July 27, 2021

Garrick Jones On Men Who Won't Talk About It

Garrick Jones On Men Who Won't Talk About It

Ep:094  From the outback to the opera. After a thirty year career as a professional opera singer, performing as a soloist in opera houses and in concert halls all over the world, Garrick took up a position as lecturer in music in Australia in 1999, at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, which is now part of CQUniversity. Brought up in Australia, between the bush and the beaches of the Eastern suburbs, he retired in 2015 and now lives in the tropics, writing, gardening, and finally finding time to enjoy life and to re–establish a connection with who he is  after a very busy career on the stage and as an academic.

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Transcript

Brad Shreve:

One that Justine said, show, allow to do the show. In addition, I have Garrett Jones. And he's gonna be discussing men's lives and especially gay men's lives. After traumatic events. Suspense and thriller novels. to Queer Writers of Crime featuring LGBTQ authors, a mystery. So last week I told y'all that Justene has never let me down because she's never missed a recording session still holds true. She's not here today, but this was planned far in advance. She did say since I won't be there, there was only one person I trust to fill in for me. And basically if this person did not fill in for her, it would be an interview only show today, but he is here. Hi Greg,

Gregory Ashe:

hi. Brad. Thank you for having me and thanks to Justene for that man.

Brad Shreve:

She's a fan, for those that don't know that there may be one or two you out there that never heard of Gregory Ashe he has written more books than the number of years he's been on the planet. Uh,

Gregory Ashe:

that might actually be true. I didn't think about that.

Brad Shreve:

It may be true. And what pisses me off is they're all good.

Gregory Ashe:

Thank you.

Brad Shreve:

That is just wrong.

Gregory Ashe:

That was so nice of you. Thank you.

Brad Shreve:

And there's a long list, but probably, yeah, I guess what you're most known for is the Borealis investigations. You have Hazard and Somerset series and you also have Hazard and Somerset: A Union Of Swords now Hazard and Somerset are an investigative team. Right?

Gregory Ashe:

They are. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. How is Hazard and Somerset, a union of Swords different than the original Siri.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah. no, that's a great question. And I, I have tried to find a great, uh, good, like succinct way of explaining it. So one person recommended just describing it as like seasoned 2. So if you think of the first set as season one, you know, there's these six mysteries and then there's kind of a break. We move forward in time. There's some character changes that I don't want to give away. And then season two starts like, you know, you might pick up season two of Luther or, you know, another TV show. And so, so there's staying guys, same guys, just some changes they've moved forward and they're kind of at a different place in life.

Brad Shreve:

So, like there was shuffled to new air network and made some

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah, yeah. yeah. and those execs wanted some changes. Exactly.

Brad Shreve:

And in addition to those, he and C.S. Poe have been working together on a new series. Are there two of them?

Gregory Ashe:

We have of the the books out. Yes.

Brad Shreve:

Yes, Auden O'Callaghan series. And are we expecting more?

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah. In fact, Carol and I are working on a book three right now, so hopefully, you know, it's a little bit, that's always a side project, but hopefully this year that will be out. So yeah.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. They've been working on that. Your first one was late last year and both of their fans have been absolutely giddy about the whole deal.

Gregory Ashe:

They've been real supportive. Yeah. They've been really supportive. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

And the other thing I'm going to say is Gregory is very sensitive.

Gregory Ashe:

Oh,

Brad Shreve:

a few months ago. Some of you may remember that on the podcast. I told Justene she was fired. Okay. Greg actually thought I was serious and could not believe I would do such a horrible

Gregory Ashe:

I was, so I was so upset with you, Brad. I was like, he's doing this to her. And I thought it was live. Of course it wasn't. But at the time I was like, so shocked. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

I'm not that evil. I tend to be evil at times, but

Gregory Ashe:

Afterwards I laughed really hard, but at the time I was like, oh my gosh. Yeah, that you got me with that one. And I think you got Justene I don't think she knew what was going.

Brad Shreve:

No, she seemed a bit flabbergasted

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah, that was great.

Brad Shreve:

So he's sensitive and gullible.

Gregory Ashe:

Terrible qualities in the detective. Yeah. I would not make a very good detective.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. It's a good thing. You write them rather than do

Gregory Ashe:

Right. Exactly.

Brad Shreve:

So Greg is filling in for Justene to do the book recommendation this week. And Greg, what do we have?

Gregory Ashe:

Well, yeah, thank you again for letting me come do this and thank you to Justene for, you know, Making that invitation happen. So I have for you the first book in Josh Lanyon's Secrets and Scrabble, and it's called Murder at Pirate's Cove. So, and I know, I know that you, the show for the most part, his own voices, but you, we talked about this title in advance. Cause I know some of your listeners will probably wonder, you know, about picking this title. And I just wanted to. One of the reasons that I wanted to bring this up is because I think it's such an interesting example of a genre that we don't have like a sub genre that we don't have a lot of examples of in gay mystery. And that is the cozy, the cozy mystery. Are you much of a cozy reader Brad? Do you read a lot of those.

Brad Shreve:

I have just started reading cozies.

Gregory Ashe:

And, and maybe you can fill me in if there are some that I don't know about, because I'm sure there are, I, I, you know, I don't know, in, in the gay mystery realm, but this is, this is the first one I think, in the gay mysteries genre that I have read. And it's really a lot of fun. So for people who are listening, who don't know, Cozy mystery refers to like this sub genre of mystery that is supposed to be somewhat as feel good as like a story about someone getting murdered can be right like that. It's like, usually it's mostly like maybe some quirky characters, uh, mostly likable protagonist. They're usually like settings where people want to go. So they're like, Quaint English villages or like beach side towns. And so it's like, things like that, that people might, you know, where people might want to spend some time it's kind of a getaway and, another big deal. And this is why I think it's so interesting to see kind of this sub genre emerging in gay mystery is that they typically have no on the page sex or violence or swearing. And, I know that you and Justene have talked at different points about kind of the proportion of sex and romance in, a gay mystery book. Right? Like, I mean, am I right? That's come up a few times and you guys have,

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, I probably bring it up a lot more than I should. But, um,

Gregory Ashe:

well, it's an important topic. I mean, like, yeah,

Brad Shreve:

And sometimes it's very fascinating. Michael Nava said it really well. He said when it comes to sex, who a person has sex with and how they have sex can tell you a lot about their character. So he has no problem putting in his novels because that makes sense. And having read up some of his books, I agree with him. I tend to frown upon, if it's just thrown in for the sake of being thrown. So not everybody has it, not everybody has to do a fade to black. You can have some pretty graphic sex and some really hot naughty stuff. Well, not naughty,

Gregory Ashe:

Sometimes.

