Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Life Can Certainly Be A Pickle

from Leigh Goff 

An Interview with Jenna Ashby from Koush Hollow 

What is your full name? 
Technically it’s Jennifer Ashby, but don’t call me Jennifer. I prefer Jenna (most of the time) and my middle name is Crossland, which is my mother’s maiden name, bleh, however, I have a feeling that's not really what my middle name is… 

  Tell us about your parents.  Do I have to? They divorced when I was little and I moved with my dad from Koush Hollow outside of New Orleans to Atlanta. I was fifteen when my dad died tragically last year, and I had to move back to live with my mother, Rayna. She’s rich and ambitious and she pretty much has my whole life planned out for me, which is so not going to happen. One day she wants me to take over her exclusive social club, the Diamonds & Pearls, but I’m an eco-warrior at heart and have no intention of hanging out with those snobby women, attending balls, or wearing pearls. Needless to say, life with Rayna is going to be a challenge—mostly for her. 

  Do you have any distinguishing features?  Besides my cool short, blonde spikes of hair, I have these interesting red marks on my hands. They’re crescent moon-shaped and my dad always told me they mark me as special, but Rayna hates them. And ever since I’ve returned to Koush Hollow, they’ve been acting up. I think it has something to do with being near the bayou, but I’m not sure why.

What is your greatest regret? Not spending more time with my dad before he died. I’ve really struggled to deal with him being gone, too. Rayna wants me to forget about him and focus on being perfect, but I’m not perfect. I’ve made bad choices. I keep making mistakes because of other traumatic events that keep sending me whirling. I regret the mistakes, but that’s what being a teenager is all about. Being sixteen means making mistakes. No one’s perfect. We all have regrets and maybe other kids can learn from my mistakes.

Who is the most important person in your life? 
My dad was the most important, but since I’ve arrived in Koush Hollow, I’ve met someone who makes me question what’s going on in the world that Rayna wants to paint as perfect. His name is Hayden and he’s more like me than any of the Pearls. He irritates me most of the time, but he’s smart and cares about Lake Pontchartrain and the bayous around us, which aren’t as healthy as they used to be. He blames the nuclear power plant where Rayna works, but she’s a former marine biologist. There’s no way she would do anything to hurt the environment, right?

Who are your friends? I had the coolest friends back in Atlanta. We would cosplay together and have the best times. I even had a long-distance boyfriend who I detest now. In Koush Hollow, I hang out with Lauren and Abigail. They’re Pearls and on Rayna’s approved list, but they are starting to grow on me. They want me to become a Pearl, too, so I can meet with the mysterious Marais sisters and have access to their stupid beauty treatments. What they don’t know is that I’ve already met them. Lauren keeps hinting at the price I’ll have to pay to be a Pearl. We’ll see what happens.

 What is your favorite food? The one thing I love about being back in New Orleans is the food! It’s all freaking amazing. A perfect day would begin with beignets for breakfast, a Muffuletta for lunch, shrimp and grits for dinner, bread pudding with bourbon sauce for dessert, and Zapp’s Voodoo chips to snack on while I binge on Netflix shows.


Speaking of Voodoo, are the Marais sisters Voodoo priestesses? Yes, and they’ve got all kinds of mystical stuff going on at their place on the bayou. I’ve seen them painted as skeletons, dancing, chanting, and tossing fish into a bonfire. There’s Mama Ismay, she’s the oldest, although they all look so young, it’s hard to tell. Lisette is sexy, Destine is into health food, and they all tell me I remind them of their late sister Chelsea. I don’t know how that’s possible, but they’re so beautiful beyond their appearance, I like the comparison.


  Here's a favorite appetizer or snack straight from the bayou. The unique flavor of Zapp's Voodoo potato chips, which are made in Louisiana, features salt and vinegar with a smoky BBQ sweetness and spicy, jalapeno kick. These chips are so good, they’ll taste even better on an oven-fried pickle.

Voodoo Chip Fried Pickles

2 cups sliced dill pickles drained and patted dry

2 eggs

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups crushed Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips

Cajun sauce for dipping

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp. horseradish

4 tsp. ketchup

½ tsp. Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to broil on high. Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and then whisk in the flour.

Place crushed Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips in a shallow dish. Dip each pickle slice in the egg mixture, then dredge in the crushed potato chips.

Place coated pickles on a rack set above a baking sheet and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Serve right out of the oven with Cajun sauce.  

As Koush Hollow is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. Here's a little to intrigue you.
Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters... is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.


Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

 Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. 

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


  1. Great character interview and tasty-looking snack, Leigh! Cheers for sharing and all the best with your new paranormal read! Woohoo!

    1. You’re a sweetheart, Sharon! Thank you.

  2. Thank you for hosting me, Sloane!!!

  3. I love fried pickle chips. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. I have. Question about the recipe: are we spraying the baking pan or the pickle chips with non-stick coating? That's unclear to me. Thanks.

  5. Great question Catherine. You are spraying the baking sheet. Enjoy the recipe!