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I ran across this questionnaire from a few years ago. Probably when I was preparing Ezra and Other Stories for publication. The questions made me think and figure out exactly why I wanted to write the stories in the collection. Hope this will help you if you're writing a story of if you've read EZRA and want to know my process.
What is your book's tone, and how do you want readers to perceive your text?
Each story in this collection houses characters that are flawed humans dealing with both serious and humorous situations. My characters are humble people most living in West Virginia. They’re ordinary people going about their lives the best they can and in most cases succeeding in spite of the odds against them.
Provide a summary of the stories in this book of eleven short stories.
Each story is named after the main character.
Mabel and the Garage Sale is about Mabel finding hope after her home is sold when I-64 comes through Charleston, West Virginia.
Delphine and Rainelle finds Delphine trying to help her best friend, Rainelle, whose husband is a cheater.
In Hoot and Marla, Marla realizes the trip to Niagara Falls isn’t about getting engaged but about Hoot’s ego and his Elvis look-alike persona.
Joy Ruth and Minnie Hendrix find more than a burial plan when they visit the local funeral home.
Micro Wave finds acceptance only from his Pug dog after being at Kent State during the riots and shootings.
Wally and Bun are wed just as their old friend, Murphy Mohr, rekindles an old romance.
Eve and Marcus Welby leads Eve to the perfect romance with a man who is also a cat lover.
Twins, Darlene and Charlene, are as different as day and night. One is a book worm, the other “sees” things.
Vinnie asks the question: how long will money from Big Daddy’s chili fund last his two adult children who do not see eye to eye.
Macon for Georgia provides Macon with the best possible partner after an abusive relationship.
Ezra finds love and his soul mate at the end of his life.
Describe your book's theme(s). These stories give the message of hope. These characters are survivors in spite of coming from less than perfect circumstances.
What is your book's genre? Includes a mix of genres.
Romance. Humor. Appalachian.
Describe your target audience by factors such as age group, interests, education, gender, etc.
Stories appeal to adult male and females. Anyone who loves short stories, stories about hope and survival. The under dog succeeds.
What inspired you to write the book?
The characters themselves came to live in my head as I was writing slice of life pieces for newspapers and essays for college. Finally I gave them life by getting them down on paper. Most of the stories came just the way they now read. I am inspired by the stories of Raymond Carver, Lee Smith, Mark Twain, E.B. White, and others.
What distinguishes your book from others?
The humble characters and stories themselves. They are bits and pieces of people I’ve known. They come from deep inside me, inspired by the West Virginia Mountains and its people - sharing how these characters live, listening to what is important to them, believing in them as viable, important, good people.
Describe any specific design ideas for the cover of your book.
Ezra’s cover was made from a photo I bought online from one of the many online companies. I rejected hundreds before finding the right one. I knew it when I first saw it.