Friday, September 23, 2011

Story behind the story - Legal Artistry - Andrew Grey

I got the idea for Legal Artistry as I was watching a documentary on the theft and recovery of Nazi art treasures.  Many countries in Europe did a marvelous job of getting artworks back to their owners, but some didn’t.  So I decided I wanted to write a story around the recovery of Nazi art.  In my research I read about a case where an American sued here in the U.S. for the return of their artworks and the idea for Legal Artistry came to full fruition.   I have always been interested in art as well as history, and this story has both.  It begins in World War II, long before the story is actually told.

Once I had the story in mind, I decided to place it in the Bottled Up universe because I already had some wonderful characters that could help move the story along.  I had Mark, the artist, who could provide a great deal of the art history information, as well as Tyler, who lived just down the street and is now Mark’s partner.  I also had Sean and his wine store, where Dieter worked once he was old enough.  This story seemed like a perfect fit, and I’m so pleased it worked out.

The legal aspect of the story was one of the hardest parts for me to research and get right.  I was blessed with the input of a number of friends who happen to be lawyers.  They advised me on the procedures and gave advice on a number of the legal aspects I used.  I will say that in order to make parts of the story work, I had to compress some things within the legal timeline, but I tried to keep the process as authentic and real as I could.

I will confess that as I was writing the story, I used a lot of people from my own childhood as the basis for many of the characters. Dieter’s grandmother is based on my own memories of my grandmother, and Auntie Kate is based upon a real person from my childhood as well.  While I was writing those portions of the story, I found myself choking up a number of times as I remembered things I’d long thought I’d forgotten from my own childhood.

The last piece of the puzzle to fit into place was the painting itself.  I worked with artist Anne Cain to actually develop the painting that you see on the book cover.  This is a real work of art that Anne created based upon my descriptions in the book.  So, here’s to the one person without whom I could not have written this story, The Woman in Blue.

Years ago, Dieter Krumpf’s grandmother died and left him everything, including a photo album containing pictures of the art collection she left behind when her family fled the Nazis. Now, Dieter is calling on the services of a lawyer, Gerald Young, to determine whether his family’s legacy might be returned to him.

Gerald doesn’t hold out much hope that the paintings will be returned, but Dieter’s earnestness speaks to him and he agrees to help. At first he concludes that while Dieter has a case, suing in Austria isn’t practical. But Gerald is a good lawyer, and as his feelings for Dieter develop, so does his determination to win the case. Together, Gerald and Dieter navigate research, hearings, and a dysfunctional family in the pursuit of fine art—and discover the art of love along the way.
Gerald shifted in his chair, trying to get a better look at this gorgeous gazelle of a man, and as he glanced around, it looked like every guy in the club was trying to do the same thing, even the posers. 

“If you’re interested in him, good luck!” Stan slurred from across the table, yet another empty beer glass in front of him.

“Why?” Gerald asked without taking his eyes off the dancer, waiting for him to turn around. Gerald was already picturing the man’s face, and he needed to see what he looked like.

“He only dances. Never with anyone else, and he never goes home with anyone. He only dances, for hours on end,” Stan clarified, his eyes becoming glassy and unfocused. Lucky for Gerald, one of the bouncers saw him and made his way to the table and helped Stan away.

“He always does this,” the bouncer explained as he helped Stan to his feet. “The man never knows when to stop.” Gerald thanked him and asked if he needed help, but the huge bouncer shook his head and led Stan to what Gerald hoped was a safe place where he could sober up for a while.

Gerald looked back at the dance floor and saw that the dancer had turned around. Gerald saw big blue eyes and a head of blond hair, made red in the light, but he knew him. Finishing his beer, Gerald stood up and walked across the club as the music ended and the dancer stopped his movements, waiting for the next song. Gerald knew he only had a few seconds. “What would your Gram say if she saw you now?”

Dieter whipped around, the fire burning in his eyes quickly turning to pain and hurt. He’d only been teasing, but Gerald realized he’d accidentally hit on a source of pain. “Sorry, I was only kidding,” he added hastily and saw Dieter’s expression soften. “I only wanted to get your attention.” It appeared he’d done that, and he’d also answered the question of whether Dieter was gay. He must have changed clothes, and Gerald took in the slim-legged jeans and tight shirt that hugged Dieter’s frame. Dieter wasn’t muscular, but what Gerald saw turned him on like nobody’s business.

