Interview with John P. Davis

We recently sat down with podcaster John P. Davis for an interview about our new novel, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. The full transcript is below.


JOHN P. DAVIS: Good afternoon, Preston and Anne. What a pleasure sitting on your deck, Preston, overlooking Hamilton Lake. I just finished reading your book…what a treasure! Why don’t I start by asking you….Preston, how and when did you decide to develop the idea for your book?

PRESTON HOWARD: November 8, 2016 was the date that made me first think about our book, the day when Donald Trump was elected. After the topsy turvy Republican campaign and his election, I knew that he was fodder for a book; I just didn’t realize how much of a target he would be for insult and comical relief.

DAVIS: You stressed a number of times in your book the enormous divide between the right and the left, and how it’s affecting our country.

PRESTON: Thanks for asking this question, John P. I felt it was important to talk about how our country is so split, with people spewing hateful thoughts back and forth toward each other. Folks now simply disagree and are disagreeable at the same time. I believe the president exacerbates this situation with his words and actions.

DAVIS: How did you arrive at the decision to have the character of Preston Howard fixate on the president of the United States in this book?

PRESTON: The president’s behavior, his obvious mendacity, his threat to our country.

DAVIS: And then why did you bring in the three corrupt Austin police detectives and their tense, exciting trial?

PRESTON: Well, in a noir crime thriller, there has to be a red herring, so I decided that our readers would have to guess who, in the end, would get killed.

DAVIS: Aren’t you worried, Preston, that with your incendiary words about the president, the Secret Service will show up at your house and haul you down for an interrogation?

PRESTON: Actually, the Secret Service showed up in my book, a hilarious scene. I would look forward to a visit from them for real; it would sell more books!

DAVIS: Anne, how did you become involved in writing the book?

ANNE HOWARD: My Dad and I discussed the novel, and we decided that a counterpoint, someone who could play off his story, was needed. Also, my character becomes embroiled in his plot, along with two other people.

DAVIS: Have you ever written a novel before, Anne?

ANNE: I am a software developer and writer for an AI company, a fact that is brought out in the book, several times with sarcastic comments from my Dad. But this is my first stab at writing a novel.

DAVIS: A personal question, Anne. During the development of the book, did your Dad’s….raunchiness and playing around with multiple women, ever bother you? If you’re uncomfortable answering it, I will understand.

ANNE: No problem answering. First off, my Dad has always been a little bit of a naughty fellow, but he’s never been uncouth to the point of turning off either his friends or me. As far as his attraction to multiple women, I’ll just say that the book is fiction; that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. (Anne laughs)

DAVIS: Preston, unlike your first novel The Sheltering Palms, you have a love interest in this one. Why did you insert this theme into your book, and was there a prototype for the character known as George?

PRESTON: (halts for a few moments, then snickers) I felt George would spice up the plot a bit, and she did for sure. As far as the prototype for her, I actually met her, just like in the book, at a gym. I used her physical features as the construct for her character, and then added a whole lot of pizazz to her character, none of which applies to her…I think. Fortunately, the real George enjoyed the book and still speaks to me.

DAVIS: Anything else either of you wish to add?

ANNE: This experience of working with my Dad has been one of the great pleasures of my life. Hopefully, we can take another stab at a novel again in the future.

PRESTON: Back to your question about the divide in our country between the left and right. I felt compelled to write about the gulf between our friends and citizens and how it is destroying our country. People have stopped talking except with like-minded friends in their own echo chamber. Some of my good friends have sadly disowned me over this election; and I’m sure several of my Facebook friends will unfriend me after reading the book. Very sad state of affairs.

DAVIS: Thank you, Preston and Anne Howard. This is John P. Davis signing off. Listeners, please tune into my podcast later today.

New Release: Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Greetings friends. Many of you have been asking when my next novel is being published. I had promised that it would be out during the summer, but between traveling and too many days on my boat in Hamilton Lake in Hot Springs, it has taken longer than anticipated. Retirement has way too many distractions!

See here it is: a crime thriller titled Justice Delayed is Justice Denied, available now from Amazon and Apple Books. It is co-authored along with my daughter Anne Howard. It can be purchased on either a Kindle or iPad for $4+ in digital form, or a hard copy for $18+

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied, out now!

My alter-ego Presto Howard has retired, now divorced, and enjoys pinot noir way too much. He obsesses about our president and also three corrupt police officers who he saved from a capital murder and possible execution. He has murder-lust on his mind; he just can’t decide whether he wants to go after the president or the three police officers. Co-author Anne Howard despairs over her father’s off-kilter behavior. A love interest spices up the novel, maybe a little R-rated, so the book should be hidden from the kiddies!

Book signing

Fellow Hot Springs author Ashley Fontainne and I will hold a book signing at the 1890 Williams House B&B in Hot Springs on November 7th. We hope to see you there!

Interview with Literarily Speaking

Take a look at an interview I did recently with Dorothy Thompson at Literarily Speaking: A Conversation with Preston Howard, Author of The Sheltering Palms.

