A warm welcome to author David Connor joining us today to talk about new release with E.F Mulder “Truth, Pride , Victory, Love”.
“Truth, Pride, Victory, Love” blog post by David Connor
The older Reed Watson gets, the more curious he becomes about his DNA. He’s been told he’s not white enough. He’s been told he’s not black enough. Would knowing his true heritage change what’s in his heart? Would it make him different in any way?
Creating this aspect of “Truth, Pride, Victory, Love” didn’t materialize purely from imagination. Reed first hears “What are you supposed to be?” from one of his classmates when making a family tree. Whenever this question was posed to me, I always answered British, at least at first, because that’s what my father said he was. I imagined tea and crumpets, The Queen, and Big Ben, though he actually came from Barbados in the British West Indies. Even as I got older and realized my dad had not come to the US from Europe, I never really asked the kind of questions I now wish I would have. As I type this in December in New York, where the current temperature is in the teens with a wind chill below zero and the ground is covered with white, “Why the heck did you and Grandma move from a Caribbean island to Upstate New York?” comes to mind. I faked a British accent often as a child (and sometimes still do as an adult, quite honestly.) I wonder now if mastering a Caribbean one would have come more naturally.
Though I wasn’t adopted like Reed, my father was an only child. His parents were both only children. I really don’t know where to turn for information. There is the Internet, of course, where I can learn more about what life would have been like with a beach right outside your back door. I remember Dad talking about that some, and right now, I wish I had a family homestead to retreat to until spring. Reading an article, however, cannot replace the intimacy of sitting down with him and hearing personal details. With my ever-working imagination, I have turned the move from warm sand and ocean to mountains and brutal winter winds into some big mystery. Perhaps the grandmother I never met was running from something—or to someone. I know there was a supposedly wealthy man in her life sometime after she moved here. Maybe he went down to Barbados on vacation and they fell in love. Perhaps, as a single mother, she fell for the idea of security first and then true love blossomed. I only have my musings and way too few photos to fill in the blanks.
This much I know. Dad was a teenager when he came to the U. S. His parents had divorced, and for whatever reason, his mother, who passed away before I was born, decided this was a good place to live. My father died when I was a teenager, more interested in high school drama club and Huey Lewis and the News than my family heritage. According to history, the timeframe for their relocation did come at a particularly tough time in Barbados, where a widespread economic downturn resulted in rioting and unrest, and also a depression. Perhaps they came here simply for the possibility of a better life—the American dream.
My dad’s middle name was the same as his father’s first, Macdonald. That in itself raises questions. Macdonald as a surname originated in Scotland according to Wikipedia. Scotland is close to England. The only other person with the first name of Macdonald I can think of is Macdonald Carey, an original cast member and the patriarch on Days of Our Lives. As it turns out, however, Macdonald was his middle name too. His real first name was Edward. Macdonald was his mother’s maiden name. My grandmother’s maiden name was Foster. Was Macdonald a popular first name in Barbados?
A friend of mine was visiting recently from out of state. I showed her the one and only photo I have of Macdonald Connor and she said “I think he’s black.” A woman of color, she riffed on what that might mean for me. The photograph was old. It wasn’t even black and white, but more sepia, possibly originally or maybe with age. “The population in Barbados is predominantly black,” she said. That’s true currently, but my grandfather would have been born in the very early 1900s at least. He was quite a bit older than my grandmother when they had my dad. Demographics concerning that era are not as easy to come by. We talked a while, my friend and I, about what it would mean to me if I was part black when all of my life I had identified and been perceived as something else. I’d already been through that in a different way, but that’s another story. Whatever the reality, this put a thought in the back of my mind I explored through Reed. The conversation I had with Sami alternated between serious topics and silliness, much like it does for Reed and his parents, Reed and his best friend, Cal, and Reed and Captain Falcon. We came to no real conclusion on any of it.
“Truth, Pride, Victory, Love” is the kind of book I love to write. We meet Reed, Cal, and Mathias as boys and follow them all the way to adulthood. When I write, what happens is secondary to why what happens happens. Reed knows what he wants and he goes after it. Cal and Mathias seem to start and stop—for good reason. Any argument, any infatuation or resentment is often rooted in the boys’ younger days.
E.F. and I hope you enjoy “Truth, Pride, Victory, Love.” We hope you get a chuckle or two, gasp once or twice, say “Aww” at the end, and maybe wonder what happens next as I have already started figuring out why.
Beneath the surface, they share more than dreams of Olympic gold.
Since elementary school, the question of Reed Watson’s race has needled him. But the one thing he’s always known is that he is destined to become an Olympic star—he felt it the moment he first hit the water. Chosen by a former Olympic swimmer to train for the 2016 Olympics, Reed determinedly works toward his dream.
Along the way, Reed develops feelings for two men he’s known since childhood: Cal, his next-door neighbor, and Mathias, his rival since the fourth grade. Cal’s struggle with his sexual identity and a tragedy complicate Reed’s feelings, while Mathias’s wealth quickly makes it obvious they are from vastly different worlds.
As Rio approaches, Mathias becomes a gay sports icon, while Reed is told to hide his sexuality for a lucrative endorsement deal that will offer his family a financial boost and help him with mounting debt. Reed’s unresolved desires for both men remain and so too do all the things that have kept them apart. Has he grown enough to navigate rougher waters, to find truth, pride, victory, and love?