Today, I’ll be concluding my three-part interview series with characters from 3, which releases October 15, 2012, from Dreamspinner Press. I interviewed Justin Jimenez and Spencer Harrison in Parts 1 and 2 of the series. Those interviews can be found here and here.
Joining me today is struggling photographer Dutch Keller.
Dutch, I’m glad you were able to make it to the interview today.
Dutch: Thanks, buddy. I appreciated being asked, but then I read the interviews you did with Justin and Spencer, and I thought about canceling.
Really? I thought the interviews went rather well.
Dutch: Oh, they did. You just asked some pretty tough questions. You have me kinda worried about what you’re gonna ask me.
Good. I was concerned I offended either Justin or Spencer.
Dutch: (laughing) Not at all. They’re big boys, although not as big as me (winks).
Why do I get the feeling you’re a bit of a flirt?
Dutch: I guess I kinda am, but it’s all in good fun.
Does that get you in trouble? Being such a big flirt?
Dutch: Hmmm, I’ve never really thought about it. I’m not much of a thinker. I’m not saying I’m stupid or anything, but I act mostly on impulse, with what feels good or right to me, whether it is or not. So, yeah, I guess it can get me in trouble. I’m a lot like Yosemite Sam in that way, at least that’s what my dad used to say.
Yosemite Sam? The angry little guy from Bugs Bunny with the red hair and a mustache?
Dutch: That’s the one.
Would you mind elaborating on that, please?
Dutch: Well, you remember how stubborn Yosemite Sam was? If he wanted to do something or go somewhere, he kept on trying to do it. No matter what Bugs did to stop him. That’s kind of the way I live. I charge through life with both barrels ready. Life’s short after all, so I try not to waste time weighing pros and cons on whether I should or shouldn’t do something. If I want to, I usually just do it. If not, then I don’t.
If I remember correctly, Yosemite Sam also possessed a pretty hot temper. Are you similar in that way too?
Dutch: Not really. I’m an easy going guy. I’m not quick to anger or anything like Sam was, but if someone’s intent on poking this bear, they better be prepared to deal with the consequences. Just because I may not want to fight doesn’t mean I won’t.
You mentioned earlier that your dad compared you to Yosemite Sam, and I couldn’t help but see the smile in your eyes when you mentioned him. Were you two close?
Dutch: Oh, man, my dad was my best friend. I could always count on him to be there for me. As a kid, we always hung out together, just tossing the football or eating pizza. Those were good times. He also had no trouble showing me affection. Most dads are kinda distant with their sons. To try and teach them how to be a man, I guess. But not my dad, and I’m a better man for it. If I needed a hug, I got it, and he just knew I needed it. When I told him I was gay, I was worried how my big, man’s man dad would react, but he didn’t care. Didn’t miss one beat. He just nodded his head and laughed, saying how he should’ve bought me a Playgirl instead of a Playboy. He was my rock, you know? When he died, it was hard on us all.
He sounds like a great man, and it’s easy to see that his death still affects you deeply. What about the rest of your family? Are you all close?
Dutch: Yeah, we are. My mom recently passed away too, so it’s just me and my sister Heidi and my crazy niece and nephew. But they’re still living in Boston, and I’m here in San Antonio. It’s tough being so far away from my family, but Heidi and I talk at least twice a week, if not more.
It’s very obvious that your family dynamics differ greatly from Justin and Spencer’s. Spencer barely speaks to his family, and Justin hasn’t spoken to his father in years. But you seem to come from a loving family, who knew exactly how to show love and to remain together.
Dutch: Yeah. Justin and Spencer both had pretty tough childhoods. I feel for them sometimes.
Okay then, here’s my first tough question. You ready?
Dutch: Do I have a choice?
Not really. You come from such a loving family, with two parents who obviously loved each other and provided a good role model for a loving relationship, yet your love life is a veritable disaster. You became involved with Justin, who was for all intents and purposes a married man. How does someone who comes from such a functioning household fall into such dysfunctional relationships?
I meant no offense, but you have to admit it’s a valid question.
Dutch: It is, but ouch all the same. I don’t know if I have an answer that’ll satisfy you, or anyone else. It’s true that I’ve gotten into some pretty bad relationships, and Justin wasn’t the first. Well, he’s the first “married” man, as you would say, that I’ve become involved with, but I approach my love life the same way I do everything else. Like Yosemite Sam. I wasn’t thinking about consequences or anything else. It just felt right, and I went with it. I don’t want anyone to think I intentionally set out to hurt anyone because that’s so far from the truth. I know that people did get hurt, and that’s part of what the book is about. Dealing with that guilt and what the consequences of my actions helped do to Justin and Spencer’s relationship. As well as to me.
I assume you’re referring to the fact that you “sought solace in a bottle” as the book’s blurb mentions?
Dutch: Yeah. Now that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, and I paid the price for that too, but I won’t go into too much detail because that’ll be revealing more than I’m supposed to.
I understand. As the final question, the book blurb also mentions that “friendship, passion, and betrayal” are key components to the journey you, Justin, and Spencer undertake. With such a complicated dynamic already, can there really be friendship amidst the passion and betrayal that causes such heartache?
Dutch: Wow. Let me see if I can answer that without once again giving too much away. The three of us made some pretty big mistakes, individually as well as collectively. Those mistakes, or betrayals, rocked all of our worlds. We each paid a price for them, but I think that the reader will see three very flawed man, trying to survive the crapstorm that their lives have become. Granted, it’s one of their own making, but who hasn’t made a mistake? Who hasn’t done something they shouldn’t have and then tried to make it better? Whether it’s made better or not, we all try and that attempt comes from a good place, whether it’s motivated by love or friendship. The three of us aren’t any different really from anyone else. Justin, Spencer, and I are just trying to fix what we are all responsible for breaking. Whether we fix it or not, well, that I can’t say.
Dutch, thank you for stopping by. It’s been enlightening, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better. I wish you, Justin, and Spencer the best, and I also hope that there is happiness in your futures.
*blog post image from FreeDigitalPhotos.com by imagerymajestic