Dorien Grey

Dorien Grey

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
January 6, 2005

Q. Who is Dorien Grey?

A. Dorien Grey started out as just a pseudonym, but in the course of the writing of the Dick Hardesty mystery series, he’s become my alter ego, and taken on a life of his own.

Most people live one life, in one time, and in one body. I' consider myself lucky to have no such constraints–Dorien is Dick Hardesty; he lives in Dick Hardesty’s world, and what Dick feels, Dorien and I feel. All three of us are hopeless romantics who share a deep rooted if offbeat sense of humor, and a fascination with words and the power of language.

I've been a writer almost as long as I've been gay —that is to say, from about age 5. I hope I bring the outsider’s unique view of the world to his books which, like my life, are deeply rooted in the gay experience. The Dick Hardesty mystery series is my attempt to create for those who have shared my feeling of exclusion a world in which can feel they truly belong, and to provide those curious about that world a unique insight into it.

I always write with the reader in mind--I like to think of them as a kind of conversation with the reader, and really want the reader to join Dick in solving the mystery. Because the clues are always there, though Dick doesn’t always recognize them, the reader is sometimes a step or two ahead of him–which is fine with me.

I'd invite all your LIterary World readers to drop by my web page at or go to my publisher’s site: . Your comments, thoughts, and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Q. How did you come about the ideal to write a murder/mystery novel?

A.I enjoy puzzles and I like logic: mystery novels uniquely combine the two. When I began my first mystery novel, I had no idea it would become a series, but the January, 2005 release of The Popsicle Tree will be #9 in the Dick Hardesty mystery series.

Q. How did you come about the title "THE ROLE PLAYERS?"

A. I have certain...well, signatures to tie the series together. One of them is that they all are three word titles beginning with "The"; a second is that each book starts with a short prolog which hopefully explains the title.

Q. How long have you been writing?

A. Since about the same time I knew I was different from other little boys, at around the age of 5. I dictated a poem to my mother: an epic ode to cowboys, the last line of which was: "And the cowboys yelled ‘Yippee!’ and everything else." With genius like that, how could I not have become a writer?

Q. How many books have you written?

A. Nine in the Dick Hardesty series and a western/gay romance/adventure/mystery, Calico, available in ebook form only from Double Dragon Publishing ( . I ‘m working on the idea for a new mystery series as well.

Q. Why did you choose to have your characters gay?

A. I write what I know, and I am almost driven to reach out to mainstream readers and show, through my characters and my books, that gays are no threat to civilization as we know it. We all share our humanity and our need to be treated with dignity and respect. We’ve all come a long way in the past decade or so, and I want to work to continue to close the gap that separates us.

Q. Is "THE ROLE PLAYERS" a sequel from another book?

A. Yes, as I said, it is book #8 in the series: The Butcher’s Son, The Ninth Man, The Bar Watcher, The Hired Man, The Good Cop, The Bottle Ghosts, The Dirt Peddler, The Role Players, and now #9, The Popsicle Tree. All share the same locale, the same characters, the same places. I do try to create a cohesive world with which the reader can feel comfortable and familiar.

Q. Why did Chris and Dick breakup?

A. Chris and Dick didn’t really so much break up as grow apart. It’s a subplot in The Butcher’s Son. Chris is offered a job in New York, and Dick is in a position where he cannot leave his then-present job. Their relationship has made the transition from lovers to good friends.

Q. How did Dick meet Jonathan?

A. I’m always delighted to tell this story, because it is indicative of how I write. I do not plot out my stories. I just head them in a general direction and then go along for the ride. I had absolutely no idea that there would even be a Jonathan. And then, in the course of The Good Cop Dick walks into a bar to pick up a gay newspaper, and there is Jonathan, seated at the bar. Again, I had no plans to have Dick meet anyone at that point. But there was Jonathan, and the chemistry between them just took off on its own.

Q. How did Chris meet Max?

A. Chris met Max some time after he moved to New York to take on his new job. I’m not exactly sure how they met.

Q. How is it that Chris, Max, Jonathan and Dick became friends and have so much respect for each other?

A. We all, if we are very lucky, are blessed to have friends. Who knows exactly what components go into any friendship. Another basic similarity between straights and gays—friends are part of the fabric of our lives.

Q. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

A. No specific atmosphere, really (no pipe and smoking jacket by the fire). Time is the guiding factor, and a lack of distraction, though that more or less takes care of itself once I become immersed in writing. I truly enter the world of my characters, whatever and wherever it may be. I am not very fond of reality, and being a writer enables me to create my own world, people it with characters I want to be there, and control what happens to them all. Writers often tend to be rather Diestic; it’s their nature.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading "THE ROLE PLAYER?"

A. The same message I try to convey in all my books: here’s a world you may not know all that much about but that is really not all that different from your own, peopled with individuals you can relate to and enjoy spending time with. Familiarity breeds not contempt but acceptance.