Despite claims to the contrary, country living is not the carefree, uneventful existence it is often made out to be:
Country housing: “The Red House had roaches. Long, flat brown ones – with wings. We didn’t know they could fly until we were having supper one day.”
Country fashion: “If I stepped wide enough maybe the panty hose would stay up until I could get to the bathroom.”
Country entertainment: “Grab that skinny one in the corner. He oughta fly real good.”
Country relatives: “Watch yourself, boy! We still paying off your rabies shot.”
Country vacations: “You brought your own housing…and food and shampoo and towels and sheets.”
Country revivals: “We goan start promptly at seven o’clock, so be sure to take care of all your bodily needs and functions.”
Country shopping: “Don’t steal nothin and don’t sit on the toilet.”
Country dining at its best: “The day he mentioned stewed possum, Mama told him, “Don’t even think about puttin somethin that nasty in one of my pots. We may be broke but we ain’t that broke.”
Such is the revelation in The Red House: Almost A Memoir. Think rural life is nothing but hay fields and hayrides? Think again. As the main character’s daddy would say, “Ain’t no such stuff.”
Check it out for yourself!
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Charmaine T. Davis and her book, The Red House: Almost A Memoir. Thanks for joining us Charmaine!
1. Tell us a little about The Red House: Almost A Memoir.
The Red House: Almost A Memoir is a family comedy taking place in the 1980s in the foothills of Virginia. The Douglases give up their modern house to live on the home place—a decrepit log cabin dressed in red tar paper. The house has no indoor plumbing, and trips to the spring for water and to the Johnny-house for relief, are a far cry from the central air and MTV other people in town enjoy. Gail, the ten-year old narrator, takes you back to her first year on the farm as a ten-year old girl. Flying chickens, run-ins with roaches, breakdowns in hooptys, crazy relatives and runaway mules are just some of the hilarious happenings in what is supposed to be a quiet life in the country.
2. What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote the book when my husband out of sheer frustration, suggested it. After nineteen years, he was tired of hearing about the red house. That’s when I realized I needed a wider audience.
3. Are there parts of the book at that are taken from your life or the life of someone you know?
The Red House is a mix of reality, fantasies, what-ifs and straight out lies stirred together to create a hilarious story celebrating countrified weirdness in America.
4. What was your favorite part / chapter to write? Why?
The “Buddies” was the first chapter I wrote and I could barely get through a sentence without busting out in great guffaws and falling out of my chair. My husband, who shares an office with me, threatened to throw me out. “When My Daddy Goes to Church” is also a favorite of mine. But I have to say my all time favorite is “Big Top Madness” when Apostle Soothsayer and Brother Snooki head up a revival in Altavista, Virginia underneath a huge carnival tent. My favorite quote by Snooki is: “We goan start promptly at seven o’clock, so be sure to take care of all your bodily needs and functions.”
5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to read when I am not writing. Gardening is another favorite activity of mine. I don’t have the proverbial green thumb, but I’m an optimistic girl and just keep buying new plants to kill. I also like teaching my children life’s truths. I do it in easy, digestible snippets so they are more likely to remember—“put that on a tissue,” “don’t put your lips on that,” and “@#$%^8” ß an unknown tongue when English escapes me because they have made me so mad.
6. What is the most challenging part of being an indie author? The most rewarding?
The most challenging part of being an indie author for me is the marketing and branding; trying to define myself and transfer that identity to the reading public. An indie author is not unlike a small business person—you are everything—marketer, publicist, accountant, secretary, web builder…on top of doing the job of writing.
The most rewarding aspect of being an indie author is the freedom to be myself, be as open in my faith as I want to be and have the freedom to work as little or as much as I desire. I also like the idea that as a writer, I only have to answer to my readers.
7. When did you first start writing? Why?
I started writing as soon as I became hooked on the Nancy Drew series. I didn’t stop reading the books until I was pregnant with my fourth son (I know it’s sad—I told you I was hooked). Nancy Drew was the girl I wanted to be. Even as young as I was I had the good sense to know that nobody could be that perfect. Reading the books made me realize I could dream and create someone larger and better than life and I could do so through writing.
8. Do you have anything else you would like to share with readers?
I have several new projects in the works this year and I can’t wait to make them available for your reading pleasure. They are two women’s fiction, a love story and a middle grade speculative. Although these books are not comedies; they do have some humorous elements.
Thank you, Karen, for being a most gracious hostess and may you sell many books this year. Blessings.
Charmaine T. Davis often frustrated her siblings and other playmates by scripting out how they would play, be it with Little People, Barbie dolls and even chores, earning her a reputation of being bossy. Only later in life did she learn to curb her tendency to “organize” people by focusing on writing where she could control setting, tone, plot, and characters. Little did she know that story people don’t like to be bossed around either. The Red House characters refused to be a pawn in her hand, making this unique story delightfully unpredictable.
Charmaine makes her home in central Virginia with her husband, Mark, and their seven children — including one little girl who thinks she is the family dog.