It is such a pleasure to have you visit us at The Delighted Reader. I appreciate that you have taken the time out to share something about yourself and your books.
First of all, I’m a curious (nosey) type so I like to know a little something about the person behind the stories. Would you please share a little of your background (maybe include something fun your bio on a book dust jacket doesn’t tell) and how you came to be a published writer?
I came to writing in a round-about way. I needed something to read on the treadmill at the gym and discovered gay romance. Because what better way is there to make an hour pass that to read sex? Eventually I decided to try writing. The thing is I didn’t tell anyone, not even Dominic, what I was doing until the manuscript was half done.
What has been the best thing about being a writer? The writing accolade that means the most to you?
Accolades don’t mean nearly as much as a note from a reader telling me how a story has touched them. That’s the greatest accolade there is.
What was the biggest compliment or the oddest thing a fan ever said/wrote to you?
I got a note from an older man telling me he read to his blind partner and the last story they shared was Love Means… No Shame.
As one of the Authors After Dark featured authors who will be attending the convention in Savannah this year, is this your first time participating in AAD? If yes, to what do you look forward or plan to do while you’re there? If no, what was a highlight for you last year?
This is my third year at AAD and I love the convention. I have so much fun meeting and talking to other writers and readers. Each night at dinner, I sit at a different table and get to meet a new group of people. It’s simply amazing. (Shari – I remember sitting with you last year and I had a blast talking with you!)
Now I’d like to turn my attention to your latest book and its series.
I have visited South Dakota a number of times, but I also rely on outside research. The details need to be right.
The stories both address some pretty intense issues. What made you choose to write about them?
I write what I feel strongly about and with these stories I got on my soap box just a bit. The history and plight of Native Americans is an issue I feel passionate about. Their history is one of pride, broken promises, and cultural theft. It needs to be made right.
I was struck by the scenes when Bryce sits by the fire and makes the decision to let Percy go and later when Paytah shares his special place with Bryce. Was there a scene in the story that you found most captivating and for what reason?
The scene where Bryce meets Paytah always sticks in my mind. Paytah had little left in his life except his pride, and he refuses to help Bryce because he tries to pay for his purchases with a 20 dollar bill. Paytah does not take twenties because the bills have Andrew Jackson’s portrait on them.
I found most of the characters very loveable and Kiya is a personal favorite. Out of all the characters, which is your favorite and why? Which character was the hardest to write and why?
Paytah was a favorite for me. He’s stoic, suspicious, loyal, proud, and wounded deeply. Mixing all of those attributes and developing a character that was both likable, and in the end, willing to love deeply and completely, was a challenge. I grew quite attached to him.
Bryce’s reaction to ‘communing with nature’ and the camping trip had me cracking up. Are you one who enjoys camping? If so, do you have a favorite place or an experience to relate?
When I was growing up, we used to camp a lot. We often went to Ludington State Park in Michigan and at night, we used to shine the raccoons that searched the garbage cans at night. Once we were looking for raccoons and found a bear cub. Needless to say, we got out of there fast.
And finally, do you have a current or future writing project you wish to share about with our readers? Is there anything else you wish to share?
I have a number of stories in process. I keep the Coming Soon page of my web site www.andrewgreybooks.com up to date. However with that said the next installment in The Good Fight series, The Fight for Identity releases May 10.
Will Martin’s racist father, Kevin, hates Native Americans and wants to keep them off his property, never mind that part of the ranch land is sacred ground for the Sioux. When they request access for prayer, Kevin refuses—but Will doesn’t share his father’s views. Ever since he first saw Takoda Red Bird during one of the Sioux sacred ceremonies, Will has been fascinated. He grants the tribe access.
Takoda defies Kevin on a regular basis. He often sneaks to the sacred site on the rancher’s land for prayer and knows Will has seen him there. When, out of spite, Kevin places the land up for auction, Takoda knows it is time for action and bands together with Will to stop the sale.
In the fight that follows, Will gets more than he expected. He starts out helping the tribe preserve their identity… and ends up finding his own.
Thanks again for visiting! Have a wonderful time in Savannah at Authors After Dark.
Bryce Morton needs a change of scenery. Since his partner’s death a year ago, he’s become withdrawn and quiet, so his friends, Jerry Lincoln and Akecheta (John) Black Raven, convince him to go camping with them on a Sioux reservation. Though he’s not immediately sure he’s done the right thing, Bryce becomes more interested when he meets Paytah, the man who owns the reservation’s trading post.
Paytah Stillwater’s life is filled with hurt, and sometimes the only thing he has left is pride. After being abused as a child and disbelieved when he spoke up, he has withdrawn into himself—but he can never truly put his past behind him, because the source of his pain still lives on the reservation. Paytah is proud of his heritage and careful with his heart, but when Bryce commits a selfless act of kindness for one of the reservation’s children, the walls around Paytah’s heart begin to melt.
Bryce and Paytah each fight the pain within them. When Paytah’s abuser sets his sights on one of the reservation youngsters, Bryce and Payton must set their individual fights aside. Finding a way to stop the abuser unites them to fight their way forward—together.
