Inner Source is happy to again share some of our favorite titles with readers, allowing them not only to meet the author but also one of the main characters of the stories we are sharing. Our first guest this year is Carolina Jessup, the delightful heroine of Kay Dew Shostak’s Next Stop, Chancey.
Carolina, welcome to Inner Source, and thank you for being our first guest of 2016. I have to admit that I read the series out of order, but I didn’t miss a thing. The second story had me salivating to read the first. So I’d like to start with you telling us a little about where you find yourself in life right now, where you live, and what you find yourself doing these days.
Well, Fay, one advantage you have as a reader is you know my thoughts, so, I guess I’ll just be honest. Small towns are not all they’re racked up to be, and I’d promised myself I’d never get stuck in one again. Yet, here I am in Chancey, Georgia. Running a B&B, for crying out loud. Now, not only are the people that live here all in my business, but I welcome strangers into my home. I’m just not sure how I let all this happen. Usually with a little redirection, dragging my feet and good nature stalling, I can get out of things I don’t like. So, honestly? I’m still a little stunned I’m here and figuring any day now, this will all go away. That could happen, right?
Now, I want to tell you that even as I write this interview I am smiling because I found myself at times realizing that you and I have a lot in common. At all times, I knew where you were coming from. The way you handle life’s ups and downs with humor, your love for your husband, and those things that you want to avoid—those are all me. I found myself understanding myself a little better through your eyes. I hope that makes sense. I think I know this answer, but why do you feel that humor spills from your thoughts when you are dealing with difficult things in your life?
Really? You feel like you know where I am coming from? Great then, ‘cause you and I need to spend some time together. As for the humor, I try to keep that to a minimum since I tend to be not so nice sometimes. Are you like that, too? I’d love to be more honest, more straight-forward. Not have one thought in my head, and the completely opposite words come out of my mouth. Maybe that’s what makes me say funny things.
Am I just like you, especially in the “not so nice” area? Most of the time I’m Southern sweet. To share with our readers, I’m nice on the outside and churning butter on the inside so that I don’t tell someone what I think. However, when pushed too far, the butter I’ve churned is spat out in large portions.
Your husband, Jackson, travels a lot, and he’s moved you—no let me rephrase that—you moved your family to Chancey, Georgia, from the suburbs. First, I’d like to know if there is anything you miss about the suburbs.
Most times, everything! People didn’t assume so much about me in the suburbs. They just left me alone. It was easy to shut off access to me and my family. In Chancey, folks all have opinions on what you should do. They watch for the least little thing to comment on. And they have no qualms about commenting. And then there was my Publix grocery store in Marietta with full service bakery, deli, fish market. Great, now I’m depressed.
Oops, sorry. Didn’t mean to make you feel bad, but perhaps the next question will bring it more into perspective. You knew this was coming. Deep down inside, what did you think of those wonderful, crazy folks you found in Chancey? (My favorite is Missus—I love that crazy lady).
Well, now this would be much easier if you hadn’t already read the first book and knew some of my thoughts. I could lie and say Missus is a sweet old lady, and I feel honored to have met her. But, well, no. Missus is bossy and I really can’t think straight around her. Do you know people like that? Where you get so tongue-tied and even brain-tied around them you end up confirming to them that they are right and you’re an idiot? But, if you like her, then maybe I’ll try a little harder. Susan and Laney, I’ve got to admit, are really great. I’ve not made a lot of friends in my life (see that thing about wanting to be left alone above) but I kind of regret that now that I’m getting to know Susan and Laney.
If readers were to take one truth from the life of Carolina Jessup, what would you want it to be.
I’m beginning to think I might not know what’s best for my life. Maybe this God thing has some merit, because there’s no way I would’ve chosen to move to Chancey or open a B&B, but well, and don’t tell anyone this, it might just be the best thing that could’ve happened. But probably not. Sure, God could come up with making a platypus, but moving us to Chancey? Naw, that’s just too crazy.
Carolina, I enjoyed your honest answers. I look forward to speaking with your author on Wednesday. In the meantime, enjoy those trains passing by your home, that quirky little town, and that river that runs through your backyard. I hope to visit Chancey again very soon.
More About Next Stop, Chancey:
Looking in your teenage daughter’s purse is never a good idea. When Carolina does, she ends up accidentally selling their home in her beloved Atlanta suburbs to move into her husbands dream home. It’s a big, old house beside a railroad bridge in a small Georgia town. And now he dreams of her opening a B&B for Railroad buffs while he’s off doing his day job. Carolina’s dislike of actually saying “No” leaves an opening for the town bully who wears a lavender skirt and white gloves. Soon, of course, Carolina is opening the B&B with the aid of the entire town of Chancey, Georgia, and it all makes her hate small towns even more than when she was growing up in one. And did I mention there’s a ghost? Yeah, teenagers, trains, and a ghost. This stuff didn’t happen in the suburbs.
Another Great Read by Kay Dew Shostak: Chancey Family Lies:
Carolina is determined her first holiday season as a stay-at-home mom will be perfect. However …
Twelve kids from college (and one nobody seems to know)
Eleven chili dinners (Why do we always need to feed a crowd?)
Ten dozen fake birds (cardinals, no less)
Nine hours without power (but lots of stranded guests)
Eight angry council members (Wait, where’s the town’s money?)
Seven trains a-blowin’ (all the time. All. The. Time).
Six weeks with relatives (six weeks!!)
Five plotting teens (Again, who is that girl?)
Four in-laws staying (and staying, and staying …)
Three dogs a-barking (Who brought the dogs?)
Two big ol’ secrets (and they ain’t wrapped in ribbons under the three, either)
And the perfect season gone with the wind.
“A new voice in Southern Fiction” is how a recent reviewer labels Kay Dew Shostak’s debut novel, Next Stop, Chancey. Kay grew up in the South and graduated from the University of Tennessee. She then joined her husband moving around the country as they raised their three children. Always a reader, being a writer was a dream she cultivated as a journalist and editor at a small town newspaper in northern Illinois. After moving to Marietta, Georgia, Kay submitted several true life stories which appeared in a number of compilation books over the next ten years. In 2011, she and her husband, Mike, moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida for Mike’s job.
Seeing the familiar and loved from new perspectives led Kay to write about the absurd, the beautiful, and the funny in her South in both her fiction and non-fiction. While Next Stop, Chancey is her debut novel, she has completed two more in the series and is working on the fourth book. Chancey Book number 2: Chancey Family Lies is now available.