Monday, 3 December 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Petie McCarty

STEPH: I don't know much about "Catch of the Day." What's it about?

PETIE: In Catch of the Day, I hope to make readers laugh out loud one minute and grip the edge of their seat in the next. They will tag along with a red-headed spitfire named Cody Ryan and her tournament partner, Special Ops Coast Guard Captain Gage Connor, as the partners compete in a wild and crazy fishing tournament in the Doc-Hollywood-esque town of Loon, Alabama, accompanied by an assemblage of townsfolk as zany as the name.

The mayor of Loon makes up his own rules for the private town tournament, his lunkhead son plans to cheat to win the event, and his daughter just plans to cheat to win Gage Connor.

There's plenty of excitement for everyone when inept drug smugglers come looking for their uncut diamonds inadvertently stashed in the Coast Guard captain's borrowed bass boat as the exchange point for their smuggled drugs. The Colombians are playing for keeps and will stop at nothing to retrieve their stash, even if it means kidnapping Gage's girlfriend.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

PETIE: Catch of the Day took about nine months to finish. It would have been much shorter if I didn't have that "day job" to report to every day. But without the day job, there would have been no Catch of the Day. *grin*

I wrote a large part of the story before I had the technical assistance from a professional angler, so I eventually received a detailed editing from him that followed my own full-scale edits. Then after the manuscript was completely finished and I had let out my huge end-of-the-story sigh of relief, I ended up rewriting my story's big climactic scene. See "Researching Catch of the Day" on tomorrow's blog. *Sly grin*

STEPH: Where did you get your inspiration for Catch of the Day?

PETIE: This is an easy question, and it goes back to my day job. I routinely survey lakes for aquatic vegetation, and my survey partner is a professional angler with the National Bassmaster Southern Opens series. [The national fishing organization, B.A.S.S., has a membership more than half a million strong and is the focal point of a multibillion-dollar fishing industry.] He would always come back from his three-day tournaments around the southeastern United States with plenty of fishing stories, and then one day, the movie popped into my head. What would happen if a girl entered an all-guy tournament? And what if I staged it in the Doc-Hollywood-esque town of Loon, Alabama with plenty of quirky residents?

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

PETIE: I did quite a bit of research online [Alabama state parks, Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources,, Bass Pro Shop to "shop" for tackle] before I eventually turned to my survey partner for help. Research can get away from you if you let it, but in this case there was more research needed than just angler skills and fishing tackle.

In fact, I rewrote my entire finale after my partner brought back a whopper of a tale -- albeit true -- from one of his fishing tournaments. You'll have to read about Researching Catch of the Day on tomorrow's blog to see how I worked that in. ☺
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

PETIE: The cover displays one of the physical focal points of the story -- Cody Ryan's crummy little johnboat on Loon Lake as the sun comes up. Cody, the heroine, is paired up with the hero Coast Guard captain for the tournament, but if both partners bring a boat, the pair has to use each boat for one day in the tournament. Thus, the feminine little johnboat causes quite a bit of ruckus amongst the sleek, thoroughbred -- and very male -- bass boats. If that isn't disturbance enough, her homemade livewell, made out of an igloo cooler, has the competition in an uproar.

STEPH: Cody Ryan is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

PETIE: Cody enters the Loon Lake tournament because her father had fished in it every year, and when he passed away, she thought she'd feel closer to him and maybe not miss him so much if she fishes the tournament, too. Meanwhile, the women of Loon decide to adopt her as their personal mascot, and before Cody knows it, she's competing for women's fishing rights in Loon. So her obvious strengths are her willingness to face challenges head on and her attention to detail. She's also an accountant with a soft heart and ends up checking the books for half of Loon.
Her real strengths come out in the tournament, however, and are obvious to everyone but Cody -- her patience, her endurance, and her courage.

Cody really only has one major weakness -- a definite lack of trust in others. Her mother died and left Cody while she was very young, and her father turned to his job and buried himself in his work, so he was never there for Cody. Consequently, she not only fears others will let her down -- she expects it.

STEPH: What does Gage Connor find appealing about her?

PETIE: Cody's tournament partner, Special Ops Coast Guard captain Gage Connor comes to Loon to resolve an old family dispute and to search for the girl who was his very first love. Meeting Cody throws a wrench into his well-laid plans.

Gage is enthralled by Cody's courage in entering and competing in the Loon Lake tournament -- the sole female angler in the male-dominated touranment. She suffers jeers and taunts with her chin up and her shoulders back. And standing behind her are all the women of Loon, watching the fun.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

PETIE: Your heart will always recognize your one true love, even if your eyes, at first, are blind.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

PETIE: I was given a Nook for my birthday this year, and I didn't really want one, loving the feel and yes, even the smell of books. But my darling husband reminded me that if I didn't have a Nook I'd never get to read my own books. So on my release date at Thanksgiving, I joyfully put my second book in my Nook, so I could look at my book wherever I took ….oh well, Seuss I am not…

STEPH: Fun question: Do you have a favorite Christmas recipe you like to bake up during this time?

PETIE: I am without a doubt the world's lousiest cook! I knew how to make 10 things when I got married, and now I know how to make 12 things. When my husband told his mother in the Christmas season of our second year of marriage that I made Tollhouse cookies for Christmas cookies [which was a fib since I had never made ANY Christmas cookies], she sent me twelve cookie recipes. After reading them over, I thought I could only accomplish one -- a sugar cookie recipe that I decided to be brave and try. Grandma McCarty had the ingredients and the procedure on an index card, but it didn't say how many cookies each batch made, so I made SEVERAL batches. *sigh* And I kept rolling out dough and rolling out dough and rolling out dough…

Everyone we knew got cookies that year and so did the mailman, the garbage man, the toll plaza change-maker man… well, you get the idea. I made 22 dozen sprinkle-coated sugar cookies in the shape of St. Nick, bells, reindeer and stockings and never made Christmas cookies again.

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"4 Stars...CATCH OF THE DAY is Ms. McCarty’s second release and like the first one, EVERGLADES, presents the reader with likeable characters, a mini suspense, and an engaging storyline with an environmental edge. Great story and I am looking forward to more by this author." -- The Romance Readers Connection

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