March 19, 2012

Fictional Character Interview with Gil McCray

Last week, I shared with you an interview with one of my main characters in Snow Melts in Spring. Today, I wanted to offer some insight into the hero, Gil McCray. Mattie and Gil have been incredibly interesting to get to know--and I'm delighted to be able to share more about them here and in my next book. I hope you will enjoy the following interview.

Interview with Gil McCray:

What do you do for a living? – I’m a retired NFL quarterback and part owner of the Lightning M, a 7000+ acre ranch set in the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills. I hope to one day leave the ranch as a legacy to my children and grandchildren.

Tell us about your parents. How well did you get along with them? – Funny you should ask. My dad and I haven't always gotten along very well. In fact, you could say we were barely on speaking terms a few years ago. I have Mattie (now my wife) to thank for putting things right between us. She recognized the pain we were both harboring and made us face it and talk things out. My mom passed away several years ago, back when I played ball for the 49’ers. 

How many siblings do you have? – One older brother, Frank. He died in a drunk-driving accident when I was in high school. It took me a long time to deal with his death—but it’s getting better.

What were three things you liked to do when you were a boy? – Ride horses, ride horses, ride horses. That’s three, right?

Speaking of horses, how is Dusty doing? - That old boy is enjoying his last days on our ranch. I like putting him in with the new colts and letting him show them who's boss. He still has a few tricks and isn't afraid to try them.

What makes you happy now? – Every morning when I wake up and see my darling bride by my side sleeping, with her wild red hair strung out all over the pillow. I can’t imagine life without Mattie.

What about children? Mattie hinted in her interview last week that the two of you might be having difficulty in that area of our life. – Yeah. We’ve been trying to have kids from the moment we got married. God just hasn’t blessed us with children yet. And he may not—much to my dad’s displeasure. But hey, there are a lot of children out there who need a good home. And we happen to have a great big house.

Tell us about the day you married Mattie. – Oh, man, you should have asked Mattie that question. She would have done a better job describing all the details. It was a sunny day in June. (Notice we didn’t wait very long to tie the knot after I proposed to her.) It was nothing fancy and kinda small. We exchanged vows in our church at New Redeemer and then had a reception out at our ranch with family and friends. A little music and dancing and lots of food. I’ll never forget how pretty Mattie looked in her mom's wedding gown and veil with her hair all tied up in curls. That woman has the prettiest curls. I love to wrap them around my big clunky fingers and pull her in for a kiss. But that’s probably more than you want to know . . . 

Where were you born? – I was born and raised in Charris County, Kansas. If it hadn’t been for Mattie, I would probably be living in California now. Thank goodness she brought me to my senses and showed me where my true home was. With her. Here.

What makes you laugh out loud? – When I see Dad or our ranch hand, Jake, try to carry on as though they were half their age. Those two are getting too old for this work. But I can’t tell them that. I’ll probably be the same if I live that long.

What is your favorite food? – Steak and fried potatoes. And biscuits. And Mattie’s apple pie. Oh, and homemade ice cream. 

I understand Mattie has been doing some spring cleaning. Care to say anything about that? – When that little gal has a mind to do something, there ain’t no stopping her. Right now she’s made up her mind to clean out our closet. Clothes are flying everywhere. My favorite shirts and jeans—all because of a little rip or tear in them or maybe a stain. She doesn't understand how good a worn shirt feels when you're out working in the hot sun . . . or lounging on the porch on a Sunday afternoon. 

What is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood? – Of my mama hauling Frank and me to Sunday school every week-whether we wanted to go or not. I look forward to helping Mattie round up our kids and filling a pew at our church. 

What is your greatest regret? – That I missed so much time with my mom and dad because I was too stupid to accept past wrongs and forgive people in my life—including myself. 

Which living person do you most admire? – My dad. I can say that now. 
  
Do you have a favorite Bible verse? – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

If you have a question for Gil, please leave it in the comments below. I look forward to sharing more about Gil and Mattie's life with you in my third book. Next week, I'll post another "Behind the Scenes" look on the making of Snow Melts in Spring. Read Mattie McCray's interview here. 
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