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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Character Interview with Rafael Bishop Soto

Welcome to DAY 5 of my 10-day Count Down to the Release of The Un-Familiar: A Tale of Cats and Gods.  On each day for days 1-9, I'm posting an interview with one of the characters. For the listing of when and who will be in each interview, check HERE.

I'm also giving away one FREE BOOK each day until the July 1 release. To win, you have to enter the drawing. To enter, you have to go to my website and send me a message via the CONTACT page.

REMEMBER: Each day is a new contest, so you have to stop by and enter for a chance to win every day.

Congratulations to the winners to date: Connie Denison, Bob Sanchez, Jennifer Killby, and Pat Burke.

The Hubby drawing the name of today's winner from the hat.
Congratulations, Pat!
Introducing Rafael Bishop Soto

Rafael Bishop Soto is a newcomer to the trilogy's cast. He was mentioned as Eddie's "other partner" (non-work) in Ye Gods!, but we never met him. Rafi is an incredibly talented artist whose work has been shown in all the best galleries in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, LA, and, of course, Puerto Rico. Rafi has emerged from a tragic and traumatic past, to become a compassionate and caring man. In Ye Gods!, Señora Milagros explained that the god of Mercy takes the form of  a dog "because dogs represent the best of what humans could be...[showing] loyalty, love, perfect forgiveness." Rafi comes the closest of anyone I know to embodying those divine dogly qualities. Here he comes now...

LMH: Welcome, Rafi, it's a pleasure to have you here. Readers following these interviews have already heard quite a bit about you from Kiki. She's smitten.

Rafi: I just adore Kiki. Isn't she a hoot? Some crazy mix of Albert Einstein meets Dora the Explorer meets Elle Woods.


LMH: Now that's funny. I'd never thought of her that way, but it fits. I love that you two become such good friends, but let's talk about you. Yesterday, when I spoke with Eddie, he was reluctant to talk about your relationship.

Rafi: Oh, that's Eddie playing macho-cop. He really does do that whole man's-man thing well, doesn't he? You can understand why he has to, right? I mean, a gay guy, and a cop? In Puerto Rico? To get any respect, just to survive, he's always had to prove that he's tough enough. As a kid, and even at the police academy, the other kids would try to beat up on him. But Eddie's a big fella. His father was intent on toughening him up, so Eddie became a great boxer. You should see him. Talk about float like a butterfly! But he doesn't so much sting like a bee, it's more like knock you over like a bulldozer. Anyway, now, as an adult, it's the media and the politicians like former-Mayor Reyes that pick on him. He's had to grow a thick skin and set some firm boundaries between his personal and professional life. Really, a lot of that machismo is to keep everyone from finding out he's a big old softie.


LMH: You had a hard time growing up, too. Care to tell us about it? About your parents?

Rafi (He holds turns his arms palms up in front of me. White welts rise up across the wrists): It was hard enough having to retell all that in the book, so I'd rather not go through it again. I can tell you a bit about my parents and that might help you to understand why they did what they did. My father was a good ole boy from Mississippi, stationed here at Ramey Air Force Base, that's where he met my mother. He was southern Baptist and she was, of course, Catholic. That led to a stormy enough marriage. Both families opposed it---his because he was marrying a "brown-skinned foreign heathen" and hers because she was marrying a non-Catholic gringo. When it became clear that, as my father put it, there was something "funny" about me, his parents--I've never met that set of grands. They refused to have anything to do with me or my mother--said that I was God's revenge for the marriage. I was their worst nightmare come true, a gay, raised-Catholic, Latino in the family. Now, my mother's mother, mi abuelita--I called her Yaya--she came around. She did her best to take care of me and protect me. She was as pious as they come, mind you. Going to church every day, twice on Sunday, but she believed whatever God made, however he made it, was perfect, including me, just the way I am.


LMH: Have you reconciled with your parents?

Rafi: Yes. Maybe. No, not really. I've seen them and spoken with them, but I won't reconcile with them. I'm still working on the forgiveness part. I have a hard time with that because I know forgiveness doesn't mean accepting or condoning, but sometimes it feels that way. But, that's my issue to deal with, not yours. Let's talk about something a bit more cheerful, shall we?


LMH: OK, how about animals? You have quite a way with them, don't you?

Rafi:  I do! No one was more surprised by that than me. The only pet I ever had growing up was a goldfish. They inspired me. I was never more prolific than when they were all in the house. I've got a show coming up soon with my post-hurricane paintings of all the animals. I call it, "They Came Two-by-Two." They didn't, really. They came in droves.


LMH: Congratulations! Our time is up now. I know everyone will love meeting you in The Un-Familiar, and look forward to seeing even more of you ahead.  

Rafi: I'm so excited to see what's in store for me in the final book of the trilogy: Ye Goddess: A Tale of Girls and Gods so you had better go get writing!

LMH: Thank you all for stopping by! Now head over to my website to enter for your chance to win a FREE BOOK! You have your choice of books (Marina Melee, Ye Gods! or The Un-Familiar) in print or electronic versions. But you have to register each day to be entered anew each day!

OK, folks! You know the drill: head on over to my website and send me a message via the Contacts page to be entered into today's drawing for a free book! Today's winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

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