What happens when a former loan officer—yet another victim of the mortgage crisis—rejects materialism and moves to a one-room cabin in the woods? In the case of H.T. McMullen, the reluctant hero of Naked and Hungry, my darkly humorous suspense novel, he finds his favorite fishing spot tainted by dangerous pollutants. When he dares to complain he finds himself the target of a murder plot. And the only woman who can save him has a dangerous secret of her own that soon catapults them both into a fight for their lives.
More media mentions:
Asheboro Native Recreates Small Town Life in a Witty and Timely Tale: Asheboro Magazine, pages 68-69, November 2011
Ashley Memory interview on “The State of Things,” WUNC, October 26, 2011
Naked and Hungry Named a Promising Debut Novel by The Library Journal, October 1, 2011
The Laurel of Asheville, September 2011
Willow Creek Rotary Club Bulletin, August 2011.
More Praise for Naked and Hungry
“Southern comedy and satire…Memory knows her territory. This book is really funny! I’ll be pleased if our unlikely environmental crusader finds himself muddling in more adventures in the future.” — Linda Brinson, Greensboro News & Record
“An entertaining and twisting first novel with a storyline pulled from today’s headlines. Bank loans gone bad, pollution for profit, unchecked law enforcement, reluctant heroes. With shades of Richard Russo, Memory’s characters are quirky and funny and often a little dangerous. And her sense of place—small town North Carolina—is vividly rendered.” — Justin Catanoso, author of My Cousin the Saint
“A motley cast of contemporary North Carolina characters who scheme, fight and love with all their Southern passion. The hero, H.T. McMullen, deals with a multitude of threats to his simple life in the woods, encountering friends and foes that could be torn out of today’s news. Propelled by laugh-aloud satire and a page-turning plot, this novel left me with hope that even good guys with a weakness for mean dogs can prevail over ignorance and corporate greed.” — Mary Lambeth Moore, author of Sleeping with Patty Hearst
“Fasten your seatbelt for a nail-biting and utterly unforgettable ride through Yatesville, N.C., which is filled with vivid, funny and well-drawn characters. Memory is an astute and witty judge of character. She has her own literary voice, and it’s wonderful, but if I had to compare, I’d say she’s a supremely enjoyable hybrid of Larry McMurtry and Carl Hiaasen.” — Randall Rigsbee, The Chatham News
“Memory’s poignant prose on the environmental crisis at hand in a southern community is dead-on. She develops her characters with humor and style, and references to local landmarks in the Triangle and southern Piedmont region of her home state add even more color. Naked and Hungry is a fun, light read that also drives home some very real issues.”–Lynne Dardenell, North Carolina land trust community
About Henry Thaddeus (H.T.) McMullen The character of H.T. and his unique philosophies are inspired by my father, the inimitable J. Gale Thomas. Like my dad, who has undergone several major life changes, H.T. is also re-inventing himself. In the wake of his divorce and the loss of his cushy banking job, H.T. has turned to a more modest career, that of a used-car salesman. His only obsession is his precious Harley-Davidson: a 2001 Road King Classic. In his second life, he has no intentions of accumulating any wealth. The conflict between H.T. and Margaret, his bossy young office manager, speaks volumes about his newfound independence. When she presses him to make some minor improvements for the sake of business (such as changing his T-shirt), he quickly chides her. “You’re forgetting that I’m not here to make money. There’s only so much success I’m willing to take on.” It’s this laissez-faire attitude that liberates him, and at the same time, makes him vulnerable to the capitalist forces closing in around him. When H.T., a man with a net worth of negative $543, refuses what amounts to a pay-off, the villains are perplexed, asking themselves: “What kind of man refuses cold, hard cash? He’s a strange ranger.” Indeed.
Other Primary Characters
- Jessica Beane, a big city lawyer-turned-environmentalist with a dangerous secret
- Earl Snipes, H.T.’s former boss at First Freedom Bank, a power-hungry baron who’s been playing fast and loose with the town’s savings for years
- Michelle (Missy) Reeves, the young F.B.I. agent who has a big promotion riding on this investigation
- Sheriff Wayne Logan, the politically minded law chief whose first loyalties are to maintaining his position
- Julio Ramirez, H.T.’s mechanic and the man who helped construct his quirky little cabin. He’s a genius with cars but his libido is racing out of control.
- Margaret Freeman, H.T.’s office manager and M.B.A. student, who much to the dismay of H.T. and Julio, is intent on turning McMullen Quality Pre-Owned Automobiles into a profitable business
- Myrtle McMullen, H.T.’s Bible-toting mother who never goes anywhere without Bermadean, her champion pygmy goat
- Roger Wolfe, D.V.M, H.T.’s childhood friend and his occasional physician
- Shortsell, or Shorty, an ornery mutt named in honor of H.T.’s failed attempt to beat the stock market. Poor Shorty cheats death only to be impounded and taken away from his owner
Ever wonder what’s happening to our small towns? In North Carolina, where urbanization is sweeping across our landscape like one of those self-propelled robo-vacs, our small towns are on the verge of extinction. If there is no tourism or large-scale industry, their main streets are a pastiche of floundering businesses or boarded-up storefronts. It’s heartbreaking, yet at the same time, quite uplifting to see how enterprising citizens abandoned by their government or long-time employers manage to keep their hometowns alive. In the case of the fictional town of Yatesville, the setting for Naked and Hungry, the major employers have all fled to Mexico in search of cheaper labor. The townspeople have resorted to some unorthodox–and occasionally illegal–means to earn a living. The town’s struggle makes for a fascinating backdrop to the novel, and one that has already inspired, you guessed it, a sequel or two.
Naked and Hungry was published by Ingalls Publishing Group in Boone, N.C. in November 2011 and is now available for purchase through your local bookstores or online booksellers.