The music began again, and Gerald moved away, expecting Dieter to begin dancing, but he seemed to be following him. Of course the table he’d had was gone, so Gerald found a small area of unoccupied space. “What are you doing here?” Dieter asked, but he didn’t seem upset any longer.

“I just needed to let off some steam, I guess,” Gerald confessed. “I could ask you the same thing,” he countered.

“Just dancing,” Dieter answered matter-of-factly.

“Yeah, I saw,” Gerald said almost yelling now over the music. “I’m sorry about my crack about your Gram. I didn’t mean anything by it.” He really hadn’t.

“Thanks,” Dieter yelled back. Gerald figured any sort of conversation was nearly impossible, so he stood there looking at Dieter, who looked back at him, as confused as Gerald was about what to do next. 

“Wanna dance?” Dieter asked him before practically pulling him toward the floor. Gerald had two left feet and couldn’t dance to save his soul, but he let himself be led to the floor, and when Dieter began to move, Gerald went along, following his lead, trying not to embarrass himself too much. 

“Just move your body to the music,” Dieter told him when they were standing close. “Don’t be self-conscious and don’t worry about what anyone thinks, because it doesn’t matter. Just let yourself go.” Dieter began to move, and Gerald closed his eyes, letting the music inside. 
At first, Gerald simply swayed to the music, but then he began to move more and more. When Dieter put his hands on Gerald’s hips, Gerald forgot about everything but where those warm hands touched his body. Then he was dancing. It might not have been pretty or even very good, but Dieter smiled at him, and they danced.

Time seemed to move independently of them, especially since he spent the rest of the evening looking into Dieter’s eyes and with a perpetual hard-on in his pants. Every time he felt Dieter’s touch, a jolt of desire zinged through him, but Dieter made no move to do anything other than dance. Not that Gerald should have been surprised—it’s what Dieter seemed to do, although judging from the puzzled and jealous looks of the other people in the club, it was true that Dieter usually danced alone.

The song ended and a bell sounded, the lighting in the club increasing. Gerald blinked a few times, having gotten used to the dimness, and he realized it was last call. Dieter stopped moving, standing on the dance floor as people moved around them, most of them trying for a last hookup before the night ended.

Gerald looked deep into Dieter’s eyes and saw him lick his lips, that pink tongue making an appearance once again. Gerald leaned closer, wondering how Dieter’s lips would taste and how quickly Gerald could move to sampling the rest of Dieter’s mouth and everything else he could get his tongue, lips, and hands on. Right now, the whole thing about Dieter being a client was far from his mind. All he saw right now was the most enthrallingly sexy man he’d ever met in his life, and Gerald had rarely wanted anything as much as he wanted to get Dieter into his bed. And if the look he was getting were any indication, Dieter seemed to want that too. Gerald moved closer, his lips parting, and he saw Dieter’s eyes drift shut and his head tilt ever so slightly.

Someone bumped into Dieter as they passed, excusing himself as he went by, and Dieter looked away for just a second, but it was enough to break the spell. Gerald realized what he’d been about to do, and Dieter seemed to as well. In the light, Gerald saw Dieter color and look away. Gerald stepped back to give Dieter some space. “I think we should be leaving,” Dieter said, and Gerald nodded, not quite sure what he meant, but he felt a glimmer of hope well inside.

Dieter led the way to the door, and Gerald followed him outside. “Do you need a ride home? Or…,” Gerald said open-endedly.

Dieter studied him for a few seconds before pointing and saying, “My car’s over here, and I haven’t been drinking, so I’m fine.” Dieter began walking toward his car. “Good night, Gerald,” Dieter called warmly.

Gerald watched him walk away, feeling unexpectedly disappointed. Once he saw Dieter turn the corner, Gerald walked to his own car. 


Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew's hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Andrew Grey said...


Thank you so much for hosting me.


Diana Castilleja said...

Love reading all the background on this book. I'm looking forward to reading very much. :)

Jadette Paige said...

Hi Andrew! Thank you for guesting.

Hi Diana, thanks for stopping by!