Brad Shreve:

you know, as long as it still mystery, it has to be clear-cut no matter what else, it's a mystery. So erotica is fine. Romance is fine, but it has to be.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah. and I know that that is, I think that is one of the lines that gets blurred the most frequently in this genre. And I know I'm probably just inviting a lot of comments, but I mean, the idea that there are a lot. Books that market themselves, or that put themselves on the list of gay mystery for Amazon. Right. But are really much more erotica romance. And so what I think this was, to me, such an interesting, this, this book is really fun for a lot of reasons. And I'll talk more about the plot in a moment, but one of the things that I think makes this book really interesting for our genre is the question of like, well, will some of those will a good number of those readers who, are reading for. The relationship side of a story, will they, will they still read a book that doesn't have sex in it? And the answer seems to be yes, like she's done very well with this series. it's been very successful and on top, so, so in, and I think what makes it successful is that it has, um, An appealing gay protagonist who solves an interesting mystery and it's, and then it, you know, fulfills these convention to the cozy mystery. So that was, that was my reason for choosing this. And now let me tell you a little bit about the book and the plot, and then we can talk. Yeah. Do you want,

Brad Shreve:

I want to say one more thing about that. You are, it used to be. Mr. Readers were missing to readers and romance. Readers were moment romance readers as a rule. And what I like to say when somebody has to be a guest on the show is. I'm totally fine with a mystery that has romance in it, but not fine with a romance had has mystery in it. And like you said, we're starting to see a crossover, which I think is great because I tell people, you can love the Hallmark Channel, but then you can turn to the Scifi Channel and enjoy that as well. And you don't expect them to be the same thing. And unfortunately, in books that wasn't always true. Now. I kind of feel like people are getting it.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I mean, that, that quote that you gave from Michael Nava and I agree, I love his stuff. I mean, is I think really valuable, certainly not every book about a gay protagonist who is a detective needs to delve into their sex life, but it sure does tell you a lot about them, you know? And I mean, I think that it can. Intentional and purposeful, like that's a really powerful tool in writing. And so, um, yeah, so this book Okay. Is about Ellery Page. Ellery is a, he is by his, to his own knowledge. You know, it kind of by his own admission, a very, very attractive man. Who failed at being an actor, he's pretty upfront about his lack of acting chops. And he has a history where he kind of got, he had a friend who kind of wrote him parts in a series of teen horror movies. So in my mind, they're kind of like, what was that franchise called? Was it, um, not screamed, but like kind of the calm, I don't know, something like Scream or like one of those teen horror thrillers that had a bunch of sequels.

Brad Shreve:

Oh, that god there's dozens of them.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah, so he's, so he's kind of like one of those real handsome guys who get to park, but can't act as way out of a paper bag. And when that franchise dries up, he's kind of at a loss. He has, um, his life has kind of come apart because his boyfriend cheated on him. And so when his great aunt dies and she leaves him, um, ownership of a house and a. Bookstore a mystery bookstore in a small town on the coast. He decides to leave New York and he goes, to the fictional town of Pirate's Cove to kind of start his life over. And the book opens. I mean, there's really no, Like this isn't a spoiler because it's the first chapter. The book opens with some, uh, him finding a dead body in his bookstore. And so from that point on, Ellery is kind of in a race to prove that he did not, kill this person because he, he is slowly being framed for the person who was found murdered in his bookstore.

Brad Shreve:

You didn't give any way. We, we typically expect a body to show up somewhere.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah, that's right. Yes. It wouldn't be, it wouldn't be much of a murder mystery if that didn't happen. Um, but it's, uh, so it's, uh, it's a lot of fun. It has, as I was describing those cozy elements, you know, it's like, it's a small town. There's likable people. They're suspicious people. There's annoying people. You get kind of the fun of seeing someone who is really not part of that community, get in mashed in the secrets and the scandals that he, that we're all under the surface, but for him as a newcomer, we're not really visible or present yet. Um, and then meanwhile, Other things that make this book fun, like theirs, because it's, Pirate's Cove, they're having Buccaneers day. So people are wandering around and, you know, they're kind of Hollywood style pirate costumes, and, Ellory's scrambling to keep this store afloat. his bookstore, because, you know, it's the slow season. They don't have a lot of tourists right now. The police chief, who is investigating him is, um, Possibly bisexual. It's kind of left very, um, ambiguous in this book, but they seem to have some sort of spark, whether it's just a friendship or something more. And so like, there's a lot of elements that are really pleasurable about this book beyond the mystery. So, yeah. Yeah. Anyway, I decided I at Brad's recommendation cause I forgot. I looked at Justene's categories or types of recommendation, I'm going to give this a glowing recommendation because I really just thought it was an excellent polished, cozy mystery. That was also a feel good book. And so I really enjoyed it.

Brad Shreve:

Sounds good. And actually, I haven't read that one, but I've read. Um, what was her earliest ones? Aiden. English.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah, Yeah. I was going to say, yes, those are her best known. And you had her on the show, I think, right.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, and I really enjoyed that series. And you, did you say earlier that this is an own voices show?

