Tag: writers for hire

An Interview With Author The Behrg

 ber

The Behrg is the author of the story “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title,” and the book Housebroken; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.thebehrg.com/

 

Q:  What is “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title,” about.

 

A: “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title” was spawned from a comment a blogger friend of mine made on Twitter regarding the sheer number of books coming out with “The Girl” in them. Girl on a Train, Girl in the Ice, Girl on Fire, the list goes on and on, and I thought wouldn’t it be great to poke fun at that trend by also taking part in it? Yet I didn’t want the story to be merely a satire. When I started writing it, without knowing where it was going, it led me to a very dark place. Ultimately the story is about life and death, and the short distance between.

 

Q:  What makes “The Girl” an interesting character?

 

A: I think “The Girl” is interesting because she’s so relatable. We all have trying times in our lives and can identify with those who are down. She takes the tumble a little further than most, however, and we’re able to follow her journey into this realm known as “The Lines,” which parallels her own attempts at suicide. Like I said, it’s definitely a dark story.

 

Q:  What is Housebroken about?

 

A: Housebroken is a novel about a seemingly ordinary family who is held hostage in their own home. But unlike most kidnapping / home invasion tales, these kidnappers want only to observe the family. They create rules that are almost impossible not to break, and the consequences for both action and inaction are quite terrifying. There are plenty of twists and turns as the narrative unfolds, revealing secrets not only from the kidnappers, but the very family they’ve decided to target.

 

Q:  What inspired you to write the story?

 

A: The idea for this story came after a recent move with my family. A guy showed up at our door selling magazine subscriptions, but there was just something off about him. After he left I had the creepiest feeling that he had been there for something other than his purported purpose. It got the wheels turning. I started working on the novel the very next day.

 

Q:  Why do you think stories about kidnapping interest people so much?

 

A: Kidnapping stories are different than your typical horror or thriller driven tales. In the latter, we find surreal monsters or serial killers that, while possible, most likely will never cross our paths. Kidnapping is different because it doesn’t require the supernatural or supreme coincidences; it could happen to anyone at any time, thus it becomes a universal fear. Kidnapping stories are also about ordinary people fighting back against untold horrors, and that’s something we can all relate to, in one way or another.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it impact your writing?

 

A: My day job revolves around sales, in one form or another. I’ve sold everything from knives to marketing services to credit insurance to trucks. I’ve always known that to pursue my goals of writing I would need to have something to support a family, and sales has enabled me to pursue my passions in my off-time. The funny thing about being in sales is that I’m so reluctant to sell myself or my writing. I have no problem slinging a product for a company but have a difficult time telling people about my work or asking someone to buy something I’ve created myself.

 

Q:  Who are some of your literary influences and how can we see this in your writing?

 

A: There are so many, it’s difficult to narrow this one down. Stephen King is an obvious influence, but rather than the horror elements of his stories I’m more taken in by his development of character. I read a wide array of genres, so I would have to include Orson Scott Card, Blake Crouch, Ralph Ellison, Gregg Hurwitz, Michael Connelly, Michael Crichton, and Peter Straub. These are all authors who inspire me with their words, craft, and understanding of story.

 

Q:  What trends in literature annoy you?

 

A: I love this question! I do agree w/ my blogger friend about the trend with “Girl” in the title, though it’s only the latest in a long slew of popular trends. I find it funny that when a book breaks big everyone scrambles to try to be the same thing as that book, rather than attempting to innovate, which is typically the reason for the original book’s success in the first place. I try not to follow trends and instead write stories I would want to read with characters that fascinate me.

 

Q:  You say you worked as a child actor and appeared on the Twilight Zone. Which episode were you in?

 

A: I worked quite a bit for over ten years as a child actor and have no idea how my parents did it, to be honest! The Twilight Zone episode I was in is one called “The Elevator.” I played a “Young Will” in a flashback scene and was able to practice screaming for awhile. J

 

Q:  If one of your characters could come work for you as your personal assistant, who would you pick ?

