I would like to thank the wonderful, Dorien Grey, for taking the time to talk to us about his writing and life. In a few days check out my review for The Hired Man here or my current review for The Butcher’s Son here There is also a giveaway now, so read on for that.
From the Publisher:
In the continuing saga of Dick Hardesty, gay PI, he is hired to protect the interests of a gay/bisexual escort service when a client is murdered. Lovers of murder mysteries will find the complex twists and turns fascinating. This book breaks new ground by being the first mystery novel to make bisexuality an issue in solving a crime.
Hello Dorien and welcome to Prism Book Alliance. I hope my probing questions teach us a bit about the author behind, The Dick Hardesty Mysteries and scores more wonderful books.
So back to the beginning. When did you start writing seriously and what was your first published work?
First, let me say thanks for the opportunity to talk with you and PBA. I’ve been making up stories since I was a child (my first “novel”, a classic Western shoot-em-up was dictated to my mother before I learned to write. I still remember the last sentence: “And the cowboys yelled ‘Whoopeee’ and everything else.” My first published book was in 1973 and was coincidentally also a western (a long story). I rewrote it years later as Calico. which is available in print, e-book, and audiobook.
Is there a story behind your nom de plume or is it simply a fan statement?
My pen name is one of the many little inside games I play with myself. In Oscar Wilde’s classic The Picture of Dorian Gray, the protagonist stays young and beautiful while his picture grows older and uglier. I consider myself a mirror image of this situation: my mind and heart remain young (albeit I was never beautiful) while my body suffers the fate of Dorian’s picture. And I deliberately, of course, misspelled both “Dorian” and “Gray.”
I am new to your work, as I have mentioned, and I am now hooked. Can you tell me have you written a story directly about ‘Stonewall’ and the ‘riots’, I loved the references in The Butcher’s Son? If you haven’t do you think you ever would?
No, I’ve not written anything specific about the riots and doubt I would simply because I was not there, though I was of course alive at the time and was, like all gays and lesbians, forever changed by them.
We all appreciate your love of the aesthetics, concerning male ballet dancers and the Ballet. Do you remember your first visit to a performance? What were your first thoughts. Mine was, predictably, Nutcracker followed a little later by Stravinsky’s Firebird…and I couldn’t believe how loud the landings of the dancers were!
Ah, I must make a confession here. I have never seen a traditional ballet. I did, however, see Matthew Bourne’s absolutely stunning “Swan Lake”…with males dancing all the swan parts… no fewer than 10 times. Another long story behind this, too, involving one of the greatest epiphanies of my life.
How long from the start of your writing career were you able to live just from your writing and what was your career until that time?
Frankly I do not know of a single writer (and I know many) who make enough from their writing to actually, fully support themselves. There may be a few, but I certainly am not among their number. It’s a matter of considerable frustration for me, you can be sure.
Although many things have changed in the way LGBTQ people are treated now there is still a long way to go. Is there any factor that you thought would never change that has, and contrarily something that still hasn’t changed you thought would?
In my heart I knew from my teenage years that things would change, and that there would come a day when being gay was fully accepted, and it is rapidly becoming so, though there is a long way to go. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was probably one of the major advancements for the gay community. Having been in the military at a time when being gay could get you summarily and instantly thrown out of the service with a “dishonourable” discharge, I knew even then it would…it had to…change. But it came far too late for tens of thousands of American men and women who wanted only to serve their country like any other American. I fear I am somewhat bitter at times over the fact that those who yelled and screamed and ranted that the repeal of DODT would destroy the military and the entire nation have not said a single word since the repeal, and the attitude is now a yawn and a “yeah, okay, so what else is new?”
Are you married/partnered?
Alas, no. One of my greatest regrets, and I have aged myself out of the possibility. But I still think the most wonderful word in the English language is “we.”