Gregory Ashe:

Well, I said, I thought it was, I wasn't sure what you had decided I,

Brad Shreve:

No, the guests have to identify as LGBT or Q, um, but they, it, they don't necessarily have to be own voices. Um, we have a guest male guests coming up he wrote lesbian mysteries. I've had a couple of people that wrote straight mysteries.

Gregory Ashe:

the Lambda winner? I can't think of his name right now. Um, He just won this year,

Brad Shreve:

Hmm. No, I'm drawing a blank on that one.

Gregory Ashe:

know, that's okay. No, I was just curious. Okay. Well thank you for reminding me, cause I know, there was discussion about it and I just blanked when I started talking. So I couldn't remember

Brad Shreve:

And Justene, I do let her slide when it comes to the reviewers.

Gregory Ashe:

yeah, well, you know, there's a lot out there. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. Well, it's a great book. I hope people will give it a try. It's it's really a fun start to a great series.

Brad Shreve:

Well, thank you. And I really want to thank you for being a guest today. I'm

Gregory Ashe:

Thanks for having me. This was so fun.

Brad Shreve:

I'm glad Justene insisted that it be you on the show. I mean, it was really funny. I mean, she'd like, it has to be Greg.

Gregory Ashe:

Well, she has been so supportive of me just from the very beginning. She's always been so kind and encouraging. So yeah. Thank you Justene, if you're listening to this one.

Brad Shreve:

All right. Well, I have a fine bloke, Garrick Jones coming up in just a minute. We had, uh, we had a good time.

Gregory Ashe:

You've had Garrick on a couple of times, right?

Brad Shreve:

Uh, I think, yeah, I think this was the third time he,

Gregory Ashe:

yeah. you guys always have great conversations.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. Yeah.

Gregory Ashe:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

All right. Well, hang on and Garrick is coming right up.

Gregory Ashe:

Here we go.

Brad Shreve:

Okay, this is Brad. And before I get to my interview with Garrick, I need to explain something. When he recorded the interview had some problems Garrick's track came out just fine. He sounds good. My track. However, most of it, I sounded like one of the chipmunks. And while I thought you may think that's funny for all of about 30 seconds. I think that's probably when the funny would have ended. Fortunately, the transcription service I had did pick up everything I said, so there are parts where it's going to sound like I'm nowhere near Garrick. And I am reading from a script and he is answering the questions. That is exactly what I was doing. We couldn't get together to find a good time to redo the interview. And it was just too good of an interview for me not to release it. As i'm making it sound so here we go My good friend, Garrick.

Garrick Jones:

G'day there Brad.

Brad Shreve:

It's good to have you back and listen to the second or third time, right?

Garrick Jones:

This is a third time.

Brad Shreve:

It's always a pleasure to have you on. I want to ask something right off the bat. Most of your novels are written in the past. In fact, all of them are, unless I'm missing a couple. Are there any contemporary ones?

Garrick Jones:

Only one Wheelchair is the only contemporary one which written probably in 2016. I think I based it. So not exactly contemporary, but that's the closest, everything else is a pre 1960.

Brad Shreve:

And the Clyde Smith novels take place in the mid 1950s. Uh, the most recent is The Gilded Madonna. What is it about past era that interest you?

Garrick Jones:

It's less, so much about the past eras, but the familiarity with that particular period, that immediate post-war era where I grew up and there's so much unspoken about it, especially in terms of, um, the role of men in society that I felt was. really exploring, in the, in the first world war, you know, men came back from the war and they literally just didn't talk about it. Nothing happened and more or less the same thing happened in the second world war, but somehow, um, men were more. Aware of the trauma they'd been through. So I grew up surrounded by guys what I call ruin men, men, who'd not been able to escape their experiences and yet they were trying to be to cope. And I think the main difference was that after the second world war organization set up to support social organizations for return servicemen. So these guys got together and they were able to talk a bit about, they were all experiences otherwise slightly closer to the surface. And every, every single male in my family when I was growing up had served either in the first world war or the second or in both or in Korea. So it was the title. Explore that difficulty of what it was like trying to be a man that wasn't like the, the head of the family on Father Knows Best or Leave It To Beaver, but you know, that sort of archetype or father with kids and happy wife and everything, but yeah, men who really struggled. And that's also a very interesting piece of history that, uh, 1950 is extraordinary. Change, you know, everything, the new modern era where everything old was out and we had to get, get new things and there was consumerism was born and then the fight against communism, reds under the beds. It's very interesting, period.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. And I will say you really have captured that. Well, you've taken me there to understand what men were going through during that era when, during the time period where they faced horrific things. and yeah. Weren't allowed to talk about it. Weren't allowed to share their feelings about it. It was a very sad period in that sense.

Garrick Jones:

Well, it was terrible. I never found out exactly what some of my male relatives went through until more or less they're on their death beds, you know, and men in their eighties. And they eventually would start to share a bit of, I was just devastating. And to think that when I was a kid and they were being really nice to me and trying to. be adult with me, they were going through this terrible crisis inside very difficult to cope with, and that they didn't have the avenues to express themselves. And of course, society is quite different. People judged. If you were seen to be weak, then you are not a true man, basically.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, my dad served in World War II, but he didn't really, a lot of it was spent in Oklahomans in officer training. And then when he was assigned to a Naval ship, it was a repair ship. And I don't think they saw much action at all. However, I know his growing up his childhood was far from ideal, but I know no, I only know a little bit because. Like most men at that time, but he will not, he would not talk about it. He would just say, you know, I had problems when I was kid and. I don't have any issues as a result of it. I just deal with it. Well, you know what, he wasn't really dealing with it all that.