 

A: Most of my characters are fabulously flawed, with dark sides that make this question particularly difficult. I suppose I might choose one of the protagonists in my Creation Series, Faye Moanna, solely because she’s a person who gets things done. She wouldn’t care about hurting my feelings but would probably push me to do the marketing things I consistently put off.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Blogger Nicholas Gomez

 ng

Nicholas Gomez runs the blog Feedback Junkies, here is a link to his blog:

feedbackjunkies.tumblr.com

Q: What inspired you to start Feedback Junkies?

A: I think lots of different things motivated me to start Feedback Junkies. I listen to a couple guys on this podcast for doubletoasted.com who basically review movies and make people laugh. But before they were professional movie critics, they were a group of average Austinites who just happened to be into movies a lot. So, rather than starting a podcast, I decided to write about my experiences with books, movies, music, and sometimes life in general. It probably also has to do with the fact that I used to have a close group of friends that I discussed movies with, and as time has gone on, we’ve grown apart, but my need to talk about these things has not.

Q:  What kind of articles can one find there?

A:  For the Feedback Junkies page, I mostly write reviews for movies, music, and books, as well as short stories and poems every now and then. But I did recently start another blog on nicholasgomez.strikingly.com where I talk in-depth about things like dating, health, education, and lifestyle, and my experiences in those areas.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: Given the fact that I just moved to Austin, the day job still hasn’t arrived. I would tell you about past jobs and how those have influenced my writing, but the truth is they haven’t. Most of the things I have learned, or written about, have nothing to do with my job as of today. I think most of the interesting stuff in my life, which is the shit I write about, has happened at times when I said yes, where others might have said no.

Q: Your write a lot of reviews, what separates you from other critics?

A:  I don’t really like to consider myself a critic. Yes, I write a lot of reviews, but not because I want to judge the art in front of me. I mostly write about the things that have had a positive impact on my life, and I do that in hopes that it will help impact others’ lives just as much. Maybe that’s what separates me from other critics, the fact that I don’t put myself on a pedestal and look down on things that I don’t like, or praise the things I do. My goal, is to be a middle man for people who don’t know where to find material that is actually worth learning and/or experiencing.

Q:  You have promoted other artist in the past. What qualities do you look for in an artist to promote?

A:  Of all the artists I promote, I’ve only ever met two of them. Both were genuinely humble, passionate, and extremely talented. There’s a key point I want to make here. Most people think that if something is good, you have to like it, and vice-versa. That’s just silly. I have heard hundreds of bands, watched hundreds of movies, and read lots of books that I didn’t necessarily care for, but if these forms of art were well executed, I could recognize it. Just because I thought it was a waste of my time, doesn’t mean everyone else will. And sometimes that plays into why I promote them. I write for my audience, which is still embarrassingly small, but if I know a certain percentage of them will enjoy this movie, or that band, then I write about it for them. Which is who writing is supposed to be for. The audience, not the writer.

Q:  What are some of the things you have done to promote your blog and how much did they cost?

A: Oh boy. First things first, I’ve spent nothing on promotion.  90% of my promotion has been word of mouth. There’s a reason for this, which I didn’t fully understand until a few months ago when I heard Tucker Max explain it in an interview. He said the best way to make people want to buy your stuff, or read it or whatever, is to constantly keep putting great work out there. Because by doing this, not only will the people who see it want to recommend it to their friends and so on, but once they finish the first piece, they will want more and more. This is a mistake a lot of people make. They put one great project out there, and people love it. But then they stop, and the few people who loved that project have nothing new to get their hands on, and thus end up forgetting who this person even was to begin with.

 

Q: Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

7- I don’t really follow blogs as much as I probably should. I like podcasts much more for some reason. The only real blog I keep tabs on is Tucker Max’s and Charlie Hoehn’s, because…well, because they put out some of the most groundbreaking and meaningful pieces out there. And they write with their audience in mind, which is something not a lot of bloggers do.

Q: What trends in blogging annoy you?

A:  The kind of blogging that just seems pathetic and useless to me is written by people who think they will find healing from comment sections on the internet. You know, the ones who pour their hearts out online, expecting people to respect them for being brave. If you want to be respected for being brave, stop hiding behind the keyboard, and go do something with your life. If all your blog talks about is you, nobody will care. At least not in the larger scale of things.

