Her first book, "Blessed" was released on June 29, 2018, and it tells the story of Darryl Keejik and Emery Matawapit, teenage lovers that were torn apart, and are reunited ten years later.
Today, Maggie is interviewing one of the two heroes - Darryl Keejik - about his relationship with Emery.
Blessed is available in most e-book formats at eXtasy Books. Follow the instructions for downloading it to your preferred app or device.
If you would like to visit Maggie's website, the link to it is in my links to the left of my blog entries. She hosts her own blog there, and has been having a lot of authors do guest spots. You have to check it out, she has a lot of wonderful people on there!
Thank you for this amazing interview, Maggie. Over to you!
I’ll be interviewing Darryl Keejik. He’s one of the heroes from Blessed, a m/m, multi-cultural, contemporary romance that takes place at Ottertail Lake, a remote Ojibway community in Northwestern Ontario.
Maggie Blackbird: Darryl, tell us how you first romanced Emery as teenagers before the relationship fell apart, resulting in your ten-year estrangement at the beginning of the novel.
Darryl Keejik: I wouldn’t say I romanced Em. More like I gave him proper respect. I treated him right and listened to what he had to say. His parents never took the time to listen to him. They only wanted to hear him spout the usual crap that the son of a deacon should say.
Maggie Blackbird: What would you get Emery on Valentine’s Day?
Darryl Keejik: We weren’t a Valentine’s Day sort of couple. To me, every day with Em was Valentine’s Day, a chance to do something special together. Being simple guys from the rez, and having to hide our feelings, we spent a lot of time in the bush hiking, hunting, camping, or in the winter we checked our trap lines. That was the perfect time to tease him, flirt, enjoy a kiss or two.
Maggie Blackbird: Did you ever buy Emery anything special?
Darryl Keejik: *chuckles* We didn’t go to the city very often, and that’s where you buy presents ’cause the Northern Lights Store isn’t the place you wanna shop for your sweetheart. When Em’s parents did head off on the plane, that was the perfect “alone” time for us. Mind you, his older brother or older sister would watch the house.
We weren’t the movie-romance kind of couple. We were teenagers. Teenaged boys aren’t the most romantic people. Romance, to us, was in the thoughtful gestures. If Emery was tired after we’d been out on the lake fishing, I’d haul in the skiff, fillet the fish, basically do all the work so he could rest. To me, that’s more romantic than flowers and chocolate.
Romance is in the respect, gestures, and thoughtfulness you give the one you love. Anyone can buy flowers, chocolates, and presents.
Maggie Blackbird: Fair enough. What do you think is the most romantic dinner one can cook for their significant other?
Darryl Keejik: There’s a great deck on the house that overlooks the river. I’d grill steaks on the barbecue, make sure and bake a blueberry pie, and raid the garden for some fresh vegetables. Dinner isn’t so much about what’s cooked. It’s how you serve it and the atmosphere you create. Candles. A nice view of the moonlight on the river. Soft music. And my undivided attention at the table.
Maggie Blackbird: What about romantic gifts?
Darryl Keejik: Again, that kind of stuff is overrated. I’d leave coupons around!
Maggie Blackbird: Coupons?
Darryl Keejik: Sure. The “with every purchase kind…” Such as if you do the dishes, I’ll be sure to give you a massage that night. If you cook dinner, I’ll be sure to wash the dishes, wash the floors, and do the laundry that weekend. If you clean the tub, I’ll be sure to groom you from top to bottom—I mean besides washing, the whole buffing, nail-clipping, you name it kind of deal.
Maggie Blackbird: What was one of the most romantic moments you spent as a couple.
Darryl Keejik: At the powwow. I dance. Em, being a hard-core Catholic, never participated. He’d watch in the grandstands. When he watched me, I always danced harder and faster ’cause he had that way of getting under my skin.
I’m a northern traditional dancer. I was re-enacting a hunt. Emery became the one I hunted. Although our relationship had grown sexual, I was hunting his heart. He knew what I was doing because he moved from the grandstands and stood on the outside of the circle where I danced. I came for him, raised my arrow at his heart, and drew back the bow string. I had his heart in my sight. I danced faster, crouching and peering. I released the arrow. When I looked up with the final thump of the drum and wail of the singers, he stood there wide-eyed, face paler than normal, clutching his chest, fear in his eyes. I knew the tip of my arrow had pierced its mark. Everything faded to the background. He was the only person there, and I, the only person for him. I stalked from the circle. His face was shiny, sweating, hand over his mouth. I motioned at him to follow me so I could change out of my regalia. We left on the four-wheeler to be alone. I knew at that moment Creator had made him for me. I was eighteen at the time.
Maggie Blackbird: I guess that’s why you were so hurt when you became estranged.
Darryl Keejik: Very hurt. I offered him my love, and he didn’t take it.
Maggie Blackbird: I can understand why your story plays out the way it does in the novel. Here’s hoping you two can reconcile your differences.
Darryl Keejik: *saying noting and simply looks away*
Logline: A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling: the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.Blurb: It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.
Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon, and he intends on using his new-found power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and the church.
Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.
An erotic spiritual journey…
“You must be proud of your boy. We’re all proud of him.” From the hallway, an old woman’s teasing voice carried into Darryl’s office. “I’m glad he’ll be here for the summer.”
Everyone must have gathered in the reception area to talk. The waiting room at the band office resembled the diner, a place for people to drink coffee while helping them-selves to the muffins from the staff room. Darryl would join them. Someone always had a funny story to tell.
“I’m looking forward to it. Emery’s flying in at two. Maria and I are meeting him at the airport.” Pride filled Deacon Matawapit’s words.
Halfway out of his chair, Darryl froze. The reserve was Emery’s home. A visit was expected. Darryl squeezed the handle of the mug he held and sank in the chair. The news shouldn’t surprise him, nor should he give a damn. Then why was his heart pumping faster than a deer outrunning a wolf pack?
Heels clicked against the floor. As each step grew closer, his stomach flipped and flopped.
“Hello there.” Deacon Matawapit stood in the doorway, wearing his collar, of all things. He must have come from weekday Mass. “Do you have a moment?”
Darryl was no fool. The Matawapits hadn’t bothered with even a How are you doing? when he’d returned, all because he stopped hiding his sexual orientation. Roy had probably blabbed about their conversation this weekend to the deacon. “I was about to grab another coffee. I’ve been busy since I got here. No rest for the wicked.” Since that’s what you think I am.
Although Deacon Matawapit’s lips formed into a smile, his dark eyes never brightened. “It won’t take long.” He cleared his throat. “How are you? I failed to congratulate you on your success running for band council.”
Yeah, and I bet you didn’t vote for me. “I’m fine. How are you?” Their conversation resembled a scripted TV show.
“I’m always well after morning Mass.” The deacon drew in his cheeks. “I assume you heard the news when I was in the hallway.”
“Emery’s returning?” If Darryl was supposed to show enthusiasm, the good man had presumed wrong.
“Yes. He’s in flying in today.”
“That’s nice.” Why bother giving details? It was time for Darryl to end the small talk before the deacon launched into his true intentions. “Sounds like you got a lot on your plate, too.” He held up his mug and in his firmest voice, said, “I have six more phone calls to make and a report to finish. If you’ll excuse me...”
Deacon Matawapit’s jaw tightened, which was typical of a man unaccustomed to being opposed. Everyone obeyed his orders, especially his youngest son.
“Of course.” The deacon’s voice was as lukewarm as the coffee Darryl held. “Enjoy your day.”
Seriously? After the bomb he’d dropped in Darryl’s lap? He forced a smile. “Thanks. You, too.”
About the Author: An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
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