Jaime is one of several folks on the ranch who work hard, plan meticulously, share a common faith, and love those around them fiercely. He leads a full life and is part of a strong, close-knit family. Faith is a huge part of their lives, and that faith is put to quite the test when college-aged Quinn returns home to live with her father bearing news that may bring a significant change to the plans they already have in motion.
Seeds in the Desert Wind: The Life and Stories of Jaime Cruz, Book III, by T.P. Graf, is the third in a series chronicling the life of main character and narrator, Jaime. His life on the ranch is laidback, eventful on an average scale, and steeped in faith. The cast of characters surrounding Jaime are actually much more well-drawn and easy to visualize than Jaime himself. He serves as the reader’s window to life on the ranch and the guide throughout the experiences that shape the family’s dynamic.
Graf tackles some highly relatable topics in this third book in the series. The controversy surrounding Quinn and her pregnancy news is timely and will, no doubt, resonate with readers. Quinn is welcomed into the fold and, even though she faces questions and side-eye from many, she finds her place and is surrounded by love and protection from those on the ranch, no matter their initial reactions. The theme of unconditional love is prevalent in Graf’s work even if it is peppered by hints of tough love.
I am intrigued by Jaime. We hear so much about the lives of the other characters and so little about Jaime’s. It truly is as if we are watching him live his life and seeing everyone else through his eyes. The reader hears very little introspection from Jaime but can see the results of his thoughts and actions in the events as they play out. It is a truly interesting way to position a narrator in a realistic fiction story that gives off the feeling of a biography.
I love the backdrop of the ranch and the tight knit group of characters. Every quirk, every nuance, and each daily challenge make this story relatable and enjoyable. Jaime is a fascinating narrator. I highly recommend Seeds in the Desert Wind: The Life and Stories of Jaime Cruz, Book III, by T.P. Graf, to anyone looking for a book that wraps around you like your favorite blanket and touches your heart in a unique way.
Pages: 223 | ASIN: B08T9X2V7Q
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If you are looking for a book about family, faith, and healing, T.P Graf’s Night Air Descending is right up your alley. It follows the life of Jaime Cruz, a young man who managed to find love and healing in a Texas family. Together with his partner Billy, and his adopted family Bill, Betsy, and Sallie, he forges a new existence, one of joy and peace. This is quite contrary to the life he had growing up – one of pain and loneliness. He sends out letters to members of his estranged family, hoping to reunite and guide them to healing as well. While only one family member bites, this is enough to inspire hope in Jamie and his chosen family.
Throughout this intelligent and evocative book we learn about Jamie’s view on love and the beautiful relationship he has with his adopted family. The themes of family, belonging, and love reverberate throughout the narrative. Using the perspective of Jamie to tell the story, the author draws us in and makes it more relatable and memorable. It also helps that most of the events in the book are everyday occurrences that the average person can relate to.
Moreover, the characters are well developed, each having his or her own personality and desires – some surprising and some not so much. The author’s writing style is light and easy to read – there isn’t any use of wordy long-winded paragraphs. This writing style is reflective of the story, in its ability to find beauty in everyday simplicity.
I enjoyed the story, and the dialogue, but because there was so much dialogue I felt that there were phrases that were repeated often: “I said”, “He said”, and “She said”. I would have enjoyed more descriptions of scenes and character state of minds from a narrative point of view to break things up and give the dialogue some direction.
This is a beautifully written book that has a grounded and authentic feel so much that it feels like we are reading someone diary; one filled with the daily hassles, family and ranch life. However, if you are looking for something easy to read and that seamlessly blends Christian faith, love, and family, Night Air Descending could be the book for you. This is a heartwarming book that possesses author T.P. Graf’s distinct literary aesthetic.
Pages: 222 | ASIN: B08R7PZ2FG
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Tumbleweed and Dreams follows a man who starts over in Texas and finds a more rewarding life than he had expected to find in a small dusty town. What made you write a story about this topic? Anything pulled from your life experiences?
I worked for several years at the university in Alpine, but it wasn’t until I took a couple-year break from life in IT that I was really able to immerse myself in the cultural diversity of this remote part of Texas. I was, for a time, first a volunteer and later the director of the county food panty and became a close friend of the previous director. The experience gave me personal connections to both the generous people (of their time and money) who supported the work and the clients who benefited from that generosity. On a personal level, I found living in the desert very nurturing. Work took me away for a number of years, but we plan to return there to live in 2021. Writing the trilogy sealed that decision as we found ourselves quite homesick.
If Hollywood came knocking what actors and actress’s do you picture playing the leading roles?
None come to mind though I can see Jane Lynch (coach on Glee) making a pretty convincing Sallie. I would hope for a very strong casting director who really “got” the book to find relative unknowns well-suited to the peculiarities of each character. Particularly, in the case of Sallie, Billy and Ernesto, the match of physique and personality is integral to defining their character as well as the musical talents needed for Jaime, Billy and Ernesto.
