June 20, 2019

Author Interview: Good Buddy by Dori Ann Dupré

Good Buddy
Author: Dori Ann Dupré
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: EJD Press

What really makes a father? What kind of love resides in the heart of a man who takes on the raising of another man's child and all the responsibilities…but under the law, none of the rights?

Jonathan "Buddy" Cordova is a small-time criminal defense lawyer living paycheck to paycheck and practicing law out of his house in Fayetteville. Viewing himself as a modern-day Atticus Finch, he represents the poor, the indigent, the "probably guilty"—the kinds of clients who usually end up in jail. He's shy, painfully awkward around pretty women, and carrying a dark secret, but can't help falling for Julie Saint, a kindergarten teacher and army widow with a small daughter.

Consumed with love for his ready-made family, Buddy relishes his new role of husband and stepfather. Bonded over their mutual childhood losses, he and his stepdaughter become the best of friends. But when tragedy strikes, and the past returns for its reckoning, Buddy must find the strength to do what's right for his new family, even if it breaks his heart.


Good Buddy Author Dori Ann Dupré on:

Please give us a brief description of your second book, Good Buddy.

The book follows Johnny “Buddy” Cordova, a small-town criminal defense lawyer who likes to think of himself as a modern-day Atticus Finch. He’s reserved and shy around not the type to attract beautiful women, but that all changes when he meets Kindergarten teacher and Army widow Julie Saint. While he falls for Julie, he also grows a close and special bond with her daughter, Molly. He can’t believe his luck that he was blessed with a ready-made family and helps them become whole again. They, too, help him become whole from his own broken pieces. But that all changes when Julie unexpectedly passes away.

Molly and Buddy’s relationship is solid and only grows stronger after Julie’s death. But soon enough, Buddy’s past demons come back to haunt him and threaten to have Molly taken away. Through their shared grief and Buddy’s desire to protect Molly, the question becomes: What really makes a father? What kind of love resides in the heart of a man who takes on the responsibility of raising another man’s child, but under the law, having none of the rights?

The book is ultimately a unique father-daughter type love story between Buddy and Molly. What served as your inspiration for their relationship?

I had the desire to tell a heartwarming story about a good, solid man who took on the responsibility of raising another man’s child. I started writing this novel long before I knew my husband Eric was terminally ill. From the very beginning, Buddy was inspired by him and his selfless act of becoming our daughter Abigail’s stepfather back in 1995. It was written for him, and ultimately, finished just in time for him. It was the last book Eric ever read before he passed at 47.

Because of what happened to my husband and my family, the book’s purpose grew into so much more. There are many kinds of step and surrogate fathers who come into our lives and take on this most important role. And none of it has anything to do with blood. It’s about integrity, character and, ultimately, love.

Buddy is a character and not my husband, but he is brush stroked with my husband’s looks, a few of his quirks and some of the best parts about him.

How did your relationship with your husband and dealing with his passing help you grow as an author?

When his illness and dire prognosis overtook our lives, I knew I had to finish it before he died. Good Buddy was a way to both manage my own sanity throughout the crisis and preserve a piece of my husband and some of my family’s memories through fiction. The experience of writing Good Buddy has been both a therapeutic process and a vehicle in which to solidify my husband’s legacy as a good and honorable man of integrity.

Writing Good Buddy really helped me through a profoundly difficult time in my life and continues to help me in my grief recovery to this day; it helps me in the healing process and allowed me to begin to help others. I use fiction writing to not only heal or make sense of my life but have also used the book to be a part of my husband’s legacy. Since writing benefited me in my grieving process, and because of the lack of available grief writing programs, I have decided to develop my own grief writing workshop to help others work through their own grief and loss called Grieve the Write Way. Currently, I volunteer my time, when called upon, to provide this workshop free of charge to groups and organizations to assist those who need this form of healing. Recently, I have been offered a position as an adjunct faculty member at our local community college to provide this short-term program in the fall.

Why did you want this book to serve as an ode to fathers everywhere?  

I believe that stepfathers or surrogate fathers – men who step in and take the responsibility for parenting a child or grandchild who is not their own – are undervalued, overlooked, and underpraised in society. They are unsung heroes. These kinds of men are everywhere, doing these most important tasks, and they deserve to be acknowledged for it. They bear the highest moral responsibility in taking this on, and they do not have the parental rights to back that up. They do this by choice and out of love.

What do you hope readers take away from Buddy’s unconventional journey into becoming a father?

I want readers to be moved by the kind of integrity and love that men have in their hearts when they take on the responsibility of raising other men’s children, and the tremendous value they provide to society at large. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Blood relations are often placed ahead of actual relationships in the hierarchy of the law and moral obligation. While our genetics indeed bind us, it is the things we do and don’t do that build relationships, regardless of blood relation. Strong, intentional, committed, mutually supportive and loving relationships are a form of family that should be regarded as highly as blood relation, if not more.

I hope readers are touched by this story, the characters I’ve created to tell it, and will get a glimpse into a damn good man who inspired it all, through one significant act of love. 

DORI ANN DUPRÉ’s first work of fiction, Scout’s Honor, released to critical success in 2016, and is followed by her 2019 novel, Good Buddy. She is also a veteran of the United States Army. After her husband’s passing, she began blogging for the Hope for Widows Foundation, and began her own grief writing workshop on a volunteer basis to help those struggling with loss begin to heal through writing. Dupré currently resides in Raleigh, NC and has two young adult daughters. Learn more about Dupré on her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

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