Roy M. Griffis

Month: June 2016

I received a nice and unexpected fan letter today.

“I devoured your “By the Hands of Men” trilogy last week, and am pleased to say that my first thought was to consider how long I should wait until re-reading those three. That has not happened in a very long time.

“High praise intended for you; I’m a life-long voracious reader, with most of my books on paper. I’ll read one, and it might be decades before the same volume floats up again during cleaning or re-arranging to surprise me with a fond memory that inspires a visit.

“Double praise in that when I find a book on the kindle platform *really* good, I’ll purchase it in print. All of your efforts meet that standard.”

Those make my day.

(Oh, …

No Writing Today

No Writing Today

Just research.  In fact, as much as work as I have to put into these particular novels, one of the delights of the work is the research.  What I look for in the books I read about regular people in those time (the more obscure the better) is the telling detail, the little facts or quirks or annoyances of daily living that help make that time period feel real and relatable to anyone who’s entered my story.

The joy of research is in discovering something like this:

alcoprohibition07

A police officer stands next to a member of the “Black Legion,” an underground organization separated from the Ku Klux Klan and actively fought blacks, Jews and Catholics.

Mid-western modesty

Tends to forbid me from singing my own praises.  It’s not natural for me to tout reviews for my work.

Back in Nebraska (the Nebraska of both my youth and my imagination), understated acceptance of praise was an art form in itself, because, hell, everybody who worked the fields, everybody who had to get up before daylight to feed the animals before going to school, everybody knew the work was hard.  So when someone complimented your efforts, there had to be a touch of humility in your reply, along with a very wry acknowledgement that it was just your luck to be noticed.

“Good job getting that calf out of the well by yourself.”

“That wasn’t anything, she didn’t weigh …