Q: What makes Austin a good place for a writer to live?

A:  I got here a few days ago, so I can’t say with certainty what’s great about it.

Q: If you could meet Pere Hilton or Arianna Huffington who would you pick?

 

A:  I wouldn’t pick either one of them. Meeting Perez Hilton would be the biggest waste of my time, and Arianna Huffington could probably care less about me, so meeting her would be a waste of her time and mine.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Mass Awareness Project Founder Tony Curatolo

Tonypic1

Tony Curatolo is the founder of Mass Awareness Project; here is a link to his website:

www.massawarenessproject.com.

 

 

Q: What is the Mass Awareness Project?

A: The Mass Awareness Project is more difficult to characterize than most organizations due to its multifaceted nature.  The best way to describe it is a community of likeminded people who have made it their mission to create an awareness platform that will be a friend to all who want to change the world for the better or are simply searching for knowledge of world issues.  We are doing this in a lot of different ways and through many varying forms of media.

For instance, we will be hosting a TV show in the Portland area with the help of our friends at Portland Community Media.  The show will focus on highlighting many of the world’s problems, pointing out the facts and what we could or should do about them. The show will also feature groups that are trying to make a difference like Children of Peace International, The Bloom Project, The Ingenuity Innovation Center and many more.

In addition, we are having great success developing a social media presence through several platforms; Instagram being the most popular thus far.  We haven’t been on Instagram 2 full months yet, but we already have nearly 1800 followers.  We want to continue building our social media presence so that eventually, any organization that is raising funds for a good cause can contact us and we will be able to spread the word to a network thousands strong with just a few clicks of the mouse.  All 100% Free.  And it will remain that way as long as the Mass Awareness Project is around.

We are also developing our own website that will feature original articles and news about our organization.

Q: What inspired you to start the project?

A: When I first started thinking about it, the concept was a simple web series that addressed world issues.  It sounded like a creative way to make a difference and a fun way to spend my free time.  I thought about it for years and never really tried to develop it.  A few months ago I posted an ad on Craigslist just to see if anyone would be interested in working on a project like that.  Overnight I was contacted by nearly 100 people.  I have to say I was stunned.  I never planned for that kind of response.  Very quickly I realized that I might have stumbled on to something and the idea grew from there.  Now we have a real chance to make a difference in the world.

Q: What kind of educational background do you have and how will it help with the project?

A: I went to college, but as a Music Performance major and I didn’t finish.  My real education was my experience in the business world.  I managed several successful businesses in several different industries and learned much of how the world works and what it takes to be successful.  My real talent was always bringing people together and orienting them towards a common goal.  I’ve done this with sales forces, marketing teams, call centers, construction companies and many more.  Now, I do it for the Mass Awareness Project.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have right now?

A: I run a small online business from home and work part time as a HCA to pay the bills.  The bulk of my time is spent on the Mass Awareness Project.

Q: What kind of stories are you looking for on your web-series?

A: What I have found is that there are inspirational people all around us.

We are looking to promote anyone who has a project or story that could benefit the world.  This could include inventors, non-profit organizations, farmers, business owners, politicians, victims of crime and anyone else who has a voice that needs to be heard.

Q:  You are currently taking submissions to your video series. What is the most popular topic people want to talk about?

A: Many of the topics have something to do with the environment.  It’s a huge issue right now and it will be until humanity decides to stop abusing our planet.  Many topics are political like Citizens United or the power of lobbyists on Washington. Education and Equality are also huge priorities.

Q:  Who is in your team of writers?

A: I really lucked out.  Derek Poe, Bryan Fuehrer and Paul Norberg have joined the project and have been absolutely amazing to work with.  We collaborate on every script and all though we all come from different backgrounds and our views differ we have yet to have a real disagreement.  Everyone checks their ego at the door and we get a ton of work done.

Q:  What is the most unusual problem someone has approached you with?

A: Someone asked if we could help spread awareness of the real meaning of parkour!  Really funny, but not quite what we are looking for though.

