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Kay Ellington, a native of Snyder, Texas, and a graduate of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, has worked in newspaper management with Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Hearst, New York Times Regional Group, and family-owned papers from Texas to New York to California to the Carolinas and back again to Texas. She is the coauthor, with Barbara Brannon, of the West Texas novel The Paragraph Ranch.
Matt Minor currently serves as a chief of staff in the Texas House of Representatives. A well-regarded public speaker, he has worked as a political campaign manager. He has authored official state publications, oversees syndicated editorials, and acts as district radio legislative commentator. His novels focus on current events and how they affect the lives of real people, and life’s infinite messiness.
"A Political Thriller with Heart"
"[The Representative] is a terrific political thriller. Anyone interested in the behind the scenes maneuverings of a legislative body will enjoy this well written book. Matt Minor has developed the perfect Texas character...a musician...a poet...a romantic first, who finds himself embroiled in politics. Not many authors succeed in mixing genres, but Minor brings in the right amount of romance to offset any cynicism about the political process." —Amazon reader
Texas political insider Matt Minor, who lives with his wife, Stacy, on their ranch property in Wharton County, Texas, and maintains an apartment in Austin, recently took time during a busy legislative session to talk with LSLL.
LSLL: Besides the obvious career connection, what led you to write The Representative?
Matt Minor: For a while I’ve wanted to combine the concept of art and politics. Basically using the idea that if art is a search for truth then politics is the concealment of it. The protagonist [of The Representative] is a poet, but his true art form is his romanticism. This he conceals from the world until he arrives at the state capitol and discovers his first love is there as well. Can love survive politics? is the question I asked myself repeatedly while writing it. You’ll have to read the book to learn the answer.
How long have you been writing? What’s your educational background?
I’ve been writing for some years now. The Representative is third novel I’ve authored. As for education, I left college to pursue other aims.
How does your writing complement your public service career and vice versa?
Writing allows me to expose things that I would otherwise have to keep to myself.
Can you give us a brief timeline of your public service career? I have only been working in state government for three years. I worked as campaign manager for several years prior to working COS in the House.
5. Who are your favorite Texas authors? Larry McMurtry and Bill Crider (and honorary Texan James Michener).
Where do you go to write?
I’m always on the move. Wherever I can.
Do you have any favorite political novels, movies, or TV shows?
Novels: The Quiet American, Comedians, and The Human Factor, all by Graham Greene. Movies: Reds; Dr. Zhivago. TV shows: Breaking Bad; House of Cards.
8. Are you currently working on another novel? If so, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, it is the second novel in what I call my House District 100 trilogy. It ties up some loose ends from The Representative and introduces a new character who is the opposite of the Rep’s protagonist. Where the Rep’s JD Dothan is a rock ’n’ roll rebel, Mason Dixon is an introvert thrown into a world where people only know how to shout.
9. What was the last book you read?
Lancelot by Walker Percy.
10. And now for the clincher. Describe your quintessential Texas meal.
Lord . . . my wife says I’m culinary challenged because I’m so picky—that I order like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. But I do love a good sliced beef sandwich from time to time . . . with the sauce on the side of course.
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A terrorist attack on the Texas border, attributed to Mexican drug cartels, coincides with the federal government’s passage of a sweeping amnesty bill. This becomes fodder for the Texas Legislator, which pressures a weak governor to create a Select Joint Committee on Immigration Reform.
A handsome, charismatic former rocker and poet, John David (JD) Dothan unexpectedly wins his district when the long term Republican candidate goes down in disgrace. The night of the election the representative-elect hires a youthful, inexperienced, Tryphena Taylor as his Chief of Staff.
Quickly befriended by the Vice-Chair of the new Select Joint Committee, the freshman representative finds himself sitting on this prestigious yet controversial body with his “first love,” Senator Rachel Logan. Together, JD and Rachael become the public face of the committee’s contentious legislation.
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