Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with author of THE PHANTOM PILOT Ann Swann

Who from the past would you want to bring home to dinner and why?

At first I thought I would say my other dad just so I could ask him why he robbed that bank. But then I realized I probably already know the answer to that. So then I thought maybe I would ask him why he didn’t try to stick around a bit longer, you know, for us girls, but having suffered depression myself, I guess I know the answer to that, too.
What would you eat?

Mexican food, no doubt.

Who is your literary inspiration?
It started with Poe and Hitchcock when I was a kid, and evolved into Ray Bradbury and Stephen King when I was a teen. These writers/story-tellers always made me care about the characters in the story first. And for some reason I like it when a story starts out normal and mundane and then all you-know-what breaks loose. Heh heh heh. Better add Shirley Jackson to that list come to think of it. And Rod Serling. Always Rod Serling. Oh, and Mary Stuart and her Merlin Tales…

What about your overall inspiration?
I’ve always written thoughts and stories, since I was a teenager. Now, I’m inspired by grandkids…just check out my story “The Blister Bear” in the upcoming Campfire Tales anthology. It was inspired by a five year old’s nightmare.
On the other hand, “Skeleton Rock” was actually inspired by a bunch of rocks out on my walking trail.

From whom were Stevie and Jase born?
Well, that’s tricky. I grew up the way Stevie did, riding my bike all over Lamesa, Texas. But actually the two characters are a mishmash of kids I knew or wanted to know back in my hometown. Actually, I think some of the characteristics of my former elementary students may have gotten mixed in there, too. Of course, like most authors, there’s always a little bit of me in every character, even the dorky ones. Or maybe that should be, especially the dorky ones!

What future projects do you have in mind?
Working on the sequel to The Phantom Pilot right now; The Phantom Student will be published around Halloween, and it will be available in digital and PRINT! Also working on a story for the Terminus X anthology Cool Well Press is putting together, and I’ve got a couple of other short stories started just for grins. Oh, and my Women’s Novel, How Long Does it Take to Fall Out of Love? is making the rounds of agents as we speak. So far, no bites, only nibbles…

If you were stranded on a desert island, what five tangible things would you take with you?
All my grandkids and a good stick for spearing fish and for writing and drawing in the sand.

On what reality show would you consider being a guest?
Well, the only one I watch
is American Idol, so I would be on that—if I could sing.
What are your all time favorite works of literature?

Red Sky at Morning, The Crystal Cave, The Dead Zone, The Stand, all of Poe’s short stories (even that really horrid one about the black cat), The Hobbit, Lonesome Dove, a short story by Stephen King called “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” The Body, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, and last but not least, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Oh, and a little book from my childhood called Silver Chief, Dog of the North. Oh, and “Thirteen Tales They Wouldn’t Let Me Do on TV,” a collection of weird tales gathered under Alfred Hitchcock’s name. And so many more…

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a writer?


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Roasted Brisket a -la-Sara

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  It's time to eat.  Our New Year meal consisted of (surprisingly thawed) brisket, which we forgot to buy a marinade for.  So without even the help of Google, I concocted a home-made marinade. 

After cutting my nine-pound brisket so that it would fit in my 9X13 baking dish, I slathered it in Worchestershire Sauce (Kudos to anyone who can say that ... I still say it slow and sounding like an English village ...), Soy Sauce, Browning Sauce (compliments of Glenna, thanks girl!), Season All salt, Steak Seasoning, and fresh minced garlic (once again, thanks Glenna!).  I also added a cup and a half of water to give it something to roast in. 

I stuck that sucker in the oven at 350 degrees uncovered for an hour at 9 a.m.  After that hour was up, I covered it (carefully ...) and knocked the temp back to about 275.  I also added about another cup of water at that time.  It was already smelling good!

Then we let it roast, let it roast, let it roast! 

Aiming to eat dinner about 3:30, we realized about 2 that we needed to cook some other stuff in the oven as well.  So we kicked the temp up to 400 degrees for the last hour, but kept our roast covered before finally taking it and letting it rest before serving.  That magical first and final hour cooked at a higher temperature really made a difference!  It was so tender when we went to carve it up that it practically had already fallen apart.

One word: Delicious.  Paired with mashed cream cheese taters from Granny's recipe, cornbread/clover rolls, baked mac-n-cheese a-la-hubby, black eyed peas and caramel pie from Grandpa's fireman recipe for dessert and you're eating like a king!


I prepared the second brisket half in the same marinade and covered it, letting it sit overnight in the fridge.  I took it out and baked it the next morning as per instructions found on the first Google post I found.  So covered and baked at 275 degrees from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. left my brisket edible, but not delectable.  It was not nearly as tender or juicy (though I made the same mistake with the pan drippings ... for SHAME!) and quite honestly not nearly as exciting as the first. 

Happy Eating!