Thursday, August 24, 2017

#GIVEAWAY Interview with Gregory Randall - The Cherry Pickers

I'm excited to introduce you to Gregory Randall author of The Cherry Pickers. Read on, learn a little about his novel then enter for a chance to win a copy sponsored by Randall's publicity firm Author/Guide. Details below.

ISBN-13: 9780998708300
Publisher: Windsor Hill Publishing
Release Date: 02-18-2017
Length: 354pp
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound

Gregory C. Randall weaves a tale of secrets in northern Michigan during that hot and stormy summer. With the constant fear of nuclear war, an exploding Middle East, and memories of World War II still fresh with flowers on soldier's graves; a fourteen year old boy realizes that he is growing up. In Howie Smith's world of primal forests, orderly orchards, and Lake Michigan; he learns about life and begins to understand death. A crazy aunt, a dying uncle, and the unyielding pressure to bring in the demanding crop of cherries, Howie is forced to realize there is more to life than baseball. Randall unveils, during this brief summer, a family's fears and triumphs. He explores a region of America left apart from the chaos of the world. It is a place of needed yet unwanted migrant pickers, backwoods people who must live off the land, and the grand lake that encloses them all. But Howie discovers it is also a realm of wonders.

The Giveaway is for one print copy of
The Cherry Pickers US ONLY
Please Use Rafflecopter form below to enter
Good Luck!

Gregory hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell my readers about The Cherry Pickers.
The Cherry Pickers is about a family faced with the massive changes that overtake America in the mid-1950s. The story focuses on the summer of 1956 in Michigan, where fourteen-year-old Howie Smith, realizes that there is more to life than baseball. His life is about family, insanity, dysfunction, and a gay uncle he loves but refuses to understand. It is about the contradictions of religion and culture. The story is about family secrets, cultural isolation, and love. It is about WWII and the effects of that war, ten years later, that still reverberate through the soul and heartland of America. 

I have tried to tell a story of a boy and his brother, Bill, who are growing up during a time when the world never heard of smartphones, gaming, and the internet. Where everyday the family sits down for dinner, and where grandparents are there to watch and care for their children. It is a story about a father challenged by the social changes demanded by his job, and its impact on those he loves. And it is about the secrets and taboos of families; secrets that include alcohol abuse and homosexuality. And importantly, it is about farming and economics – a crop of cherries that control every aspect of the family’s lives.
We all live in many worlds: our homes, our families, our jobs, and our outside friends and the surrounding political world. Each demands something of us, The Cherry Pickers is about those worlds—both physical and imagined—and how a young man begins to learn to cope with them.

According to your bio you are a landscape architect by trade.
When did the writing bug bite you?
I am still a licensed and practicing landscape architect, and during the last few years I’ve designed parks, housing communities, and roof top gardens. In fact it was my experience in urban and community design that led me to my first book, America’s Original GI Town, Park Forest, Illinois. This book, published in 2000 by Johns Hopkins University Press, was my introduction to writing and publishing. While marginally successful as an academic history of American city planning (and still in print and ebook from Windsor Hill Publishing), I found that I enjoyed the whole process of writing stories. I don’t write a book or a novel, I tell a story. Every story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Inside the story is a complete world, populated by my characters that live in my landscape; in many ways is similar to city planning. I have the luxury of building my own worlds. Kind of cool, don’t you think?

 The bug has been there since my college days back in the turbulent 1960s. I did the usual bad poetry and short stories, even a few disgusting limericks. But it wasn’t until the work on GI Town was I able to focus on the process. And it is a process—and the more organized you are the better the result. Every book is a learning process.

Do you still do landscape work while being a novelist?
Yes. At one time my wife and I had a large design and planning firm with more than twenty employees. We were designing residential communities across the western United States. We were successful until the Recession of 2008 when all our clients pulled back. In time I became the only employee. That was when I began to write seriously—having the time helps. There were a few odd landscape architectural projects to pay the bills, but it was the having the time that made a difference. 
My schedule is somewhat the same today; I have a few key clients who I work with. I have the fun and satisfaction of designing parks and new communities without the burden of employees and the overriding nature of small business. My business now is writing and publishing, my hobby (and a good one) is landscape architecture.