Garrick Jones:

Well, no, that's true. A lot of men talk about that. They say I'm dealing with it, but it's painted the, obviously that they're not dealing with it or they weren't, you know, they had no avenue that at least they had their friends. We have this. A particular type of male bonding in Australia, which we call mateship where men become very, very close buddies, I suppose, more than just sitting down and watching the game together. Like we see on American TV, you know, popcorn and beer, but you know, really, really very close friends. And often those very close friends who have men with whom they fought during the war. So the shared experience has carried over into civilian lives. Um, I have an American. Friend that I interviewed years ago, who served in the second world war and he didn't make contact with any of his buddies when he came home. and he carried a lot of that grief with him right throughout his life, not being able to share it, relive it. Um, I think about my great uncle, never spoke about his war experiences until he was singled out for special honor by the war museum in Australia. And I had no idea that he had been at Gallipoli the famous. You know where Anzac had been born. He'd been in the charge of B, be a shaper after that had a nervous breakdown. So they sent him off to England to recover. And when he recovered, they trained him as a pilot. So he ended up doing dogfights over the, over the German territory in the, in 1918. We had no idea about that. Any of that until almost he was dead, he kept that all to himself, extraordinary, man. And then he fought in the second world war as well.

Brad Shreve:

And that's not uncommon to hear. Kids learning sometimes after their parents died to find out what their father went through during a particular war.

Garrick Jones:

And of course the men hold it inside to try and protect their family. And yet it's the thing that the families really want to know because they want to be able to help them. That's that whole, it's that whole thing of being a bloke or a man or a mate or whatever you want to call them that we're supposed to be strong and, you know, figureheads, and that's not who we really are. We're just people like anyone.

Brad Shreve:

I know you're here to talk to about the Gilded Madonna, and we're definitely gonna talk about it, but The Boys of Bullaroo was that your first novel?

Garrick Jones:

That was the first published novel. Yes.

Brad Shreve:

Yes. Cause I knew it was the first one I had read. And I will say you captured that what we're talking about exactly here beautifully. and. I just want to say, well done. I've told you before how much I enjoyed that novel and I highly recommend it. If anybody that's interested in what we're discussing, it's still getting a huge amount of feedback. Actually, I just had a, a letter. Yes. This morning by email from, um, a reader in England. Who wrote to me and said how much they're enjoying it. So it's, it's done very well. I'm very pleased, but I want in that particular book, I wanted to take those six decades in Australia of men at war, from The Great War, right through the Vietnam war. And to explain that over those 60 years there wasn't really a period where no one didn't have a relative or lived through a period where there wasn't war. Right. You know, that there was what, 20 years between the end of the first world war at the beginning of the second and the second world war straight after that was Korean war few years after that was Vietnam. So there was that the whole century was engulfed by global conflict. And I wanted to talk about how specifically gay men changed over those period of 60 years, how their roles change and how they related to society. Gay wasn't invented in, in, you know, rainbow marches in or Stonewall in the 1960s, it's always been around. Yeah. My dad said that he had a bunkmate that one day the MPs came. and escorted him away. And, and it's because they found out he was gay or whatever term they used at that time. And he was never seen again, my dad had no idea whatever happened to him and yeah. And that was sadly too common.

Garrick Jones:

it's very interesting though, when I was doing my research for my World War II books, I discovered that, um, None of the Commonwealth countries, that's including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa ever questioned, people enlisted about their sexuality. It wasn't an issue. Issue was only really the USA that, um, started to ask people about their sexuality.

Brad Shreve:

There's a good movie. I'm going to tell you about that, but I probably should do your introduction so people know who the hell I'm talking to.

Garrick Jones:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

From the Outback to the opera after 30 year career, as a professional opera. Performing as a soloist in opera houses and in concert halls all over the world. Garrick Jones took up a position as lecturer in music in Australia in 1999 at the central Queensland Conservatorium of music, which is now part of CQ university brought up in Australia between the Bush and the beaches of the Eastern suburbs. He retired in 2015 and now lives in the tropics, writing, gardening and finally finding time to enjoy life and to reestablish a connection with who he is after a very busy career on the stage and as an academic. And regarding that, I will say you send periodically pictures of your garden and you do seem to enjoy living in the tropics.

Garrick Jones:

I do. I do.

Brad Shreve:

There is a movie and I wish I hope before we're done. I can remember the name cause I would highly recommend it to everybody, but it talks about the changes that happened in the military, in the U S military regardless. Gay men. And at the beginning of the war, they were actually welcomed. They were given jobs like working in the stores or doing performances but then all of a sudden, I don't know if it was the president or.

Garrick Jones:

Well, I can tell you how that happened. There was, there was a Boston, uh, psychiatrist called, Stack Sullivan and he was wrote a recommendation about recruitment. There had been so much that they'd lost more fighting men in the first world war due to shell shock during too nervous disposition. They had to any other being wounded or so they. When they were new, they were coming into the war. They wanted to try and find out who the ideal type of candidate was. So he wrote a paper on, ideal characteristics of candidates. And also how do identify, uh, pathologies of people who might be succumb, you know, might be sensitive or just come to. No shell shock that's type of nervous disposition. And in his recommendation he wrote, um, however, people of people of color and people with different sexual identities should not be, barred from joining up. Well know, as that went up, the chain of command, what actually happens, people saw the thing about black people. They went, ding, this is a warning bell. And so gay men got hooked into the same, uh, Category. And then they started to ask questions. I think it was 1942. They started asking questions about sexuality. There's a couple of really good books. I can't remember the title. They're in my book, bookshelf in the other room about the history of a gay America men during the second world war. Very well worth reading, Fighting proud. That's what one of them is called. Yeah. Yeah, no, no, that's wrong. wrong book sorry.

Brad Shreve:

I want to get to Clyde because I really like Clyde Smith. He was the protagonist in The Cricketer's Arms, and is also the protagonist in your latest book, the Gilded Madonna. I want to get right to what kind of man is Clyde Smith?