Q:  Does the project endorse any particular candidate in the presidential election?

No.

Q:  What issues are the most important to you personally?

A: I am an Italian immigrant and didn’t speak English until I was 11 years old.   I lost my accent a long time ago and most people I meet can’t tell I’m foreign any more.  Still, when I was young, I got to feel racism first hand and was treated differently by many of my peers and teachers.  Even as a Caucasian child it was difficult.  Too many people deal with so much worse than I had to every day for a variety of bogus reasons.  The way you talk, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation do not make you better or worse than anyone else.  Inequality and racism will be at the top of my list of issues until they are abolished for this reason.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Blogger Lisa Hackett

lisa2

Lisa Hackett runs the blog Where’s my Xanax; here is a link to the website:

https://wheresmyxanax.wordpress.com/

 

 

Q:  What made you interested in writing?

A: Writing has always been a way for me to get out certain emotions, whether its something heartfelt and serious, to something snarky and witty. It’s my voice. I can write things that sometimes you can’t say sometimes.

Q:  What is the overall theme of  Where’s my Xanax?

A: My “Where’s My Xanax” blog is a little mix of everything. Sometimes serious but usually silly and outrageous. Stupid things I’ve done and experienced and I like to talk about topics that people want to talk about but are afraid too.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I worked for Lancome cosmetics. So it really hasn’t influenced my writing much. I do wonder why I dont write on beauty topics or makeup application, but I suppose when you work with make up last thing you wanna do is write about it. I call being a mom my primary job in life and it influences many things I have written about, because being a mom, there are always things to make fun of.

Q:  What are “The Fulls”?

A: The Fulls are a set of characters designed by Cheri Silard for ages 3-8 and their parents, they offer optimism and positive quotes, photos, articles and other. They are designed to inspire and entertain and self discovery. They pride themselves in teaching kids, honesty, responsibility, community, confidence, respect. consideration and other good values.

Q:  Who is Delightful?

A: DelightFull is an inspiring little character who posts kids food crafts and recipes with optimistic energy, all things sweet. She tries to teach young kids good values like sharing.

Q:  Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

A: I love Fits of Wit, she is down right awesome, it is witty and always leaves me in tears from laughing. Nanny Goats in Panties always has something interest to say. All Fooked up, she writes about offensive silly things, even warns you that she may offend you and to start drinking before entering her blog.

Q:  Why do you think sex is such a popular subject for bloggers to write about?

A: Well for me and what I write. I think its the fact that people do think, talk about sex but many are afraid too with society today, because they are afraid of judgement. I think sex has always been popular. Now is the time with all the Sex and the city and 50 shades type of books and movies. I think sex is easier for some to discuss openly without judgement, in blog especially.

Q:  What trends in blogging annoy you?

A: I have issues with all the fashion blogs or curator type blogs, the ones where they take everyone’s stuff and just repost it with an opinion. I would much rather read stuff from the heart, mind, other. Even if it offends me, I’d rather it be real.

Q:  What other kinds of writing do you do?

A: I write a little bit of everything, from deep dark from the heart to silly poems and witty outrageous stories. I am working on a book, which will be a cross between Erma Bombeck and Chelsea Handler.

Q:  What have you done to promote your blog?

A: Well I just got a new blog and host. I will slowly build my blog through social networking and just hopefully people will love what I read. With Where’s My Xanax, primarily through blogs and follwers and facebook sharing. Twitter is a must have for bloggers, great way to get your blogs seen and isn’t that what we want, people to read what we have to say?

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Author Paul MacDonald

 Silhouette_Man_Walking_Suit

 

Paul MacDonald  is the author of Smile Now, Cry Later; here is a link to his website:

https://paulmacdonaldla.wordpress.com/

 


Q:
 What is Smile Now, Cry Later about?

A: It’s the first book in a new mystery series that follows a sardonic HR exec who moonlights as a private detective. It’s a fresh take on the classic genre. This first installment has the hero, Chuck Restic, venturing outside the confines of his corporate skyscraper in search of a missing colleague. The trail leads him to the Armenian mob and billionaire land developers. It’s very much an LA story.

