Friday, February 21, 2020

Interview with G.K. Davenport, Dust of Lies


G.K. Davenport’s first novel, Dust of Lies, brings conspiracies of the past and mysteries of the present together in an engaging mixture of myth and fact. I met with G.K. over a glass of iced tea in my living room. 

I asked my first question. “Why do you use a pen name rather than use your legal name? Why did you choose this name?”

G.K. answered, “I use a pen name to honor my father. He gave me the name Gwendolyn Kay and   Davenport just came with the package. He said I reminded him of Guinevere in Camelot. I never really knew what that meant, but it made me feel special. So I chose to use GK Davenport.” 

I met G.K. when we taught at the same high school more years ago than most people have lived, and I didn’t know she had an interest in writing. Therefore, I asked, “How and why did you decide to write?”

            G.K. smiled.  “I have always loved writing and wanted to major in English in college. My dad had other plans and nudged me towards Chemistry. Marriage, a baby, and jobs that paid the bills crowded out all thoughts of writing. I loved the life I was given, and I never looked back.
            My job at Irwin Auto Co required me to travel. When I logged a lot of hours in a car with the same people, I got to know them well. This was the case with Cowboy’s grandson. He mentioned that his grandfather claimed to be the son of Jesse Woodson James. I found it interesting, but my curiosity needle did not move to any great extent. On one of the many trips from Oklahoma to Iowa, I suggested that we stop at the Jesse James museum. He emphatically said no. I pushed him a little harder. I wanted to learn about this famous outlaw. He looked me squarely in the eye and said, ‘They are not my people.’
            “How could they not be his people if Jesse Woodson James was his great grandfather? I quizzed, poked, and prodded until pieces of the story came out. But none of the pieces fit. I started my research and slowly things fell into place. The research began in 2007 and continued for five years. I read thousands of posts on ancestry sites and emailed any relatives I could find. This resulted in a huge collection of data, and I felt it should be shared. The sage flies in the face of conventional history, but I do believe that much of history is covered with the ‘dust of lies.' I asked Carolyn Leonard to take my work and write a book. She told me to write it myself and make it fiction. The story had to be told, even if only to preserve the family lore. So, I began to write in 2012.”

Family lore, history, research, I enjoy history myself. “All right,  please give the background to your book, Dust of Lies:  What sparked your interest?”

 “An intrigue with history and the truth.” 

An answer I understand but which led to my next question: “Does this book finish the story?”

G.K. shook her head. “The story is massive. I broke it into several parts. The first deals with the family lore of Cowboy. The second part will deal with John Wilkes Booth and the ties to the James people. The final will explore whether Jesse James died in 1882 or did he fake his death. It will also complete the search for the treasure.”

“Will there be sequels? If so, do you have titles yet?” I enjoyed Dust of Lies, so the idea of sequels caught my attention.

“I have plans for two sequels. The first, book two, Dust and Redemption will deal with John Wilkes Booth and trace him from Granbury, Texas to Enid, Oklahoma. It will connect Booth with the James saga.
            “The second sequel explores the character of J. Frank Dalton and his claim to be the one and true Jesse James. The title will be Dust and Deliverance.

Two sequels in the works means G.K. stays busy. “Please tell us about your hobbies, other interests, or activities during your leisure time, if you have any leisure time.”

“I used to paint quite a bit, both oil and watercolor. In fact, I have a watercolor I would like to use on a book cover if I ever write something that fits the image.  I haven’t painted in a while due to lack of time. I like to read to relax.”

I wonder if G.K. might like to paint the cover art for her next book or books? But, back to the questions, always more questions. “Interviewers often ask authors when they started writing or what triggered their interest in writing. I would like to know that, too, but I would especially like to know what triggered this book, what inspired you to write it?” 

“I answered a lot of this in the second question but I do have something to add. This family struggled with believing the words of their father and grandfather when everything seemed so contradictory. I felt a great deal of satisfaction in providing answers to many of them. There are still a lot of questions.
            "I have asked myself why I didn’t write a book sooner since I loved it early in life. The answer seems simple. I really did not write a book from scratch as many fiction writers do. I merely strung these amazing stories together in a fictional form. The story wrote itself.”

“Yes, I guess I do repeat myself at times.” I shrugged. “But, how did you feel when you completed your book?”

“I had mixed feelings. I hated to leave the characters after I became so immersed in their lives. I felt proud that I did it. I really, really did. I feared that others would not like the work, that it might appear amateurish or boring. I still spend a little time with each of these emotions.”

Now, I asked the age-old question. “What are your writing goals?”

G.K. shrugged this time. “My goal is to complete the sequels in a timely manner and leave the readers feeling that they made the journey with me.”

With a nod, I agreed. “I hope all authors have the same goal. Now, are you a member of a writing group? If so, how does being a member benefit you and your writing?” 

“Yes, I am a member of OWFI. Although new to the group, I am really excited to be able to interact with people that share the joy and excitement of writing. I can hardly wait for the spring conference.” 

A  side note: At the OWFI (Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Inc.) writers conference, her book will be available in the conference bookstore.

Back to the interview: “How did you come up with the idea for your book?”

“The more I heard about Cowboy, the more I became convinced that these stories must be preserved. From that point, it evolved into a book.” G.K. smiled.

My next question would be the most personal. “You dedicated Dust of Lies to your daughter. Will you share a bit about her and her influence on your writing?” 

            The author changed into a mother. “I thought long and hard about the words in my dedication. How do you express the beauty of a soul in a few short words? She was physically beautiful, but she was spiritually beautiful as well. Strong in will and soft of heart. She was truly my best friend. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. If you remember, she attended the OWFI conference with me in 2012. Her smile flooded the room when she heard my name announced for second place.
            “The next morning, I attended Sunday school with her. She stood up and introduced me. But she didn’t leave it there. 'My mother is writing a book!' she said, as her shoulders squared and her face beamed with pride. That sealed the deal. I had no choice but to finish.
            “She passed away in August of 2014. The book gathered dust, and I lost heart. When I stumbled upon the file in 2016, I wanted to delete it. But I remembered her words and called you instead. You know the rest of the story.
            “So you see, she was and always shall be the axis of my world. All of my thoughts and love still revolve around my precious Kim.”

            After a moment, I asked her if she had any other comments, and she replied. “I know that the readers might feel cheated by not having an ironclad conclusion to Dust of Lies. But, the journey is a process and not a destination. I think about the ending of Gone with the Wind. What did Scarlett or Rhett do after he walked away? Margret Mitchell did not know the answer. Each reader created her or his own ending.
            “I do not know the answers, and controversy rages among Jesse James buffs. Readers must decide for themselves if the Sentinels and Knights of the Golden Circle are real. I only provide the kindling to ignite the flame of curiosity.”

            I picked up my copy of Dust of Lies. “Would you autograph my copy, please?”

Dust of Lies can be purchased on the 4RV Publishing site and on other online stores such as and

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