Welcome Carey Parrish to the blog, my friend and fellow author. We’ve gone back and forth on social media but I’ve never really had the chance to chat with this amazing man. Today, we changed that. Hope you enjoy. ~B
Of the books you have in print, which one is your favorite and why?
I would say my novel Big Business. It’s a sequel to my first novel Marengo. The reason I feel so proud of it is because I tackled the most complex plot I’ve yet written about with that one. I brought back characters from Marengo, who proved to be very popular with readers – I was still getting emails asking for more of them almost two years after Marengo was published – and I put them all in a heftier plot with a lot more intrigue and danger. I also introduced some new characters which I had a blast creating in my mind! The whole thing flowed like honey once I finished my outline and my research, and really started writing the book. And I was really proud of the fact that even though it is a sequel, it stands on its own; you don’t have to read the first one to enjoy the second. I plan to do more with this series.
You reside in the mountains of Georgia, which also happens to be one of my favorite places to visit, how does the atmosphere influence your writing, (or does it)?
That’s hard to answer. It does and then again it doesn’t. I live in the same town where I grew up. My family is here. Like most southern families, we are close and we’re always there for each other. And the extended family is still as tight knit as it ever was. I love living here but I’ve yet to set a work of fiction here. I’ve traveled a lot and travelling is something I’ve been passionate about most of my adult life. There’s a big world out there and I plan to see as much of it as I can. So I tend to set my works in some of my favorite spots outside the south. Yet I let a lot of the values I grew up with come through in my work as well. Namely, take your responsibilities to the people in your life seriously.
What are you working on now and when can we expect to see something more from you?
I currently am preparing to release my third novel, Writer’s Block. It is unrelated to Marengo and Big Business. This is a stand-alone work about an actor in New York who has to start his life over after some shattering experiences. He moves into an apartment on Central Park South and one of his neighbors is a bestselling author. They become friends and their relationship takes some unexpected turns. But the writer is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block and he’s got a deadline coming up on a pricey deal with a new publisher. So he resorts to some shocking actions to fulfill his obligations. It should be out later this spring.
You wrote a post the other day about your meeting a hungry family in a restaurant. I was very touched by your words and actions, would you care to share it?
I happened to be in line one morning at a local restaurant and a young couple with a small child was in front of me. The young man asked the cashier if they could have something to eat for their little boy because they didn’t have any money and the cashier told him that he was sorry but he couldn’t give away food. So I stepped in and paid for their meals. I was very shocked that someone would try to turn away people who were hungry and I felt a moral responsibility to help them out. I intentionally withheld the name of the restaurant because I don’t know their policy on helping people and I didn’t want to cause a big scene about it. But I wasn’t going to stand there and let those kids walk out with their child knowing they were in need. I did what I hope anyone in my position would have done. And I wanted to remind everyone that there are people right in front of us sometimes who need help. We should be willing and happy to give it when we can. We’re living in tough times for so many. I couldn’t have stood myself if I hadn’t helped them and I hope others will do the same thing if they find themselves in a similar situation.
Readers often ask about a personal philosophy of life, would you be willing to share yours with us?
Life rarely works out the way we think it’s going to. When we’re young we do things because they seem like a good idea at the time and we don’t yet have the wisdom to think ahead. So often people find themselves in middle age with a lot of regrets and who are bitter about where they are in life. I want to encourage people through my example to believe in themselves and their dreams. Don’t be afraid to just “go for it.” Get out there and meet other people who share your dreams. Learn from those who’ve made theirs come true. Surround yourself with friends who support you and believe in you and who will be sometimes brutally honest with you about what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t listen to the naysayers and DO NOT let anything stop you. If things work out great, they’re wonderful. If they don’t, it’s experience. Just don’t live with regret. It can ruin your life. To take a cue from Oprah, be the best you that you can be.
Never be afraid to just start over. When I was 35 years old, my grandmother died. We were very close and I’d taken care of her during her last years. After she passed I went through this whole depressive phase where I didn’t think anybody needed me anymore and I didn’t know what to do with the rest of my life. I’ve always written and when I was younger I wanted to be a professional writer, but I let things like choosing a career and family obligations relegate these dreams to the back-burner. When I got through that depression over my grandmother’s death, I got online and met people who shared my dreams and I learned from some of my idols, who I now could communicate with through the miracle of the internet, and I just let go of any fears of failure and went for it. I do not like to imagine where I might be now if I hadn’t.
What’s your favorite quote?
The Desiderata by Max Erhmann. These words have given me great inner strength and peace since the first time I read them at age 14. Now, more than thirty years later, they still resonate with me for their simple meaning yet profound message which they deliver.
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
If you are a LGBTQ author, musician, or filmmaker and would like to chat, please feel free to contact me.