Q:  What inspired you to write it?

A: I have worked in Corporate America for over 20 years and the series is a way for me to channel the frustrations of someone that comes out of that. Like Chuck, I had a need for finding a purpose.

Q:  What makes  Chuck Restic different than other detectives?

A: He’s not your typical detective as his is more a passive-aggressive approach over the old-fashioned fisticuffs kind! But HR translates nicely into the detective world — interviewing skills, investigations into foul play, etc.

Q: What make makes Los Angeles a good place for a murder mystery?

A: Many would argue but to me, Los Angeles is the ideal setting for murder mysteries. Clearly, others believe that when you look at how many books are set in LA. There is something loathsome but also special about this town. The seediness is the same as any other big city, it’s just this one is set in perpetually 75 and sunny days. That contrast is what makes it work.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your writing?

A:  I am very much like the character in the series — a 9-5 guy at a corporate office. I work in HR and channel all of the inanity and pointlessness of that role into the series.

Q:  What are the elements of a good mystery?

A: Unexpected but logical. If you can accomplish that with each plot twist leading up to the reveal of the killer, you are in for a good story. If you can’t, then everyone feels cheated.

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?

A:  I tend to stick with the classics of the LA detective genre — Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler. Some lesser known guys are Raoul Whitfield and Paul Cain. I also like Ken Bruen, who is very much NOT from LA.

Q: What trends in fiction annoy you?

A: There’s a cliche in current detective fiction that drives me nuts. It’s usually the guy with the beat up (but cool) convertible whose ex-wife and kids still adore him despite his being a horrible husband and father, who feels the need to describe what he’s wearing because he thinks the jeans and faded t-shirt sounds cool, whose charm disarms every female TV reporter, assistant DA, museum curator, andclothing store owner they come across. Guys, stop writing about the guy you wish you were!

Q: What can we expect from the rest of the series?

A: I have the second book coming out in a month and then hope to have one book a year from then on. We’ll see if I can keep that pace going!

Q:  If a famous detective could make a guest appearance in one of your novels, who would it be and why?

A: I guess it would be Lew Archer. I just love his relentless pursuit of justice (truth?) but done in a way that’s sort of quiet but determined. He just seemed very “real” and someone I would want on my side.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With YouTuber Danisha Carter

danisha

Danisha Carter is a singer, dancer and actress who is about to start her own YouTube channel; here is a link to her Twitter account:

 

Q: What inspired you to start making YouTube videos?

A: My favorite YouTuber in the world; Swoozie. There have always been the glitzy and glamorous YouTube videos that I liked, but Swoozie was funny and entertaining just being himself, telling stories about his life and including fun cartoons – he proved that you can entertain people without all the special effects. Ever since then I knew I wanted to make videos, I didn’t know specifically how yet – but I wanted to make them. When I figured out I wanted to make singing videos along with other creative ones, I knew that YouTube was a huge platform to really reach people in my own way, so that is what began my YouTube journey.

Q:  How does a YouTube Network, work?

A: A YouTube Network is like a record label with less money, haha. They sign popular YouTube talents to their “label” and you create underneath them and they pay you for it. Some networks are more hands-on than others, supporting you and promoting you, while others are just there to try and take money from you. I won’t say which labels do which, haha.

Q: Why should investors, invest in your network?

A: I miss represent myself when I say I want to start a YouTube netowrk because in reality it’s a channel, only because I’m not signing talent, even though I’ll have a lot of features.

Investors should invest in my channel for a few reasons. The first being, that YouTube and online entertainment is skyrocketing right now. Look at all the budding careers and profit (which is what investors are in for) that have already come from YouTubers just in the pat year, if they want in on that money now is the time to do it. Secondly, I have been doing and studying not only YouTube, but marketing for a long time and have seen how online entertainment works, and I have planned accordingly. I legitimately have every part of my channel outlined in a business plan even down to the timing of when different videos will be uploaded; investors that want to get involved with the online entertainment market will want to go in with a plan and I have that plan. Thirdly, I don’t want to say it’s fool-proof, but the way the channel is set up, there are very limited ways it could fail – I can’t really tell you why without giving things away.

