Saturday, November 16, 2013

"I Met a Goat on the Road and Other Stories of Life on this Hill" by Denele Pitts Campbell

I Met a Goat on the Road
and Other Stories of Life on this Hill
by Denele Pitts Campbell

Today I am interviewing Denele Pitts Campbell about her book, I Met a Goat on the Road. If you live in the US, make sure you enter the Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy (closes 14 December). You can also enter the giveaway below and the Books Direct Christmas Giveaway for two chances to win an ebook copy of I Met a Goat on the Road.

A visiting guinea? Opossum in the dining room? What strange and wondrous occurrences can one expect while living on an Ozark mountaintop for thirty-five years?
These adventure stories feature chickens, raccoons, bugs, dogs, cats, and natural critters of this woodland home. Throw in a few neighbors who shoot copperheads or remodel the dirt road. Ponder the passage of time through a philosophical lens of wonder and delight. The seasons bring summer heat, winter snow, pouring rain, the power of fire. Lessons learned, questions posed - who has lived and died on this land? What is our responsibility to this place, its creatures, each other?
Come meet the goat on the road.
This lyrical collection of stories extolls the mysteries and quirks of life in the Boston Mountain region of the Arkansas Ozarks. Watercolor illustrations add to the whimsy.

On this particular morning, the red-headed fly had arrived at my parked car door, at what seemed a perfectly fine spot to rest, groom, and digest his latest meal. As I began driving and the sudden gale blustered around him, he braced himself, securing every foot firmly to the spot. He had no concepts through which to anticipate that his greatest risk came with hanging on to what seemed familiar surroundings, that ultimately he would be farther away from what he knew and desired than he would have been if he had simply let go.
As I cruised along the road, the tiny red and black fly gripped ever more frantically to maintain his hold. In order to offer the least wind resistance, his body bent and contorted, stretched and elongated, the severity of his effort betrayed by erratic flare-ups of his wing tips.  Staring at me through the side window glass, he seemed to question me in panicky stares.
I advised him based on my previous experience.
Some bugs come to a forty mile per hour realization, I said. While I’m still on this back road, in a serendipitous flash of insight, they let go.
I waited for his response. He tensely adjusted his wings and aimed his head more into the wind. 
After some scary free fall, I continued, they find themselves in the thickets near Miller’s pond. We drove farther and his stance remained resolute.
Or in the rocky ditch, I said, or in the middle of Mr. Breedlove’s herd of Angus. Wherever you might find yourself, I’m sure you could optimize the situation - you know, discover a trove of aphids or a lonely female.
I glanced to see if he was listening. The red-black fly showed no hint of a high-speed epiphany but instead re-exerted his desperate clench.

This book actually made the reader feel as if he/she were sitting there knowing the people or situation written about. Colorful descriptions made this a very enjoyable read.

Interview With the Author
Hi Denele, thanks for joining me today to discuss your book, I Met a Goat on the Road.
Which writers have influenced you the most? Some of my most remembered influences were early "new thinkers" like Salinger, Vonnegut, Hesse, Asimov, and Huxley.
What age group do you recommend your book for? It’s truly suitable for any age.
What sparked the idea for this book? Living in the woods like I do, I constantly encounter amazing little creatures and events that are too good not to share. The stories almost wrote themselves, like me saying to a reader, here, look at this!
What was the hardest part to write in this book? The hard part has been deciding how to trim down these adventures so they don't ramble on and become boring.
How to you hope this book affects its readers? I'd like to think that the readers will gain a sense of "being there".
How long did it take you to write this book? This is an accumulation of life experiences that began in the late 1970s. Since the mid-90s, I've focused on other writing projects, so most of these stories were firmly formed before that.
What is your writing routine? I'm at the desk by 8am almost every day, reluctantly breaking for lunch and tearing myself loose around 4pm. That doesn't mean the writing stops, though. Words are scrolling through my head at all times of the day and night. It's really annoying when I get hungry or tired.
How did you get your book published? I self-published this book. It's not the type of work that's going to make big profits for a publishing house, and I didn't even waste my time asking.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? Write and get good at it. Have something interesting or important to say, and say it in a way that people will enjoy.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? Watch my critters (dogs, cats), make an effort to deal with details like food preparation, house cleaning, laundry, talk or email with my kids.
What does your family think of your writing? They like it, proud of me.
That's great, Denele. Please tell us a bit about your childhood. Long ago and far away ... Seriously, I always thought of writing, wanted to write, did what I could in between chores. I was the oldest of five, and my mom always had a long list of things I should do. I enjoyed school because it was less work than being at home! And because I love learning things, all kinds of things.
Did you like reading when you were a child? I was a voracious reader.
What was your favorite book as a child? I can't recall any one in particular, but if I had to choose, I'd pick Heidi by Johanna Spyri.
Who were your favorite authors as a child? Again, I don't exactly recall, but I did enjoy the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? As far back as I can remember.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I'm just getting started, so I'm looking forward to hearing from readers.
What else can we look forward to from you? I’ve recently released a cookbook featuring mostly down home cooking and "real" food (Recipes of Trailside Cafe and Tea Room), Aquarian Revolution: Back to the Land, and A Crime Unfit to be Named.
Thanks for visiting today, Denele. Good luck with your future writing projects.

About the Author
Denele loves to write, whenever she's not keeping up with her hound dog Weezie or staring off into the Ozark woods where she lives. Then there are the two cats, the goldfish, the firewood, and keeping her house in reasonable order, which is a very low priority.
She wrote her first book when she was five. Her mom probably still has it tucked away somewhere in a scrap book. Everyone in her family liked to read but she never found enough books at home to keep her satisfied. In desperate moments, she read the dictionary and encyclopedias.
Choosing a major for a college degree? No brainer. The magnificent English language. She's studied poetry and fiction as an undergraduate, and worked through several graduate level courses in creative nonfiction. Education has its place, but the real learning began whenever she sat down to write.
Sticking strictly to genre structures seems impossible for Ms. Campbell. After raising three kids, a successful career as a piano tuner/technician, a three-year stint owning and operating her own cafe, and a gob of other activities, there are simply too many divergent interests tempting her pen. Generally, works published as Denele Campbell are non-fiction. Works published as G. D. Campbell are fiction - and probably on the spicy side (for example, War of Desire).

Enter the giveaway for your chance to win an ebook copy of I Met a Goat on the RoadCheck out the Books Direct Christmas Giveaway for another chance to win an ebook copy of this book. If you live in the US, you can enter the Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy (closes 14 December).