Thursday, 6 September 2012

Author Interview with Lee Ray

I'd like to welcome author Lee Ray to the Shut Up & Read blog today!

Book Title: Bushels and Barrels: Redefining the American Dream

Author: Lee Ray

Genre: Nonfiction

Page Number: 196

Publisher: Bookstand Publishing

Publish Date: July 2012 

Available From:  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Bookstand Publishing

In today’s volatile world, many Americans struggle to just survive, much less achieve something as lofty as the American Dream. After all, financial, family, and emotional challenges have created a sense of doubt, despair, and destruction in the life we all once chased. This isn’t the life we dreamed of and worked so hard to achieve, is it?

In Bushels and Barrels, author Lee Ray takes us on a thought provoking journey through some of middle-class America’s most significant challenges. He infuses his own experiences into the discussion and shares how he survived and emerged even stronger. Throughout the book, Bushels and Barrels answers each of life’s struggles with a chapter immediately following presenting the reader with some of life’s richest rewards and blessings. In this way, Lee encourages the reader to alter their way of thinking and gain a different perspective on life.

The American Dream can be achieved by everyone. All it takes is adjusting our mind-set and appreciating the many blessings in our lives. Are you ready to learn how? Your American Dream awaits you!



Thank you, Lee, for stopping by for an interview.  Tell us a little bit about your book.
My new book, "Bushels and Barrels" is an attempt to convince the reader to retrain themselves to look for positive in every aspect of life. We all live a rollercoaster of experiences every day. In order to relate to the reader, and the topics discussed, I also open my life up and share my experiences, from the good all the way to the very bad. 

I wrote this book as a way to relate my life to others out there going through similiar situations and to show you absolutely can be happy in life after enduring significant negative events. The primary readers are anyone from young adult to seniors who want to find their blessings and overcome their challenges and are willing to take the time to find out how.

The title of the book was in honor of my wedding proposal to my wife when I discussed life's journey and how I wanted to take that very path with her by my side. The binding of the book is green, our wedding colors. I took the photo which became the focus of the front cover in our back yard. The picket fence and apples are as American as you can get and I wanted to show you can find your happiness anywhere, I found my symbolic one right in my own yard!

What kind of research is necessary for you during the writing process?
For Bushels and Barrels, my research was my own life. Once the framework for the book was determined, it was just a matter of carefully addressing each topic discussed in the book.

Where did you come up with the idea for Bushels and Barrels: Redefining the American Dream?
I’ve always liked writing and have used it in the past to help me through some tough times. As I was separating the Air Force, I was facing an entirely new career and lifestyle. With the support of friends and family, a daunting challenge was transformed into an opportunity to realize the blessings in my own life. It was at this point I took my journal entries and created the framework for the chapters within Bushels and Barrels based on the top ten challenges and blessings of my own life. With that, the book was born.

What do you feel was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing the book wasn’t necessarily the writing itself. The inclusion of major parts of my own life into the book created the most turmoil within me. Initially, I thought about the reader judging me from the stories I reveal. Then, after much reflection and prayer, I realized that in order to reach the reader and relate to them in a personal way, I needed to open me up to encourage others to do the same.  

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
With putting a lot of my own personal life into Bushels and Barrels, my environment and upbringing was a major part of the concepts and discussions within the book. Everything from the personal struggles to the blessings of my own life fill the pages of this book. Life is a story and Bushels and Barrels is mine with a discussion with the reader to find their own story.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Wow, that concept went through several versions, all the way through college. As a very young kid, the firefighter shows on television had me going in that direction. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t stay after that achievable dream, but I didn’t. As I graduated college, the struggle to find work with a college degree, but little experience led me in the direction of the Air Force. That is where my dream of service to the country and be able to have a career at the same time was realized.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Although it’s not really a hidden talent, I love to challenge myself in the kitchen and take recipes and tweak them to new creations. I don’t think I have a certain “voice” in the kitchen, but I love to meld Asian and American cuisines into singular dishes or meals.

What book are you reading now?
Well, I just finished reading “Backseat” by Tom Wascoe, another independent writer not too long ago. Then I discovered another independent writer, David J. Agostine, via a blogger’s author spotlight. I then ordered his book, “Boys of the Great BB Gun War” and it was just delivered, so time to dive in and enjoy this week!

Thank you Lee, and thank you to everyone who stops by our blog!  Feel free to leave a question or comment for Lee.


About the Author:
Lee Ray was born and raised into small town America in Salem, Virginia. Shortly after earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Roanoke College in 1994, he enlisted into the United States Air Force. While in the Air Force, he rose to the challenges and was selected for Officer Training School, received numerous awards for his leadership and contributions to his unit and community, and was decorated for his service in support of military operations such as Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He departed military service in late 2011 at the rank of Captain and now holds the honorable title of combat veteran.

During his final assignment at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Lee continued his educational journey and earned his Master of Science in Administration degree from Central Michigan University. Also during this assignment, Lee met his wife, Kristine, and her daughter, Jade. His son, Ryan, was born during his first marriage and currently resides in California with his mother. The family was then completed with the adoption of their two dogs, Sir Duncan and Polar Bear.

Contact Lee Ray:

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