Q:  What kinds of videos will your new channel offer?

A: My channel is going to be the ultimate variety, something for everyone. The main three features will be my singing videos, and two series called People of Vegas and Shops of Vegas. My singing videos are the main focus of the channel because I am a singer and plan to primarily use YouTube to showcase that. The Vegas features I was inspired to include when I moved to Vegas and really saw how crazy, exciting, extravagant and amazing this city is and there are so many people who don’t know that. Shops of Vegas will feature stores that are exclusively here, large hotels here, nightclubs etc. and People of Vegas will focus on the tourists and locals here that are more exciting than the people anywhere else. There will also be a Dance series on there similar to Dance Moms and local dance groups showing their talent, a lot of fashion videos – I’ve partnered with a few Fashion brands that want to get their look out there and it’ll be a great platform for it. A small series called Sundays With Brooke, that’s going to be all about kids in a funny way (similar to the AT&T commercials) and a few more sections focused on different creatives an entertainment.

Q:  Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?

A:  Definitely Swoozie, he’s hilarious and humble. Onision is my second one, he is extremely realistic and onest with his viewers and share a lot of the same views I do, everyone likes when people agree with them, right? haha. I also like a channel called Whatever, they do pranks and whatnot so that’s always really entertaining. Other than that, I don’t watch many YouTubers.

Q:  What kind of YouTube videos would you like to see less of?

A: Definitely beauty gurus, gaming, and corporation videos. Gaming videos are like, an easy success in YouTube but they don’t really represent what YouTube is about to me, and I love video games. Just my opinion. And I feel like too many people upload Beauty Guru videos not actually as professionals in make-up firstly, and secondly for what they hope will be quick fame as the next Bethany Mota – it’s over uploaded and over-bearing. I hate, hate, hate corporation pages though, channels like Vevo, Google, Music, generic channels that promote people that are already famous and run extremely long ads etc. could go on and on about why I dislike them.

Q: What drew you to Las Vegas?

A: Las Vegas is extremely cheap to live in ever since the recession. You can get a two bedroom condo here for $800 a month, a nice one too, whereas you can get a two bedroom condo in New York (where I’m from) for $2000 a month. The thinking was and is, that I can put almost all of my money towards making videos as opposed to over priced living expenses. Vegas is also warm, I was running from Winter. It’s also exciting, what ISN’T there to film here?

Q:  What is your weirdest Vegas story?

A: My weirdest Vegas story, there have been a few BUT I think the one that takes the cake would be when I walked into a couple having sex on an elevator. And yes, I got inside. Somehow in my mind, because I had already made eye contact with them, getting into the elevator seemed less awkward than not to me. i don’t know, but it was freeeeaky.

Q:  How would you describe your brand?

A: Real. There will be no smoke and mirrors with this channel. Everything, from the music features and collaborations, to the fashion brands, to the dances, to the tourists will be real and uncut. Just real people with real talent doing what they love, and not changing to impress.

Q:  What kind of a day job or income source do you have and how does it influence your videos?

A: I currently work at Tory Burch, until we start the channel. It influences me not only as a place to shoot for Shops of Vegas, but i meet so many new and different people there on a daily, which reminds me to learn from everyone and that everyone has a story to tell – you’ll see a lot of that in my videos.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Hot Sauce Enthusiast Vic Clinco

vic hot

Vic Clinco is a hot sauce enthusiast who writes for Chile Pepper Magazine; here is a link to his Twitter page:

Q: What started your obsession with hot sauce?

A: I’m glad you used the word obsession because truly, that is what it is. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved spicy food. When I was a kid I can remember my family being in awe on the amount of red pepper flakes I would douse on my meals. Then like so many of us I moved upend cut my teeth on Tabasco. From there I sought out different types of sauces, again based on the wide availability, the Frank’s Red Hot, Crystal, Louisiana, but somewhere in my late high school years it was like a switch went off. I craved hotter and hotter, couldn’t find sauces hot enough and it’s been a quest ever since. This obsession has me scouring the internet for new sauces/company’s, treasure hunting every where I go, and carrying super hot chile powders and hot sauces with me every day.

