2020 Character Interview
Beverley: What’s your name?
Billy: I’m Billy Redsky, one of the heroes from Real Warriors, the fourth and final book in the When We Were Young series.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Billy: On the rez. Thunder Mountain First Nation. It’s a stone’s throw from Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Billy: Grunge, baby. Grunge. Well, that’s when the series starts. Now we’re in post-grunge because Real Warriors is set in 1999.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Billy: My author gave me a father I never knew who left when I was two. He’s in prison now serving about ten or fifteen years for armed robbery. Knowing him, he was probably coked out or drunk when he pulled that job. My Mom’s a total lush who’s trying to kick booze. My older brother’s a loser who deals drugs and is affiliated with an outlaw motorcycle gang. Because my fam are such losers, I got put into foster care. But it’s not too shabby. I’m bunking with my dream guy. The super-sexy and super-cool René Oshawee, the hottest guy on the rez, heck, in the city of Thunder Bay.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Billy: Just like it says in the blurb: To live as a true “out” couple with René, and finally have a real brother in my older brother Hoyt.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Billy: For starters, René’s too scared to come out, so we’re still hiding in his closet. As for Hoyt, he has no intentions of giving up his life of crime.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Billy: I sure do, but I won’t say what I’m up to, or how I came up with the idea. You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Billy: I dig root beer, motocross, art, nature, and wildlife.
Blurb for Real Warriors:
The courage of a warrior is a must on their new path, or they’ll never grasp their happily ever after.
Just when eighteen-year-old Billy Redsky believes he’s holding his happily ever after in the palm of his hand, he must practice what he’s learned in ceremony to face two more tests—share with the world his love for René, and let go of the past.
But that’s not so easy. René is terrified of exposing their secret to anyone else but his family. As for Billy’s brother, he has no intention of changing his criminal ways.
Only a miracle can help Billy reach his final destination on the red road his Ojibway ancestors once walked. For his dream to come true, he must look deep inside of himself and trust the creator he follows.
Excerpt from Real Warriors:
As they drew closer to Parry Sound, a sea of green welcomed them. The time on the clock stereo was closing in on twelve-thirty.
René turned down the volume that had been blasting. He’d humored Billy by letting him play the Goo Goo Dolls. “We gotta stop somewhere. I need to use the john, and my taste buds are dying for a ciggie.”
“Sure. I need another coffee.” Over an hour ago, Billy had polished off his large cup of joe.
“It’ll be about another two hours before we reach Sudbury.” René checked the dashboard. “Fuel’s still good. We can fill up again there. This U-Haul is gonna really eat up the stuff once we get deep into the Shield.”
“I get to drive once we’re out of Sudbury, right?”
“Yeah. I know you’re itching to try out some highway cruising.” René softly chuckled.
“You read my mind.” Billy reached over and locked their fingers together, since René didn’t have to shift gears yet.
They bypassed Parry Sound and made their pit stop at a mom-and-pop operation about fifteen minutes out. The place was locally owned by an Ojibway couple who told them the reserve was nearby.
“You fellas coming from the city? Which rez you from?” The man’s baseball cap was slung on backward.
“Yep. T-O. We’re from Thunder Mountain. It’s a hop, skip, and a jump from Thunder Bay.” Billy leaned against the truck.
“You fellas are a long way from home. Heading back for the summer?” The sun shone down on the man’s many wrinkles and bronzed skin.
“Heading home permanently.” The area was peaceful. Tons of trees and far from the craziness of the city.
“Permanently? Not gonna finish your education?” The old man frowned.
“Yeah. In Thunder Bay. My boyfriend’s starting his second year of university in the fall.”
“Eh? Boyfriend?” The old man’s eyebrows thrust upward and then relaxed.
René emerged from the store. He carried two more cups of coffee and another bag of food. They’d eaten their muffins. Billy’s stomach grumbled for lunch.
“What’cha got there? By the way, name’s Quentin.”
René approached them. “René Oshawee. That’s my buddy, Billy.”
The hunger growling in Billy’s stomach vanished.
“Buddy?” Quentin squinted his wrinkled eyes. “I thought you said you were boyfriends?”
The sunglasses hid René’s gaze, but the pink on his cheeks was a knock to Billy’s gut. “Oh…uh…yeah. Boyfriends.”
“We should go.” Billy threw open the door to the truck.
“Geez, I was gonna say I know a few Oshawees. Ah, I’ll let you fellas move along. You got a lot of driving ahead of you.” Quentin waved. “Be safe now.”
Billy got in the passenger side.
René set the coffee cups in the holders and placed the bag on the console between them.
They left the gas station.
René kept griping and re-gripping the steering wheel. “I’m sorry.” His voice was quiet.
“Nothing to be sorry about. I…” Did Billy understand? He was trying his best to, but moments like this, he could use some advice from René’s wise uncle, Ned Atatise.
Buy Links for Real Warriors:
eXtasy Books: https://www.extasybooks.com/Real-Warriors
Social Media Links:
Web Site: https://maggieblackbird.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maggieblackbirdauthor/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Blackbird/e/B07KQP1FFG
eXtasy Books Author Page: https://www.extasybooks.com/maggie-blackbird/