Gregory you write in multiple genres producing both stand alones and series works.
How long have you been a published author?
My first book was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2000. I published the first book in the Sharon O’Mara series in 2010 (that book took fifteen years to write or actually finish). Since 2010 I have written fifteen novels, thrillers, and mysteries. I am currently writing five different series that take place during five different periods of time. I am never bored with my writing or my characters. I was asked once how I keep them separate and apart. I fall back onto my business experience; there were times when I had more than a hundred active projects – you learn to compartmentalize.

Your bio also tells us that you often include historical events that impact the present.
That’s an interesting concept. Do you use this in both you historically set and presently set novels?Yes. The most important historical event of the last hundred years was World War II. Almost everything in the world today, socially and geopolitically, grew out of that conflagration and chaos. Seven or eight of my novels have their genesis or origin based on that tragedy. There is so much to glean. Families and the return of the soldiers, the creation of new countries and the forced relocations of people, the birth of Israel, and its world wide implications. There is so much there for writers.

As an example for Book Three in the Sharon O’Mara series, Toulouse for Death: Three men find stolen art and gold during WWII, two of the men die and one survivor uses this gold and art to start an empire; he wishes at the end of his life to return the stolen art to its original Jewish family, and hires my girl, Sharon O’Mara, to do the job—only it is not that simple.
Another of my characters is a Chicago detective in 1933, Tony Alfano. These noir stories also revolve around the Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. I have Chicago politics, the mob, and a culture very different from America today to play with. The story is a basic cops and bad guys, but with a different texture, set, and scenery.
A new, unpublished action adventure series, takes place at the end of WWII and focuses on the end of the OSS and the start of the CIA.

You and your wife own a publishing company.
Do you publish other author’s works as well as your own?
No, right now all the works we publish are mine.
However, I am under contract with Thomas & Mercer Publishing (traditional) for two contemporary thrillers with an entirely new cast of characters. I am having a ball writing them.

Gregory thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with the new novel!
Actually four novels, I am usually writing three or four at a time. That way I’m never bored or stuck with writer’s block.
And thank you, The Reading Frenzy for asking

Connect with Gregory - Website
Meet Gregory:
Gregory C. Randall was born in Traverse City, Michigan, raised in Chicago, and now, for more than forty years, makes California his home. He is a novelist and thriller writer with ten books in print and three more in production. In the fall of 2010 his first book in the Sharon O'Mara Chronicles series Land Swap For Death was published followed by Containers For Death, Toulouse For Death, 12th Man For Death, and Diamonds For Death. All are published by Windsor Hill Publishing. His new thriller series features Detective Tony Alfano in 1933 Chicago. Chicago Swing and Chicago Jazz are as noir as it gets. His literary novel, Elk River, has garnered praise and awards from the IBPA and the BIPA for his story of a youngster's coming of age and awareness in the summer in 1956 in Michigan.

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  1. So interesting! Thanks for sharing this Debbie, a completely new book and author for me so it was nice to be introduced to both. :D

  2. Thanks for this fascinating feature and giveaway. The author sounds brilliant and I share his views on WW2 being the most important, profound and meaningful event that occurred. I grew up during the 1950's so The Cherry Pickers would be a treasure for me.

    1. I'm right on board with you on everything you said traveler, I'm also a product of the 50s and 60s and agree with your statement about WWII.

  3. I really enjoy having history tied into a fictional novel because it makes it more interesting, as well as teaching us something new. This sounds like a really good novel. Hugs...

    1. i agree RO. If only our history teachers in school would have taken this approach :)

  4. This sounds like a really good story. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I do love it when a book makes the historical happenings revelant. And how cool that this latest of his work is set in Traverse City- love that area.

    Enjoyed the interview!

  6. As I grew up in those times but in a different country, it makes this book sound really interesting. Wow what a prolific author!

    1. What a fantastic conversation could be had from several different world perspectives on this time. I'd love to be in that conversation and learn how different or the same things were all across the globe.

  7. I love this time period and that its set state side. I have added this one to my list.

  8. This sounds interesting and I think it would be something that I would enjoy reading.

  9. I would love to read this thank you !!