You always write such grounded and authentic characters. Were you able to relate to your characters while writing them?
I’m glad you perceive them in this way. When I wrote, “Stories for Tyler,” I found it surprisingly easy to relate to very ancient characters and to try to tell their story in a fresh way. For each of the novels, the characters become familiar companions. I just try to get out of the way and let the sum of their experience, charms and quirks tell the story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have completed the other two books in the trilogy—“Night Air Descending” and “Seeds in the Desert Wind.” Right now, I am working with my friends on the final edits. “Night Air” will be released in March and “Seeds” about a month or so later.
Posted in Interviews
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Some people are impulsive, and some are very calculating and measure every move before they make it. Others wait for someone to tell them what to do and when to do it. Then there is Jaime. When Jaime decides to begin life anew, he does it based on a movie. Not everyone can say they look to settle in the town in which a movie was set, but Jaime can. He’s a man with a plan to have no plan and looks forward to seeing what his future may hold in Fort Davis, Texas. With absolutely no idea how he will make a living and no long term plans, Jaime sets out on his own to make his way in the world.
Tumbleweed and Dreams: Book I From the Trilogy – The Life and Stories of Jaime Cruz by T.P. Graf, chronicles the experiences of Jaime Cruz as he starts a new life in a sleepy Texas town. He has left behind a life in California that was less than successful and has begun to haunt him. Jaime is looking for a fresh start in every aspect of his life, and holds out hope that he will not only find his way to a rewarding career but also to a meaningful relationship. As Jaime begins to shape his life in Texas, he meets and becomes close to one character after another, each with his or her own unique story to share.
This is a book as much about relationships as it is the main character’s plight. Graf has given readers a beautifully crafted tale. From the intricate descriptions of the diverse cultures found in Texas to Jaime’s thoughtful exploration of religion, the author shows readers a depth not often found in most works of fiction. Jaime is an especially introspective character, and readers find themselves growing closer to him throughout the course of his story.
Graf manages to keep readers enthralled with Jaime’s day-to-day experiences chapter after chapter. While this first in a series is not a thriller or especially dramatic in its own right, it is captivating due to the author’s ability to present a well-developed main character who reaches out and grabs readers by the hand and carries them along on the journey that is beginning to shape his new life.
I recommend Tumbleweed and Dreams: Book I From the Trilogy – The Life and Stories of Jaime Cruz to any reader looking for a beautifully penned tale of self-discovery and a strong main character who stands out in a crowd. Jaime Cruz, a memorable and relatable figure, will linger in readers’ minds far beyond the final page.
Pages: 210 | ASIN: B08P27HYBD
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Roots, Branches and Buzz Saws provides readers with more insightful stories from August Kibler’s life. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book?
In “As the Daisies Bloom,” we got to know well the mature, reflective August. In this second book, I very much wanted to show the people who helped shape his journey. One could read the first book and say he just sailed through life with little struggle. And while his struggles pale in comparison to many, August is not insensitive to others’ plights.
I felt like this book was about celebrating who you are as a person. Was this intentional or incidental to telling the story?
I smile as as I say, I have to remind my friends and family that this is fiction. They see much of August in me, and they certainly recognize aspects of my own life—and theirs, it must be said. I don’t believe you could tell the story of a particular time and place any other way. People will always recognize themselves in a story that they find relatable.
To the broader “you” that the question might invoke, I certainly am intentional about celebrating our uniqueness.
What was one of the most challenging scenes for you to write in this book?
I would narrow it to two overarching storylines. The first was the struggle August had with his own temper as a teen and his irritation if not actual estrangement from his only brother. Had the brother not died in the war, it seems likely this would have been a growing estrangement overtime. As we see, it was burden to August he never fully shed even with the brother’s death.
The second would be the early struggles in Miles and August’s life together during their time in Louisiana. The move to Louisiana was a move driven by August with many unforeseen consequences that might have driven them apart but for which fidelity prevailed.
Will you write more stories encompassing August Kibler’s life?
I feel August’s story has been told. I actually began working on a novel set in West Texas right after I finished “As the Daisies Bloom,” but I got stuck about three chapters in as I kept going back to August’s life. It seemed before I could move on, his story needed to be told in greater depth. Having done that, I’ve been able to not only complete the West Texas novel, but begin a sequel to it as well.
A part of me would love to be able to pickup the stories of Tyler, Johnny or Jimmy in some form, but as these stories are set in present time, I can’t see a way forward to that end—unless I write them as a very old man. I very much like the “memoir” style of telling people’s story. Memoirs of the rich and famous fly off the shelves, but my intent is to celebrate and recall the simple lives the rest of us live.