Please join us in welcoming author Brandon Witt back today, on the tour for his new novel, Under a Sky of Ash. Brandon’s done a character review with Isaiah Green, so enjoy and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of a book from Brandon’s backlist, winner’s choice.
Thank you so much to The Novel Approach for making space for us today. To honor that, Isaiah Greene agreed to an interview about the release of Under a Sky of Ash, which tells of his meeting and falling for the love of his life, Ben Woods.
BW: Isaiah, thank you so much for sitting down for an interview. You’ve already done so much just allowing me to write your story.
Isaiah: You’re welcome. Honestly, it was a rather unnerving process. I’d done a rather great job of keeping much of my past hidden. It’s a little unreal to think about it all being out there. The book came out two days ago. It’s starting to sink in that people are really reading about Ben and me.
BW: Yeah, it’s a lot to ask of someone to talk about the darkest moments of their past. I know you and Ben sharing your past abuses with each other was tough enough. It takes a lot of courage to share that with the world.
Isaiah: [Shrugs nonchalantly] I wouldn’t call it courageous. As you know, I’m a special education teacher. Before teaching, I would’ve said that stories like mine, and like Ben’s, were rare. Unfortunately, I know they’re not. I’ve had plenty of students who’ve been through times just as hard, and several that have been through worse.
BW: Well, it’s courageous to me. I’m sorry Ben can’t be with us today; I appreciate him being okay with you speaking for him.
Isaiah: It’s been a lot. For both of us, but especially for Ben. On one hand, with him being used to his NA meetings, he’s had plenty of practice sharing his story with others. But those are small groups. He needed a break from all this attention. Plus, he’d already promised ManDonna he’d help her film an audition for RuPaul’s Drag Race today. [Chuckles] He’s got his hands full.
BW: Oh, lord. ManDonna. She was a hoot. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard interviewing someone before.
Isaiah: You have no idea. Try being with her all of the time. I swear she has to be battery powered, she never stops. If you would’ve told me that my future mother-in-law would be a drag queen, I’d have said you’d lost your mind.
BW: Future mother-in-law? That’s news to me! Are you and Ben engaged?
Isaiah: Oh, no! There’s been enough transitions over the past year. Let’s not add that one to the list. But, it’s only a matter of time. Plus, ManDonna and Hershel just got married not too long ago, we don’t want to steal their thunder.
BW: Huh. Sounds like something you two have talked about.
Isaiah: [Cocking an eye brow] What haven’t Ben and I talked about? There was a lot to figure out for us to be together, as you know. I don’t think two people could go through what the two of us have endured and not be completely comfortable talking about anything with each other at this point. Besides, you’d said it yourself, Ben is the love of my life. I don’t know if we were made for each other or not, but life’s twist and turns made us a perfect fit.
BW: I can’t imagine another couple that would be truer of. And, sorry, I got off topic. You distracted me with the mother-in-law comment. I actually wanted to ask about the book. As the author, after hearing your and Ben’s stories, I knew I had to document them in a book, but I’m sure there are a lot of readers who are worried about how sad the book might be. Do you have any thoughts on that, or assurances that you think might help readers feel better?
Isaiah: [Hesitates for a moment.] You know, that’s a fair concern, I’d say. It was very important to me. . . to both Ben and me, that you tell what really happened, that you not sugarcoat it. We’ve lived so much of our lives in secret and not even knowing the full scope of our own stories for so long that we wanted the truth out there. [Smiling] I guess I would just tell readers that Ben and I lived through it, that all the darkness made finding love an even brighter event than it would have been otherwise. Hell, without the darkness, Ben and I wouldn’t have even found each other. [Hesitates once more] I can’t say I’m thankful for all that happen, but I can honestly say I’m so very grateful for the result. And if going through all the pain I endured was necessary to make me ready for Ben, I’d go through all of it again in a heartbeat.
BW: It truly was an honor to watch how much the two of you love each other. And it was such a pleasure to tell your story. Please, give Ben my love when you see him tonight, and tell ManDonna I’ll be rooting for her when she makes it on DragRace.
Isaiah: I sure will. Thanks for making Ben and I comfortable enough to share our story with you. And, thank you to everyone who might choose to read about our lives. I hope it helps you see the beauty around you all the time, even when you’re in those moments of darkness.
Blurb: More than a decade after leaving Colorado to attend college and escape his past, Isaiah Greene moves back and builds a life in Denver as a special education teacher. When he meets Ben Woods, the mentor of one of his students, the attraction is immediate. The revelations that they’ve both suffered traumatic childhoods form a bond between them.
Raised by an abusive grandmother, Ben is a recovering addict who has made a family with his construction worker boss, Hershel, and Hershel’s husband, Daniel—drag queen ManDonna. Adding Isaiah to his life gives Ben a glimpse of a future he’d never dreamed possible for himself.
Both Isaiah and Ben are survivors, but when guilt drives a wedge between them, the past threatens to end their relationship.
Ben and Isaiah embark on journeys of self-discovery. Though their path will be difficult at times, humor and love find a way to bring light to the darkness.
About the Author: Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….