Q:  What do you think of the Sriracha Sauce craze?

A: It’s crazy right, I think it’s absolutely phenomenal. I am a fan of Sriracha as a whole, now you do know that Sriracha is a style, a type of hot sauce right? So the one brand we almost automatically think of is from Huy Fong. It’s the bright red sauce, signature green lid, and the rooster on the label. But that is just one brand, there are hundreds of Sriracha’s out there, heck even Tabasco, Frank’s and other mainstream and typically Louisiana styled specific company’s have thrown their hat in the Sriracha Ring. It’s awesome! We have major fast food company’s with a huge array of Sriracha menu items, the snack food options have absolutely exploded, clothing items… I can’t be more excited. Anything that adds to and helps bring attention to the hot sauce industry as a whole, I’m all for. Because “I put that @%#& on everything”.

Q:  What are some of your favorite sauces and why?

A: Hands down I am partial to the Caribbean style sauces, I love that they tend to be thicker, pulpier with more pepper solids in them, and are bright with heat and almost explode with flavor. Some great and easy to locate examples are from Marie Sharp’s, Melinda’s and the Tropical Pepper Company. Though I am also a purest, I read the labels and the ingredients. My opinion is the simpler the better, if there a just a ton of ingredients a can’t pronounce, I typically pass, but I’ll collect it and put it on my shelves. I urge people who ask me “what should I get?” or “What’s good?”, get out and try sauces. Most people’s view into the hot sauce world is through their big box major grocery stores, man is that a small window of what is truly out there and available. In 2012 hot sauce production was the 8th fastest growing industry in the U.S. with thousands of small batch, artisan makers all over the country. There is so much incredible sauce made by incredible people its staggering. I tell people to hit the Farmers Markets, the Fresh Markets, the Produce Stands these are the places many of the producers go to sell their products. This way you can try before you buy, talk to the maker and ask questions. Another great outlet is the Hot Shop, the hot sauce and spicy food specific brick and mortar stores, yes a little harder to come by but growing in popularity and typically offer samples/tastings of sauces, you’ll just have to do some research to track one down around you.

Q:  What foods should people use hot sauce on that they don’t?

A: Um, everything! Have you tried a nice fruit based (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry) hot sauce on ice cream yet? I’m telling you, you are so missing out. Add a few drops of those same fruit based sauces to your pancake or waffle mix. Stir a good Chipotle sauce into your chocolate chip cookie dough before baking, it will give them a cool smokiness and hint of spice. For drink applications try CaJohn’s Frostbite, cajohns.com, it is a clear hot sauce that excels in drinks because it is colorless and flavorless, it just adds heat to whatever you put it in. Seriously it awesome in margaritas, rum punch, manhattans you name. Even protein shakes and energy drinks and awesome spicy addition when you’re juicing. It also adds a zing to pickles, olives and any pickled veggies. Hers a simple recipe you can use as a dip for practically anything from sliced fruit to fried foods and so much more; 1 cup Sriracha, 1cup mayo and 1/2 cup honey… Mix well serve chilled. Garnish with a little ground ginger and maybe some thinly sliced green onion.

Q:  What ingredients are key to a good hot sauce?

A: Just like in any cooking application; good, high quality products in will make the end product good and high quality, any Chef will concur. Your base ingredients can be as simple as chile peppers and vinegar, a little salt and pepper for seasoning and viola! Everything else is up to your tastes and/or your imagination. We are all different right, we all have different tastes, different likes and dislikes, and different heat tolerances. It’s a great time in hot sauce production right now because the popularity, the demand for flavor. Typically garlic, onion, and fruit are the most popular base ingredients, but again, sky’s the limit. I’ve had chocolate, coffee, beer, grapes, bacon, rum, and vodka just to name a few off the top of my head.

Q:  What sort of work do you do?