Garrick Jones:

Clyde Smith is one of those ruined men that I told you about, um, who his history was that he, he enlisted in 1939 and went off with the ninth, to fight in North Africa. And he was working in a covert section, um, training in a covert section to try and rescue, friendly troops and stuff like that. And he got sent to an assignment, to rescue a man who was, um, a cousin of king of Italy and gets captured and spends three years in a prisoner of war camp first under the Italians. And then under the Germans at the end. So his ex and then after the war, he fights with the partisans, um, well, towards the end of the year, and then finally comes back to Australia and joins a police force, and he's really haunted by his treatment in the prison of war camp and his experiences during the war. And it's really quite unable to. Cope with what went on in the background. So he's a very fragmented man. He's a bit, Torchy's big gruff. He, um, he covers his feelings by being hard. but there's a real soft spot of it. He's very client and giving, um, to people who deserve it. He has, he has close friendships, but he's never able to really establish a relationship until he meets Harry in the first book.

Brad Shreve:

In the first book. Clyde's life was complicated and it's complicated in the second book as well. In the first book, it seems to, it dealt a lot more with the complications, with his love life and his relationships and sexuality. like I said, he's still complicated, but he seems somewhat more settled when the book opens, love Harry in his life and the others that were involved with them in the first book, it seemed to have moved on what led you to make these changes?

Garrick Jones:

Well, I thought the thing was that, you know what it's like when you, and you fall in love for the first time in your life, it's quite different from that feeling of infatuation or thinking that you have been in love about, um, when you're younger, you know, you go through maybe meeting people and you think you're really in love with them, but when it actually happens, it does change everything. It puts everything in perspective. And Clyde has been stuffed around so badly by his long-term lover, Sam Telford. who's never wanted to commit when he finally meets Harry, he just finds this thing. So, um, such an upheaval, such a different thing of his life. He doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize it. So he maintains friendships with these other people who have been, they've been friends all along. They never been just, you know, Just sexual encounters. They've been friends and he maintains the friendships, but he becomes really devoted and focused on this new thing, which is very new to him. And that he values.

Brad Shreve:

Having talked with men that were Clyde's age in the fifties. It seems like there were two types of relationships. One were hookups, which they feared as well. As far as I was told out of fear that. I don't know if it's true in Australia, but in the United States, you never knew if you got caught, who would turn you in. So there was that risk factor and then there's the other route. There were the types like Harry, his friendships sometimes do. It hits a very sad period in many leopards.

Garrick Jones:

Yeah, it was. But in lots of look, things were quite a little bit different in Australia because we didn't have the McCarthyism, thing, in Australia as badly as you did in the U S. so the whole entrapment thing, um, didn't really start until the mid fifties. And then it got pretty well slapped down because there are a couple of cases where a policeman tried to fit up gay men in public places. And then judges actually found evidence that the placement could not have possibly seen what was going on. And because our law is run by precedent. So for laws made by a judge and says that as for example, there was a particular case, I think it was. 53 or 54. I haven't got my notes with me about that. Where a judge ruled that no longer could, uh, sole policemen provide evidence, um, of sexual misconduct. There had to be a couple of witnesses and that became a law after that, because it had been a precedent credit in court. So things were a lot, but there was, of course there's a lot of entrapment that went on after that, but it was a different type of society. What actually happened in Australia that there were certain networks of friends. Instead of going to parks and places to meet other guys. You met people socially through friends of friends or friends. And I wrote a blog about it, called the circle of friends, which is basically how it worked in the 1950s that men had a lot of acquaintances and then their acquaintances. That's how they met their sexual partners. And if they weren't monogamous, if they were men who didn't, weren't in a position to want to get. Yeah. It was quite difficult for men to live together in the 1950s unless they were related. Um, but to have long-term relationships, they lived in separate houses, but often they just had pals with whom they slept in and, and friends. I'm sure that still goes on now.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, actually I think it does. And you know what we see in male, male romance now isn't usually what happens. I think more often than not. Is, uh, two guys will hook up and have a good time, maybe a few times. And it turns into a relationship,

Garrick Jones:

Doesn't work like that. We, we all know that we all know that that doesn't happen. It does happen sometimes.

Brad Shreve:

No, no, no. It didn't happen with my first husband with my current husband. Um, actually he's the only husband I've had. We did meet online and started to get a really, really little frisky. And we just realized there's something more to this. I mean, it was instantaneously that we knew, so we kind of put it off, which is a very strange thing that gay men do. But my past two relationships, you know, it was like, let's get it on. And, and over time, a relationship developed. And that seemed to be the case in West Hollywood and in the Castro where I was during those times, it seemed to be the norm. Maybe it's not anymore. I don't know, but I doubt it's changed much.

Garrick Jones:

I think that that men sexualities can revolve around having. Having a sexual relationship. That's not emotionally based. That's just a pure physical experience with no expectations. So it's like a hookup on one, one night stand, or there's like they get together a few times and maybe the sex isn't great. And it turns into a friendship or they have a friendship that over time becomes more intimate than the sex or not all of us in the whole world have a relationship. There's a lot of men, he goes through life, just being single and having male partners every so often. Not everybody wants a relationship and sometimes people are just lucky to have one. There's a lot of single guys out there still looking

Brad Shreve:

Yes, there are in, it seems I'm focusing so much on sex in carrying the story, but in this novel, and the past novel, it's almost critical for you to understand who Clyde is and that's why I'm bringing it up quite a bit. In what other ways has Clyde changed since the Cricketer's Arms?

Garrick Jones:

I think that the main change is actually being falling in love for the first time in his life, because it makes him emotionally very vulnerable. And a lot of the things that he's been pushing down during his life come bubbling up because of that, his feelings are far more present. There's a scene. Um, in the story where he goes to visit his mate, Billy who's the only remaining close friend he had fighting in North Africa. Who's um, his solicitor who's lawyer as well. And he says, um, have you still got the name of that therapist you went to when you came back from the war? And he said, I and Billy says, you know, don't tell me, you're trying to finally bury those demons in Clyde says, well, I just get feelings that are out of control. They come out of the blue and I can no longer really cope with them. And the Billy says to him that that's because you're in love for the first time in your life. And these emotions are much are bubbling up without you being able to hide them down anymore. You so much more emotionally sensitive. And of course, Clyde goes into therapy. Right at the end of the book, he starts having therapy. And book three, which I'm writing at the moment starts off with him in a therapy session, sort of linked them together.

