Monday, November 19, 2018

Character Interview: Preston Howard of Preston Howard's 'The Sheltering Palms'

Our guest character today is Preston Howard from Preston Howard's fictional autobiography/historical fiction/satire, The Sheltering Palms. Enjoy the interview!
What is your name?

Preston Howard

What do you look like?

A lady friend of mine once described me as a fetchin’ guy, whatever that meant! Plus, she had some kind of serious eyesight issue.  But really, other than the Roman nose, somewhat bald head, and deep blue eyes, nothing else to mention.

Where are you today and what are you doing?

I am out on the back deck of my condo, overlooking beautiful Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, AR, and doing what I always do here: write, write, write! Will the IRS let me take the deck as a business deduction for my office?

You come face to face with your worse enemy. How do you react?

Ignore him or her. I won’t expend one whit of energy on execrable human beings, I always wanted to use the word “execrable”------not sure it’s the exact fit, but what the hell.

You keep a photo album of memories from your lifetime. If you could only keep one photo, which one would that be?

A picture of my grandfather Buster-----a major figure in my book-------holding my hand at around four years old, circa 1948. Buster’s Volkswagen Bug sits in the background; likely one of the first in the U.S.

A police officer stops you for a minor violation. What violation is that and how do you react?                                               

Probably a speeding violation, which I have happily avoided for years. I would be polite to the officer------my book centers around cops, who were a passion for my entire career.
Do you have any phobias? What are they and how intense are they? How have they impacted your life?

A terrifying encounter with heights, and intense doesn’t even begin to describe my fear. When I was hiking up Mount Rainier the first time with my oldest son, we were walking right by a crevice and I completely froze up. My son gently put his hand on my right arm and said “Don’t look down, Dad,” and I got through it. But I have stayed away from Rainier ever since!

How do you feel about mortality?

Years ago, I worried about death, but not any longer. At seventy-four years old, I realize several things: I have almost made it to the average mortality rate for men; my life has been blessed many times over; and the Grim Reaper is right around the corner ready to take me off to some other place. I no longer fear the Grim Reaper or death…all part of the cycle of life.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

Read, read, read! Right now, I am reading “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler, a gripping tale about the decline of our country in the 2020’s----more poverty and crime, and lack of food and water. I sadly believe this prediction is way too likely.

Who is your best friend?

My two best friends have both died, one from cancer and the other from Alzheimer’s. I cared for both men, and they show up in fictional form in my book “The Sheltering Palms,” both in the dedication and the chapters titled “Journeys across America” and “Chris.”

Are you faith-oriented? 

Not in the religious sense but maybe in the sense that there is a universal force beyond our understanding. My current beliefs can be best explained in the book’s chapter titled “How I Became a Truly Ignorant Man.”

Are you married or in a relationship?

Married, and how my wife has put up with all my bullshit for forty-two years is beyond my comprehension.

Do you have children?

Six: yours, mine and ours. All of them lead productive lives, which is the best you can ever hope for.

You are at the zoo. What is your favorite animal?

The apes, because they are a gene or two away from humans, and they sometimes remind me of some of my more clownish friends.

You just woke up to find that war has been declared. What’s the first thing you would do?

Pour a glass of expensive brandy, smoke one of my good cigars, and hope the bomb centers right over my head so I don’t have to endure the aftermath.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to play first base for the old New York Giants, but back in the fifties I believe that Whitey Lockman would not have appreciated me poaching on his position. Besides, in my chapter titled “Fire Ballin’ Lefty,” you will discover that my abilities on the baseball field never endeared me to the major leagues.

If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would that be?

Patience has never been one of my virtues. In fact, I have been going nuts trying to hurry up and finish this damn questionnaire! LOL

About the Author

Preston Howard spent his entire career working on behalf of police officers, representing them under adverse circumstances, negotiating contracts to improve officers’ benefits and working conditions, and training police union officials in the art of leadership. He has written numerous books and lectured not only in this country but abroad as well.
His latest book is the fictional autobiography/historical fiction/satire, The Sheltering Palms.
Website Address:   
Facebook Address: Preston Howard - Author

About the Book:

Preston Howard
Preston Howard Press
Pages: 519
Fictional Autobiography/Historical Fiction/Satire

Renowned police labor lawyer, Preston Howard, reached a watershed in his life—a forced retirement from the firm he built from the ground up and a cancer diagnosis. These two events made him take a step back and reflect over a life that had at times been hilarious, irreverent, self-mocking, eerie and even a bit, make that, quite lewd.
A family of unique characters guided the lawyer’s formative years: a bourbon-swilling, brilliant yet flawed grandfather who mentored the young lad in matters of religion, politics and the quest for knowledge; a psychic mother; an oversexed nanny; an aunt and uncle who fought on the front lines of integration; and a fire-balling uncle who got his fifteen minutes of fame in The Show.
Preston Howard first made his mark as a crime-fighting attorney representing the Tucson Police Department. Then he spent over forty illustrious years as a labor lawyer working with police officers and union leaders and handling the gamut of fascinating, high-profile cases across the country and even in other countries.
His many tall yarns might be viewed by some with the greatest suspicion, but his story-telling is undeniably first-class, witty, and absorbing.

“The best book I’ve ever read about lawyers, cops, and unions.” Bob Helpert, Tucson, Arizona


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