A Race Relations tale from a Detroit suburban white kid.

1.Tell us a little about yourself,and your race relations tales of Detroit.

Interview with Gregory A.Fournier author of Zug Island A Detroit Riot Novel.

2.Why dredge up Detroit’s painful race history.

Is this a story that needs to be told?Set in 1967 against a backdrop of industrial blight and urban decay,Racism on the mean streets of Detroit comes in every shade of color.

3.Will African-Americans find the race language of Zug Island offensive?.

I use profanity and racial slurs to give my dialogue the ring of truth. It is a blue collar story about the workplace. I hope everyone who reads my novel is offended by that language. That was my intention.

4.How did you get the idea for writing Zug Island and how long did it take you? When I was walking off the island and was “punching out” at the time clock for the last time, an an man named “Pop” yelled out to me and waved, “Don’t forget to write a book about us college boy.” I half-laughted and replied, “I will.” Mine is a story I’ve waited over forty-five years to write.

5.Why do you call Zug Island a novel rather than a memoir? I’ve changed the names of people and several of the plot race elements. Mainly to avoid litigation.

6.Is the image on your front cover authentic or is it a stock photograph?It does look Detroit! The cover photo is the exact location which readers of Zug Island will recognize instantly.

7.Share the coming of age story on chapter 8 race and the Vietnam war.

Vietnam and the draft was a reality for everyone in the Sixties. It was a turning point for my generation and for our culture. Truth about race and fiction mix heavily in this chapter. I work my way back to college while my friend waits to be shipped out in the morning. Author’s note: I mispelled Dina Washington’s name in this chapter; I wrote Diana instead.

8.What race research did you do before and during your writing of Zug Island? Vintage newspaper accounts, the internet, several books on the subject listed on my novel’s website and my personal experiences.

9.What are some marketing tips you can share with us.What would you do different? Get a professional looking website for your book, develop a blogging habit to build an audience, and win some writing contests, even small bragging rights are better than none. Facebook ads did not work for me. Also, instead of making appearances this summer, I will concentrate on web radio and internet opportunities and talk more openly about race in Detroit.

10.Final comment:What’s on your “Bucket List?” Top 5 things you’d still like to do?
Finish my next project about serial killer John Norman Collins called In the Shadow of the Water Tower, help my children get into the housing market, live to see my grandchildren grow and prosper, and see American leave its legacy of racism on the trash heap of history and the end of negative race talk as we know it.

 

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