Brad Shreve:

Well, you're, you're giving away some stuff here.

Garrick Jones:

Yeah. But it's, it's no biggie in terms of the plot.

Brad Shreve:

I know you well enough to know you write from the heart, rather than writing to what the readers want. Given many people's expectations today, did you get any flack over Clyde being a somewhat promiscuous man in the first novel?

Garrick Jones:

What's really interesting that people say promiscuous because he grew up with one guy, would they experimented together. That's how he discovered sexuality. He got together with Sam, um, where with the guys in the army, which a lot of happens, a lot of straight guys, you know, they hooked up with men because it was, that was just what happened. Like all men together, like prisons, anywhere else, where there's a male population. And then, when he came back to work as a policeman, that's when he met Sam. Um, and he had. One other guy he saw on the time. And I suppose that's 4 men over the period of, you know, 15, 16 years. I don't think that's particularly promiscuous. I think you only call that promiscuous if you see it through the eyes of a romance reader where men are not allowed to sleep with more than one person,

Brad Shreve:

Based on my past. I certainly hope that's not considered promiscuous. And I'm sorry, I used it for lack of a better term. But I do think others would see that. As promiscuous, as you said, So tonight, I just wondered if you got any feedback.

Garrick Jones:

I think that's just a misunderstanding and basically male sexuality. I mean, uh, if guys were honest about the number of women that they slept with, I think that you'd probably find that. You would probably call that promiscuous if you're making the same comparison. And there's a lot of gay men who sleep with a whole lot more than that than Claude did. I mean, not too many years ago, there were bath houses all over the place and pickup places. It wouldn't be unusual for a male to sleep with two or three partners a week, let alone a year. Then straight men go to brothels. They might not call that as a sexual experience. They may sleep with five or six girls before they meet the right girl that they want to marry. I've it's a double standard. It makes me a bit annoyed to be quite honest.

Brad Shreve:

Very true. Now let's get to the novel. First of all, what is the Gilded Madonna?

Garrick Jones:

The gilded Madonna is, a statue of Saint Sarah. And she's covered in gilt foil and sent to, Clyde in the mail as a clue to one of the parts of the murder, mystery, serial killer mysteries. I won't say more about that because we don't want to give the game away, but it figures very strongly to symbol throughout the book of, how the case is solved. And it's linked. It's, it's the linking, it's actually three different crimes that all actually come together. And they're all based on real life events in Australia, in the 1950s and 1960s. And they all come together as being part of one crime. So I don't want to give too much away, but it's a clue. This statue. This statue sent to Clyde..

Brad Shreve:

Is there more to the story that you can tell us or is that just going to give too much away?

Garrick Jones:

I can tell you about the background of the three different stories? I'll tell you about the original stories. That's one of the, um, the three main stories are all based on real life events. One is on, based on a man called William McDonald. Um, who was a serial murderer of gay men in the early 1960s. He was known as the mutualization murderer in Sydney because he used to slash means throats in public toilets and cut off their private parts and take them home and, or stuffed them in their mouth. And this one of these murders happened. A hundred yards from the school I was attending while I was at high school. So we were all evacuated when the body was found everything. So that always stuck in my mind. The second, um case was about the kidnapping of a young boy, exactly my own age in the 1950s, um, after his parents had won the first big lottery in Australia and he was kidnapped and held for ransom and they later found his body had been killed two days after being kidnapped, but they looked for him for months while the kidnapper kept on sending ransom demands. And the third case was the expose of the abusive young boys in homes all over Australia during the 1950s, both physical and sexual abuse. So all of these three case. Three separate things I'll linked into one case, and it's about a murderer, a revenge murder, a serial killer who wants Clyde to suffer. So there's a personal involvement in the whole thing.

Brad Shreve:

Well, certainly it doesn't sound like three cheerful stories.

Garrick Jones:

Well, not many crimes are cheerful, Brad.

Brad Shreve:

These sound fascinating. Actually, I think you told me about the, the one across from your school before. I think you told me that, uh, in conversation once. Uh, so that was horrific, but the whole thing sounds gruesome and very enticing from a crime reader's perspective.

Garrick Jones:

Yeah. Well, I managed to back build a three stories into, um, somebody who wants to not only humiliate Clyde, but to punish him. And this guy is, let's say unstable. And eventually wants to kill Clyde and have somebody witnessed the killing, I'll say no more

Brad Shreve:

Say no more,

Garrick Jones:

But most of the, most of the feedback I've I've I've had from him is people getting to the last, you know, 50 or so. So pages, trying to read it while they're in the bath or in bed, trying to get to the end. It's fun at what happens.

Brad Shreve:

Research. I've had many guests on who do a lot of research for their novels. Usually it's people who write period pieces for most of them. It's a passion for you. It's a downright obsession. And I want to give you an example, you posted on Facebook one time. I don't know where it was. It may have been on your personal account. You were trying to find a timetable on a train route between two small towns in Australia during the 1950s. Did you ever find it?

