Tuesday, December 4, 2012

King Biscuit

Today I'd like to introduce you to Michael Loyd Gray, author of King Biscuit.

Michael's book is published by Tempest Books and the genre is American literary fiction. Right now, the author is doing a promo tour with Goddess Fish, from November 26th until December 7th.

What is this book about? Well, it's 1966 and the Beatles have taken over the airways. Star Trek is in its first season on NBC and 39,000 American troops are stationed in Vietnam.

A war is going on Argus, Illinois as well, between 16-year-old Billy Ray Fleener and his father. While his father dreams of Billy Ray joingin the family business, Billy Ray dreams of moving to California, becoming a surfer and getting into Margie Heinrich's pants - not necessarily in that order. Instead, he gets a summer laying pipe and the dubious distinction of town hero after saving Purdy Boy, the mayor's wife's dachshund.

When his beloved uncle and role model Mitch is killed in combat, Billy Ray feels like he must leave Argus or be stuck there forever. With little more than the clothes on his back, he hops a bus for Helena, Arkansas to visit Mitch's grave. Along the way he meets up with a cast of character as varied and polarized as America itself - from a marine captain home on leave to a band of hippies bound for Graceland. Each teaches him something about love, loyalty, and the true meaning of freedom. But what Billy Ray really learns is that everyone has the power to define who they are. He may have left Argus as a boy, he returns as a man.

I asked Michael what inspired him to write this novel and how he created the characters for it. This is what he answered:

I guess King Biscuit came to me in part because I have always had fond memories of the 60s—especially the music. It seemed like a great time to set a coming of age story because the country itself was so unsettled and chaotic and in some ways the country, too, was struggling to come of age. Vietnam cast a long and ominous shadow on America in those days and the music was a perpetual soundtrack to our lives and so both Vietnam and music lurk in the shadows of King Biscuit. Coming of age in those days was so different than now – less reliance on technology and so less obsession with devices and more emphasis on people – conversation. There were no cell phones, no laptops, simpler cars, not many television channels. Simpler often really is better. As Scotty says in Star Trek IV—“The more you overtake the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

 As for my main character, Billy Ray Fleener – I just wanted a regular kid for the part, but one who senses his world in small and narrow Argus, Illinois, can’t possibly be all there is, and so he’s very willing to leave it for adventure and to see how it all affects him. Once I had placed him in an initial scene I learned more and more about who he was – what he thought about, where he felt he might end up. We learn about our characters as we go. We watch them and listen to them in their first scenes and then we are able to help them evolve.
Michael will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.



  1. It must be a pleasure writing about a time you loved! It is like a homage to the 60s in a way. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I agree that it would be nice to return to simplier lives. People think I am old fashioned since I don't have a smart phone but they seem tied to their phones rather than interacting with one another. I agree with your conclusions.

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  3. Sounds like a great read.


  4. I'm an analog gal at heart!


  5. Well done on writing something that will suit male readers, escpecially young ones. Plus this book should teach them of a time when video games weren't so prevalent.


  6. There is something rather wonderful about the 60's.