During any travels do you have a favourite place you have visited? In addition, is there anywhere you would like to visit especially and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to go to Europe every year for the past three years, and will be going again this year. I love to travel. My first trip to Europe was courtesy of the US Navy, and the happiest week of my entire 2-years in service took place in Cannes, France, when I met up with two French young men, and two Germans. The Frenchmen, Marc and Michel, did not speak German, and the Germans, Yoachim and Gunter, did not speak French, but all spoke a little English. I detail the week in my book A World Ago: A Navy Man’s Letters Home, 1954-1956. Much of the week was spent on a battered old quay we found in Cannes, which I’ve never forgotten. When I returned to Europe after 55 years, I made it a point to visit Cannes and found the same quay, still there after all these years. I can’t possibly describe the sensation of standing there, looking down at the same waters I looked down at 55 years earlier, or the emotions that swept over me…and still do when I recall that moment.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I write at my computer in my bedroom/office, and probably spend 10 hours a day on the computer…alas, far more of them devoted to trying to convince people to give my books a try than to actually writing on my work I progress
Have you ever been to any of the conventions such as GRL or UKMeet and if not would you?
I am not and never have been a “hale fellow, well met” type. While I love attention, I am often excruciatingly embarrassed by it. When surrounded by other writers, my insecurities overwhelm me (“Oh, I just got word that my current book is in its third printing…but only 25,000 copies…” etc.). Also, I am extremely self-conscious about my appearance (ego, I know) and the fact that a bout with tongue cancer in 2003 has left me with a speech impediment which makes it difficult for many people to understand me easily.
Thank you again for your time Dorien, I hope my questions weren’t too personal, but you are an intriguing person as well as a very good wordsmith.
And I thank you again, for the chance to introduce myself to your followers. I do hope they might visit my website (www.doriengrey.com), and might “friend” me on Facebook.
About the Author
Background of Dorien Grey
If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, I qualify. I am both Dorien Grey, who writes books and lives in a world free of the constraints of reality, and Roger Margason, regular human being who lives a regular, though not uninteresting life. While Dorien didn’t officially come into existence until 2000, Roger has been around much longer. Two years into college, I left to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Washing out after a year, I spent the rest of my brief military career on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean at the height of the cold war. The journal I kept of this time in the military, in the form of letters home, honed my writing skills and provided me with a wealth of experiences to draw from in my future writing. These letters are now available in print, ebook, and soon-to-be audiobook as A World Ago: a Navy Man’s Letters Home, 1954-1956. Returning to Northern Illinois University after service, I graduated with a B.A. in English, and embarked on a series of jobs in the editing field. While working for a Los Angeles publishing house, I was instrumental in establishing a division exclusively for the publication of gay paperbacks and magazines, of which I became editor, moving on to edit a leading L.A. based international gay men’s magazine.
But for a greater insight into the “real person” behind Dorien Grey, the curious are invited to check out my website (http://www.doriengrey.com), where you can read the first chapter of any or all of my books for free, and my various blogs: Dorien Grey and Me (http://www.doriengreyandme.com) and A Life in Photos (http://www.doriengreyphotolife.blogspot.com) among them.
There is nothing I love more than hearing from a reader…or potential reader. If you’d like to contact me, just drop me a note at email@example.com.
To read the Dick Hardesty books in order: The Butcher’s Son, The 9th Man, The Bar Watcher, The Hired Man, The Good Cop, The Bottle Ghosts, The Dirt Peddler, The Role Players, The Popsicle Tree, The Paper Mirror, The Dream Ender, The Angel Singers, The Secret Keeper, The Peripheral Son, The Serpent’s Tongue.
The John series begins with His Name Is John followed by Aaron’s Wait, Caesar’s Fall and Dante’s Circle.
Other “stand alone” books include: Short Circuits: A Life in Blogs, A World Ago: A Navy Man’s Letters Home, 1954-1956, and Dreams of a Calico Mouse.
Dorien Grey has kindly offered ebook of The Hired Man or The Butcher’s Son to 1 lucky commenter.
Contest ends 25th April @ 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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