Welcome to Off-Kilter Friday where I ask above-average people below-average questions.
Today’s guest is author/artist/saloon keeper Johannah Siragusa.
Anna: Who is your favorite dead guy and why? I’m not talking necrophilia…just who was hot when he was alive.
Johannah: Horatio Nelson. He was the quintessential romantic hero. Truly brave, marred physically and emotionally, worthy of salvation. His life was a romance novel.
Anna: And he’s hot. He’s Horatio to you and Vice-Admiral, The Right Honourable , The Viscount Nelson KB to the rest of us.
Anna: Do all pets, some pets, or no pets go to heaven?
Johannah: I think of Heaven as the seat of God’s love and all creatures return there, eventually. There are plenty of animals that will precede some humans.
Anna: Just not my cat Frisky, right? I think he landed a sweet job filling in for Cerberus when he goes on coffee breaks.
Anna: If you could have a role in any TV show, past or present, which one would it be and what kind of character would you play?
Johannah: I would be Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke, but I would demand scripts that were updated. Matt would not sleep at the station. I’d be a strong broad and I’d entertain bandits and cowboy poets alike. I’ve suspected from an early age that I’d be a great saloon keeper.
Anna: You’d be most smitten by the bandit poet, though. I sense a love triangle with Matt having to forsake sleeping at the station so that the bandit poet can’t steal Miss Kitty’s heart and booze.
Anna: What song are you going to get stuck in people’s heads?
Johannah: “It’s a Wonderful World” – Louie Armstrong’s version. “I see skies of blue, clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. It’s one of my favorite prayers of thanks.
Anna: Look how nice you are! You pick a great, inspirational song. I would have picked something awful just so I could torture people.
Anna: Tell us about one of your current creative projects.
Johannah: I’m writing a book – fiction. I spend my days functioning in what would be identified as reality, but my consciousness is often elsewhere, somewhere on an old farmstead east of Madison, GA. My husband, a home brewer, and I are also engaged in a competition to see who can develop the best homemade hops bitters. I, of course, anticipate victory. We are six weeks out from judging.
Anna: I think there is a secret saloon in your basement. Since we can’t sample the brew over the internet—Google, get to work on that pronto—how about a taste of the novel?
Patrick rose from the table, his gaze betraying his disappointment. “I’ll make myself scarce. Naturally, I prefer your company, but I’ll respect your wishes, Clara. It was more difficult just after Augusta passed. Of late, I’ve become accustomed to spending more time alone.”
He turned his back to her and crossed to the window. “In my more natural state, you can see me as freely as you might notice a passing bird. But I can, with effort, remain unseen, even by you. It’s one of the tricks I’ve acquired over the years.” As he spoke these last words, he faded without a trace.
Claire felt her chest tighten. It was as if she’d been conversing with air.
Excerpt from Back Home by Johannah Siragusa
Anna: I’m hooked. Get me the rest of it. Now.
You, dear readers, feel free to ask Miss Kitty a question or give your own answer to the off-kilter questions. One randomly unlucky commenter gets a Solace e-trilogy.