JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Maurice M. Gray, Jr., author of Like A Brother
(Write The Vision)
Jeremiah McAllister lost his entire family before he turned eighteen but was blessed with another one. As the oldest of more than a dozen young adults mentored by CC Dawson and her husband Thurman, Jeremiah takes his role as oldest brother within their chosen family seriously. To his siblings, he is a confidante, emergency contact, babysitter and family ATM. Whatever they need, he provides, no questions asked. However, some among them push his largesse to its limits.
Jenisse Anderson uses Jeremiah as a surrogate man on her arm for social events when she’s between boyfriends and as her personal 911 (she calls him to help her deal with anything she deems an emergency). Despite Jeremiah’s consistently being there for her, she will neither reciprocate nor discuss his feelings for her, or even deal with the issues of her past.
Erik Dawson (CC and Thurman’s only biological child) is currently estranged from his parents. He uses Jeremiah as a go-between so he knows they’re okay and vice-versa. Jeremiah’s repeated pleas for Erik to go to his parents and reconcile fall on deaf ears. Between Jenisse and Erik and the constant requests from the others, Jeremiah is pulled in too many different directions all at once.
As he reaches his breaking point, Jeremiah finds himself at a crossroads in his life. How can he break out of an emotional prison he didn’t even realize he was in until recently? Can he face his own history in order to embrace a better future?
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Like A Brother?
Maurice M. Gray, Jr.: From the phrase “you’re like a brother to me.” (Heard that from many women in my day.) And from being a recovering overworker, particularly in church. I envisioned a large extended family not actually blood-related but closer than some blood-kin are. Jeremiah is the oldest and the one the others tend to lean on.
JP: What sets Like A Brother apart from other books in the same genre?
MMG: I wrote it :-). Seriously though, Like A Brother isn’t a pure romance. It deals with relationships beyond just the romantic – in this case, family ties.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Like A Brother getting out to the public?
MMG: Social media and word-of-mouth.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Like A Brother?
MMG: I adapted Like A Brother from a short story I wrote years ago. The basic premise was a man trying to get out of the friend-zone with a woman friend. I added the complication of the woman being his play-sister instead of just a friend. It took me about three months to adapt it and get it fully written.
JP: What’s next for Maurice M. Gray, Jr.?
MMG: Like A Brother was a prequel novella leading into a trilogy of novels. Female Problems is first, which features Jeremiah’s play-brother Erik. It takes Jermiah from where he was at the end of Like A Brother and into his own story arc.