I am so grateful Ray Blackston, author of the hilarious new novel Par for the Course, took time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. Sit back, relax, and get to know Ray Blackston...
CeeCee: Why set your book at a golf course in Charleston, South Carolina during the presidential election?
Ray B: Hey, what could be more appropriate in '08 than customers getting the opportunity to whack golf balls at the political caricature of their choice! It's great stress relief! In fact, I should open "Whack a Conservative" and "Whack a Liberal" golf ranges all over the United States! Funny thing is, a friend of mine called me last month from Florida and said someone had done just that: installed giant cardboard cutouts of the Presidential candidates on a driving range so as to allow people to hit golf balls at them. Such advertising has gotta be great for business. Just grab a couple friends, a few 5-irons, buy a bucket of balls, and flail away till you've whopped your political enemy. Talk about energizing the electorate!
CeeCee: How important is it for unpublished authors to write about what they know?
Ray B: I would say quite important, unless they are just very, very good with research. There have been so many books published — and the knowledge base in reader land continues to grow — that if you don't know your subject matter well, the agents and the editors are going to rush your manuscript to "File 13." (the rejection pile).
CeeCee: Additionally, is it wise to get story ideas from current events?
Ray B: Not necessarily. Taking into consideration that it takes months and even years to craft a book, if you write "towards" news making events, when your book finally comes out it will be behind the present current events. Keyword phrase here is lag time. Same is true for trying to "write what is currently popular in bookstores." Just think how many would-be authors tried to write stories centered around the apocalypse shortly after Left Behind took off in popularity. All those unnecessary and hastily written manuscripts are now, you guessed it, in File 13! (That's a big big file ... probably Grand Canyon-esque in breadth and width).
CeeCee: Your secondary characters tend to be quirky, off-the-wall types who add dimension to the main character and to the story. Chris may have owned the golf center but it was his wacky employee Cack (I love Cack!) who gave the center its edge. Even the gangsters and the bikers, who are easily stereotyped and shunned, added "that special something" to the golfing center. Was it intentional on your part to show that even the least likely people can enrich our lives?