Garrick Jones:

Yes I did. And that stuff, my whole story, because I found out that the train line between, between the two towns of being disconnected about our 15 years before the book was set. So, um, this is a current book I'm working on and so I couldn't use it, but it's very interesting when I was writing Australia's Son, I may have spoken to you about it, which is a story of the opera singer. It's about a murder mystery. Theater in 1902 I found it easier to find the tram timetable between the center of city and one of the outlying suburbs and the price of the ticket. I found that far more, easier to find out than what was showing in the theater at the time. So there, there, there are obsessives. There are people out here who obsess obsessed. Things like timetables, especially when it comes to trams and trains and aircraft and ships. Yeah. Look, I am, I'm a real obsessive with, because I tell you, I had a review on my world war two book, um, which drove me crazy. I thought to myself, you know, please read the blurb that this is historical fiction. It's not a textbook on world war two. Uh, in which this reviewer wrote, this couldn't have happened on this date because somebody else X was somewhere else. So I thought, is that all you've got to write about, you know, What about that. It's a story, it's a fictional historical novel. It's not a textbook. They will write people do write if they find mistakes, they'll, they'll let you know. Don't worry. I'm sure. You know,

Brad Shreve:

Yes, I do know, but when I saw the question, I thought maybe I can help him out because it's the kind of thing I obsess over too. So I did some research and I did find that train line doesn't exist at all anymore. And I thought, well, who's going to know in the answer is you would.

Garrick Jones:

Well, not only I would know, but so many other people would know. Interesting would you, and I've talked about this before. I get more emails than I get reviews. For some reason, people are loathe to leave reviews, but I've got 90 emails in my inbox at the moment, not waiting to be answered, but have been answered about. People writing to me and saying, I've forgotten all about that. Thanks for reminding me yet. I remember that happening. So I think that to make the story true, it's gotta be true in your mind. That's why I never write about places I've never been to. Haven't visited or haven't lived in. Um, I may have mentioned, I read a book. I don't want to be careful here. A Canadian writer wrote a book. Two guys hooking up on a sheep ranch in Australia. At the moment I saw sheep ranch. You know what I, my God, this is going to be awful. And it was, it was had written by somebody who'd never been here. Didn't know how we speak in how we talk, how we related to each other. Certainly didn't know how a sheep station worked. So, yeah, I think you've gotta be careful when you're writing stuff. I mean, if you don't care and you sell books, it doesn't really matter. And I suppose, but some of the, some of us who really do care about getting every I dotted and every T crossed.

Brad Shreve:

You brought up something that interests me, you published eight books, which to many people would not be a big deal actually for some that would not be very many, but the differences, all of yours are good. They're top quality. They're top quality. How are you able to do eight books in three years and have them be such good novels?

Garrick Jones:

Well, if I actually wrote eight books in three years. I'd be very, very happy. But I started writing when I retired from work in 2013, so that's nearly eight years ago. and I started. I maybe wrote four or five books. And I had no idea if they were any good or not. And then, I met a fellow writer in a forum who said he was really interested in reading historical fiction set during world war two. And I said, would you like to have a look at my book? I think it's, I don't know. I don't know if it's any good or not. And he got back to me within four days. So this is amazing. Do something with it. And I thought there was some ulterior motive behind it. I couldn't quite believe that this guy was so, um, glowing. And in fact, he's quite a well-known published author himself. So I submitted it, um, to a publishing house and they said, yes, please. Very much. What else have you got? And that's when I started. So I had a backlog. I had a backlog of five books. I normally write two books a year, I suppose. I go through. extensive editing processes to me that the, the, the quality has got to be good of the, the way the words are used and how it's, how it looks on the page. So I have, um, uh, a developmental edit and then a copy edit, and then a proofreading just to make sure it's all right. Sometimes the editors can be really tough, but in the end they always. Uh, and I th I encourage anybody who's writing to make sure that they have a professional editor to get your book the best it possibly can be.

Brad Shreve:

So the answer is you did not start eight books in three years. It's been a longer period of time.

Garrick Jones:

No, no, no. That's to get there. Yeah. Long that's version 11 of that. So that's how that's how many revisions it's gone through, because you do find things when you're writing you go, you start reading you go, oh, no, that couldn't possibly have happened because that bomber didn't exist at that air base at that particular time. And you go, ah, I've got to get that fixed up because somebody will write about it, brought to you about it, especially military. I mean, people are crazy about it.

Brad Shreve:

It's interesting to me and I'm not going to critique any because I haven't read all of everybody's books. Uh, many of them I have not read. Some people, their editing processes, only beta readers read their books and then they publish it. And then you have somebody like yourself who has done 11 revisions. It's probably somewhere in the middle Garrick.

Garrick Jones:

As you know, um, and I've, uh, minded admittedly, so. Oh, C D as a result of PTSD. So I, I really, if it's not right, I'm one of those people who check the gas after I've left the house to make a show of checked it off, I've turned it off. I sometimes drive back to the house, make sure I've closed the door. I have all my pens lined up in colors on my desk. I can show you everything is completely color-coordinated. I keep. Journals. I can't help it. That's just a psychological condition and you learn to live with it, but it does make you a bit obsessive about, um, writing about getting things. Right. And I was brought up quite severely, but if it's not perfect, don't do it. That's a very, very hard standard to live up to in your whole life. Um, but I do try and, uh, I do want it to be right. And if people will point out a mistake, it makes me angry with myself. It doesn't make me angry with them.

Brad Shreve:

And I hope you don't mind me saying so, as you know, Mitch, the main character in my novels has PTSD and I have interviewed men who have served in Afghanistan. But I've also bounced some things off of you to say, did I get this right? And you've been very helpful. So thank you for that. So we're kind of back to research and I want to ask you one question when you're researching, such as this timetable, at what point do you throw up your hands and just say, I'm just going to have to make it up.

Garrick Jones:

I never do that. I change it. I change it to something that, that does work.

Brad Shreve:

Let me give you an example and it's some advice you gave me and I'm going to somewhat contradict you here. The Hollywood sign has fallen apart and been rebuilt many times. It was a originally a billboard and was only supposed to last 18 months. It was built. And the H fell. And there was a story that up on the hill, the reason the H fell is that the caretaker got drunk and drove his truck down the hill, running over the H. Others have insisted. No, that's not true. It rotted, it fell down on its own. And I asked you, I said, I can't find the true answer. Where do I go? I can't find the right answer. And you and I both agreed. Let's go with the fun answer, the drunk driver driving over the H, it's a lot more fun. And since I can't figure out which one's, which then I went with the one, the one that is the most fun. Now I didn't end up cutting it out of the novel because it really didn't. But I think sometimes that's what you have to do.