She asked some great questions. I’ve included some of the Q/A below, but check out the link above for the full interview.

Dorothy:
Welcome, Preston! So excited about your new book, The Sheltering Palms. Critics are calling your book “The best book I’ve ever read about lawyers, cops, and unions.” Can you tell us a little about the main characters in your book?

Preston: The protagonist, Preston Howard, is a labor attorney who has just faced prostate cancer and a forced retirement. He begins reflecting over his tumultuous, fascinating life, wondering whether it has any value outside of his narrow world representing police officers and unions. His bourbon-swilling, piano-playing, brilliant grandfather Buster weaves in and out of this autobiographical fiction novel, first mentoring the younger Preston in matters of politics, religion, and the quest for knowledge, and later saving Preston’s life…maybe.

Dorothy:
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Preston: There are two pivotal moments in the book. The first one takes place early in Preston’s legal career, when he is uncertain about whether union work is the right choice for his career. He represents a female activist police officer in Oak Lawn, Illinois, who is terminated for union activity. Preston dramatically saves her job and goes on to become a renowned attorney across the country. The second pivotal moment takes place when Preston becomes so despondent over this career that he takes off for the hinterlands. He winds up in a church in Bend, Oregon, where Buster suddenly appears playing the organ—-more than ten years after his death, and admonishes Preston for his behavior and attitude.

Dorothy:
What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Preston: What else then play first base for the New York Giants, before that bastard Horace Stoneham shipped the team off to San Francisco? There were of course obstacles to that goal. First, Whitey Lockman played first base, and I’m certain that Whitey would have fought me tooth and nail to hold on to his spot. Second, while my ability to play baseball allowed me to make it to the college level, I had an anemic arm, a lack of power and as I said in the book, ran like Buster’s grand piano sat on my back.

Dorothy:
Do your novels carry a message?

Preston: This novel is my first stab at fiction, and yes, there is definitely a message. People often stumble in their lives; in Preston’s case, alcohol and womanizing cause his temporary downfall. The important point in the book: when someone gets down and almost out, they can get back up off the floor, lead a productive life, and redeem themselves. This ultimate point capsulizes the story about Preston Howard.

Interesting Facts about “The Sheltering Palms”

Originally posted on Blogging Authors ≫

The Sheltering Palms was my first endeavor into fiction writing, so there has been some trepidation about the book’s reception. The novel was definitely a labor of love.

I spent well over forty years working around lawyers, cops and unions, and there was simply too much rich material to pass up writing a story about these fascinating subjects. And my childhood around a bourbon-swilling, piano-playing grandfather and other eccentric family characters offered further material for some terrific tales about these oddballs. When I combined my childhood along with my career and developed a coherent story, the result was a satisfying fictional autobiography that hopefully you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

During my career, I wrote and published three professional books about police unions, and figured: how hard could it be to write a novel? Boy, was I deluded! A novel is a completely different process, requiring a creativity and word usage that at first puzzled me. But I finally got into the groove and the result is a book that hopefully you will find to be funny, eerie, sardonic and a little bit, no make that a whole lot, lewd.

The protagonist, that would be yours truly, represented some truly heroic police officers and some of the lowest of the low, but all of them were compelling characters. Readers might be shocked to look behind the curtain and see what really happens in police departments, but you will definitely enjoy the ride.

I especially hope that you enjoy the character named Buster, who in the book was an attorney in a small east Tennessee burg who mentored me during my formative years. Buster definitely enjoyed his bourbon way too much, had more information floating around in his head than ten people combined, could spin the funniest tales, write the funniest letters, and had the most peculiar ideas about religion and politicians. He was the mold for what has been termed “country lawyer.”

When I finished writing this book, I gave a huge sigh of relief, figuring my work was now complete. What did I know? Several of my colleagues told me I needed a professional editor. I said, “I took English in college, so why the hell do I need an editor.” But I followed their advice and brought on ace editor Jeff LaFerney, not realizing that he was going to push me through an English 101 boot camp and point out the many grammatical errors I had made in the writing process. Because of Jeff’s efforts, the final project is so much improved. I can never thank him enough for his efforts.

I have so enjoyed writing this novel that a sequel is now in the works. It should be completed sometime next spring. Good reading!

Order your copy of The Sheltering Palms

The Sheltering Palms: Released!

The big day finally arrived as The Sheltering Palms was launched, up and running! The first review, a good one, came out on Amazon shortly after the book was available for purchase:

Preston Howard’s debut novel, The Sheltering Palms, had me hooked right from the start. His golden storytelling prowess regales the reader with his trials and tribulations as a Texas labor lawyer and about his life. The anecdotes chronicling his family and acquaintances might be spun out of gold or from his fertile imagination, but captures the reader’s attention in any case. This reader was drawn into his web of fascinating tales. I look forward to his next book.

Order your copy of The Sheltering Palms

It’s available now from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Check it out and let me know what you think!