A: My day job is for US Foods, I am a manager for their Cash and Carry division called CHEF’STORE, it’s a restaurant supply store. But by night I’m a Hot Sauce Rock Star! I write for Chile Pepper Magazine, it’s the largest nationally distributed publication on everything spicy. My article is titled “Sauce & Tell” and it touches base on the history and origins of hot sauce, my travels in the hot sauce trade show circuit, the evolution of my collection, and provides recipes for sauces, dips, condiments and spicy yumminess. I also have the pleasure to work with CaJohn’s Fiery Foods, a spicy food manufacturer out of Columbus, Ohio. My wife and I travel with CaJohn’s to the major hot sauce shows around the country and help in the booth. I actually run a hot sauce challenge, it’s called CaJohn’s Execution Station. What I do is challenge willing victim’s heat tolerance, I start them off the a Ghost Pepper based hot sauce and then walk them up the line through seven more sauces, each one getting progressively hotter and hotter. Yes, I did say I START with the Ghost Pepper! Simple, if the willing victims can endure the pain/heat, not pass out on me, and not throw up on my table, it’s happens, then they win cool swag and my undying admiration.

Q:  What is the rarest bottle of hot sauce you have in your collection?

A: Not to brag, well maybe a little, but I’m fortunate enough to have some really cool and rare pieces in The Collection, I’ve been collecting for 20 years now and have some really exquisite pieces. I have one called Extreme Heat from Hell Fire Hot Sauce, there are only 5 of them in existence now. I have a very valued to me #1 of 10 signed Christmas Adam & Eve set from CaJohn’s, also a #1 of 10 10 oz. signed, wax topped Death from Blair’s & Extreme Foods. I could keep going, there are a lot of rare and hard to find bottles, many low numbered reserves and collectables throughout the room and I’m always looking to add more. I actually adopted a friends collection not to long ago and made a home for some really old bottles, some cool prototypes and unique pieces. Global hot sauce world domination is my goal and I will not deviate from my plan until I see it through.

Q:  How did you get your job at Chile Pepper Magazine?

A: We were introduced at a hot sauce show in Louisiana, some of our friends who are hot sauce makers told them about our collection. Like the proud pappa I am, I whipped out my iPad and showed them pictures of The Collection. Also back in the day I was a hot sauce reviewer for a couple of blogs, with that experience and like any time I get talking about hot sauce, my passion floods through. I also have a trained culinary background, a few years ago I decided I needed a change, I had been in retail with a company for 21 years. I made the decision to attend Culinary School, part of the academic requirements was to do an internship. I did mine with the Four Seasons in Scottsdale Arizona and ended up staying on with them and running the employee dining program, I cooked for the troops. Putting all of this together, joining the Chile Pepper Team seemed to be the perfect fit.

 

Q:  Are your friends hot sauce fans as well; are there parties?

A: Yes, a lot of them are and whenever anyone comes over the the house, the first discussion or topic is always hot sauce. The room is right when you come in, hard not to pass up. We entertain in there and yes I do host parties and get togethers in it as well… There’s an open invite by the way, just sayin’. I typically make spicy margaritas, put out some chips and cover the table with different sauces from all over the world so we can get our sauce on. I generally have over hundred or so in my pantry and between 30 to 40 in the fridge at all times.  I guess I could also consider my house as a tasting room serving hot sauce flights.

Q:  What is the best hot sauce for a Bloody Mary?

A: In my humble opinion a good Caribbean style Scotch Bonnet or Habanero sauce, I find that there thicker style tends to hold up better in the heavy tomato and spice recipe. Also the natural fruitiness of the Habs give the Bloody Mary a pop. I have found that the thinner heavy vinegar Louisiana style sauce dont hold up as well in making good Bloody’s, they seem to do much better in wing sauce applications. Though with the multitude of sauce options out there, you can take your Bloody Mary in different directions. Say you want to garnish one with bacon, well then I would suggest bacon hot sauce, baconhotsauce.com. What if you were looking do to one with a Southwestern flair, then go withHeartbreaking Dawns 1542 a Chocolate Habanero (Referring to the brown/chocolate color of the chile pepper), heartbreakingdawns.com.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)