Garrick Jones:

Yeah. But you see, you couldn't change the Hollywood sign because that was part of your whole plot revolved around that. Whereas I can change the train line to somewhere else because it's not integral to the plot. And that's why when I say, if I can't get it to work, I change it. Um, I've just done a writing this third Clyde Smith book. I just had to change a whole lot of things because I thought this, although I want this to work, it doesn't because this particular item was not in the shape until about three years after the period, I thought no one will know, but I'll know. So I changed the object. But see you couldn't have done that with the Hollywood sign, you couldn't go, doesn't matter about that whether it's been run over, rotted, or fallen down, because it has to be the Hollywood sign, doesn't it? That can't be another sign. Cause your book wouldn't have worked. Yes. I know exactly what letters fell down at different parts throughout its history and had to be propped up. And that sort of thing. It just, that H was the one in question as to how it actually fell down. And I liked the drunk story. Well, that's a great story.

Brad Shreve:

It's a lot more fun than it just fallen down. I did notice that food was a very large part of this novel, that much larger than it was in the past novel.

Garrick Jones:

Yup. Yeah. And I think that's because he, Clyde uses food preparation and eating as a social activity to drive forward conversation and plot because you know what it's like when you're sitting down, you have a dinner with your table, with your family, you start to talk about things that aren't about, you know, like I went shopping today, you start to talk about real issues and sometimes he uses that to drive his interrogations or his thought processes or to, to, uh, tweak out feedback from his friends while they're preparing food and eating. and it's also a big social thing among continental mediterranean people that social activity over preparing and eating food. It used to be mum cooking, preparing all the food in the kitchen by herself and dad sitting in the reading, a pipe, reading the paper and having a smoke while the kids played with toys. And then mum brings the food in and serve said, but you know, the Mediterraneans don't do that. It's everybody in together. And I wanted to bring that in it, it helps drive the narrative as well, many parts that I'm preparing food and eating and discussing cases while they're eating.

Brad Shreve:

Are you ready for awkward questions authors get?

Garrick Jones:

Yep.

Brad Shreve:

All right, so hold on. You may have been one of the authors that gave me a, some of these odd questions. Maybe you'll get, oh my God. I don't know. We'll see. Hold on and we'll spin the wheel. Okay. I think I've got a good one for you. Why are Queer books necessary?

Garrick Jones:

Well, that's like saying, why are books about women necessary or why books about children and necessary? I mean most Queer people don't define themselves by their queerness. They it's just who they are. They're human beings and they have, um, their, their love interests lie with people the same sex. It doesn't define who they are. People don't go I'm, I'm a queer person. They go, Hey, I'm a man or I'm a woman and my partner, my love interest. My fascination is for people of the other sex. I think that there's, we just need to, um, I mean, if you'd asked, uh, 50 years ago, let's say in the United States, um, why are books about black people necessary? I'm sure you'd have got an answer that went well. They're not really. but things have changed. And I think we're just part of normal society. I think that my particular type of Queer books are about really about people who are just gay. It's not who that, what defines them or, uh, they don't revolve around gay communities. It's just like the normal builders and laborers and policeman and postman and guys who dig the streets, who just happened to have a male partner rather than the female. They don't see themselves as anything particularly different. Yeah, I find it interesting. I had people say, well, why don't you write more mainstream novels that you may be, you'd make more money if you wrote mainstream novels.

Brad Shreve:

And in my response has been, you know, over the years, I've loved mysteries. I've loved Sue Grafton. I loved Lawrence block. I'd loved Robert B. Parker. They were wonderful novels, but to find mystery set where the protagonists were like me and they don't understand that.

Garrick Jones:

Yeah, it's sort of like, it's sort of like saying that there were no gay detectives in the whole wide world and there were no gay policemen in the whole wide world, but there are, and they have their lives and their stories and their lives and their stories are just as interesting as their heterosexual counterparts. So why, why not?

Brad Shreve:

I'm with you there?

Garrick Jones:

I think we should, we start to know the more we normalize. We've never had the same level of, um, division that you have in the United States with, with race. but the more that we normalize that sort of thing, the less, impactful, it will be in society in general. This go that if I see a colored person in Australia and go, oh wow, there's a colored person. Or I need to keep away from that person I do in there. It's good that there's a person. So the same with writing books, when we read books about, um, I have had a couple of people write to me and said, have you ever thought about writing straight books? And I wrote back, I said, no. Well, there's 50 gazillion writers who write books about straight people. And there's a whole history of thousands of years of written about state people that, you know, you can refer to. Why not read something about who people from my culture, my group by subgroup or whatever, Good for you. That is a good answer. A long answer, but hopefully

Brad Shreve:

it was good answer. I liked it. So I hate to close it out. But. Is Garrick Jones and his most recent novel is the Gilded Madonna, which is the second in the Clyde Smith mystery. When can we expect number three?

Garrick Jones:

probably this time next year. I'm just about finished writing it. Now I've probably got about 20,000 words to go. And then, uh, April probably. Need to sit for a few months before I go back and revisit it. And then the editing process will probably out, I'll probably, you know, April, may next year, probably. the next book out is extra extortion, which is the sequel to the 7th of December, which is the second book in my world war two series. And then in January I have, a Victorian era a spy novel. Oh, Set in 1955 at the end of the Crimean war in London. And that will be out then that's another adventure mystery adventure story.

Brad Shreve:

That sounds interesting.

Garrick Jones:

There's no murder in it, but it is a crime book. Basically.

Brad Shreve:

There doesn't always have to be a body.

Garrick Jones:

No, sometimes it's more interesting when they, when you can't find one, isn't it. And you think there is one

Brad Shreve:

Well, Garrick, it's always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you.

Garrick Jones:

Thank you, Brad. I've enjoyed myself immensley.