“Dang,” Jerry said from next to him, turning toward John. “I forgot to pick up hot dog buns for the campout.”
“I can run to the trading post in a few minutes,” John said, tapping Jerry’s hand. “They’ll probably have some, and if not, I brought a loaf of bread.” Both Mato and Ichante groaned together. Obviously eating hot dogs on bread was not popular.
Bryce pushed back his chair. “I’ll go in to pick them up if someone can give me directions,” he offered. He was anxious to get away for a little while.
“I can go,” John said, but Bryce was already asking for the keys, and Jerry handed them to him.
“Turn right out of the driveway and go to the end of the road. Turn left, and just before you reach the reservation center, the trading post is on the left,” Jerry told him, and John pressed some bills into his hand. Bryce tried to give them back, but a stern look from his friend stopped him.
“I’ll be back soon,” Bryce said, shoving the bills into his pocket. He heard the kids ask to come with him, but Jerry quietly hushed them as Bryce left the house. He walked to the van and climbed into the driver’s seat.
The directions Jerry had given him were easy to follow, and soon he was parked in front of what looked like a small, rustic grocery store. There was no one else in the lot, which Bryce thought a bit strange, but he slammed the van door, then walked to the front door and pulled it open.
Inside, the first thing he noticed was a complete lack of air-conditioning, though a number of ceiling fans stirred the air. Bryce looked around and realized this was much more than just a grocery store. It also appeared to act as post office, lending library, tackle and bait shop, as well as hardware store. And judging by the scent, a bakery.
The man behind the counter with long black hair and a stern expression that made him initially appear much older looked up from the magazine he was reading and met Bryce’s gaze. Bryce shivered in response. Never in his life had he seen such a hard look from a complete stranger. “Afternoon,” Bryce said, his mouth a little dry.
The man nodded but said nothing. However, his gaze never left Bryce. Figuring the best course of action was to get what he needed and get out, Bryce walked up and down the aisles, picking up hot dog buns, a case of the soda he liked, and some fruit snacks for the kids. He also couldn’t help following his nose to the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts he’d been smelling since he entered. “What do you want?” the man said, the look in his eyes not softening one bit. “You some tourist here to see the injuns?” he asked mockingly.
“No. I’m a guest of the Black Ravens,” Bryce said, and the man’s look softened slightly. “I’m also helping to teach computer classes this weekend at the community center.” Bryce forced a smile, because, after all, there was no need to meet rudeness with rudeness. He placed his purchases on the counter. “I’d also like a dozen of the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts.”
The man got out a bag and counted out twelve doughnuts for him before ringing everything up. “That’ll be $19.90,” he said.
Bryce pulled out his wallet and handed the man a twenty. He didn’t make any move to take it, and Bryce moved the bill closer. “Is something wrong?” Bryce asked, looking at the bill to make sure it was okay.
“We don’t take those here,” the man said.
“Take what?” Bryce asked in complete confusion.
“Bills with the Indian Hater on them. If you don’t have something else, you can go.” He actually sat down, so Bryce fished around in his wallet, but all he had were twenties. Then he remembered the money John had given him and pulled two tens from his pocket and placed them on the counter.
“Is that better?” Bryce asked, and the man took the bills and handed Bryce a dime without touching his hand. He bagged up the groceries and gave them to Bryce without a word. Then he sat back down and started reading his magazine again.
“You’re welcome,” Bryce said, turning away from the counter, as pissed off as he could ever remember being.
Bryce carried his purchases out of the store. As he opened the door, he turned back to the man and saw him staring at him. Bryce met his gaze as sort of a challenge, and then stepped outside. After placing the bag on the seat, Bryce retraced his route and drove back to Kiya’s. Leaving the bag in the van for later, he went inside. It appeared that no one had moved in the time he’d been gone. Though more food had been devoured, the din of overlapping conversations hadn’t lessened one bit.
“How did it go?” Jerry asked, and Bryce shrugged and rolled his eyes.
“You met Paytah Stillwater, didn’t you?” John asked.
“If you mean the surliest, crankiest person on earth, then yeah,” Bryce said sitting back down. “He made me pay with tens,” Bryce said.
“That’s why I gave them to you,” John said as he shifted his gaze to his mother.
“There are many in the Native American communities who hate Andrew Jackson. They consider him the devil and a killer of our people. He stole land from native groups, including the ones that had helped him win his famous battles, and he was also responsible for the Trail of Tears, so many of our people avoid using twenty-dollar bills. The ATMs on the reservation generally only dispense tens.”
“I didn’t know. He looked at me like I’d killed his relatives,” Bryce said, still a bit shaken up.
Kiya shook her head. “Paytah is a different sort of man. He’s fiercely protective of our heritage and he tends to be a little militant about it.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Andrew is giving away on e-copy of either The Good Fight or The Fight Within to one lucky commenter. To enter, leave a comment by April 19, 2013 11:59 PM EDT.
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