...

Great interview!

Jenny said...

Great interview - and I love Ray's books. Can't wait for "Mango"!

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