Read on after the blurb for our reviews and interview with John Comfort about his book “Panther in the Sun.”
“An enjoyable read . . . renders an anxious excitement as the undeserved hardships of a single American family unfold. . . . Truly, a story with a viewpoint and tradition not often told: that of the American Indian.”
–Chief Hatcher of the Waccamaw Tribe
After tragedy tears apart a Native American family, a father must endure harsh and unjust consequences and fight to find his children. We follow the separated lives of the father and his two sons as they make their way in an unforgiving and hostile world.
Panther in the Sun is a powerful story of courage, love, determination, and reconciliation.
John Comfort has drawn much inspiration from his grandfather, George Riser, whose ancestrally-diverse background includes Oglala Lakota Sioux bloodlines. George was an orphan, he endured great hardship during the Great Depression, and he fought as an elite Frogman in the island campaign of World War II.
Stacy’s Review *****Stars
Panther in the Sun was a moving story about a native American by that name. His family is torn apart by tragedy and injustice– I cried a few times through the book. It was heartbreaking. In spite of the sadness I felt, I liked the book. It was well written, depicting some common prejudices against American Indians in the early part of the 20th century, until around WWII. I could relate to different parts of the story (maybe that was why it had that effect on me), and angry too at the injustice. I was telling my son about it, he wants to read it as well. So sad. I received this book from the author. Thank you Mr. Comfort.
Panther in the Sun by John Comfort is a truly powerful story about a Native American (Panther in the Sun) and his family. Many events take place and they’re not predictable. The story is very fast paced and a brisk read. It’s full of suspense and surprises. I can truthfully see this turned into a movie.
I had many emotions while reading the book and found it genuinely impelling. This is the kind of book you sit down to read, and you don’t get back up for a really long time! You start to read and then remain because the story is that engaging.
I love the cover, writing style, and storyline. I loved it from beginning to end and I’m hopeful for another book!
Thanks to the author, John Comfort, for sharing a copy with me.
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOHN COMFORT
Twogalsandabook.com Have you always wanted to be a writer?
John Comfort: I never had aspirations to be a writer. However, I loved the creative writing classes I took in High School and College. Creative writing was/is natural to me. And, down the road, technical writing as well.
Twogalsandabook.com: When did you start writing?
John Comfort: I wrote my first novel in 2008. I was inspired to tell a story and so I did. Four hundred pages later I had created “Running for Our Lives”. After that, I just kept writing. I wrote four novels, “Panther in the Sun” included, as well as five feature length screenplays. I also wrote treatments for television, etc., etc. The first thing to hit was “Panther in the Sun”.
Twogalsandabook.com: Do you read much? If so, who are your favorite authors, and which author inspires you most?
John Comfort: Well, the reading I do, these days, is more research oriented. I am always curious about something or wanting to learn something new. I’m always trying to improve, in all areas of my life, and so a lot of what I read is geared towards that. Also, if a novel calls for research, then I read applicable info. My favorite novel, however, is “The Alchemist”. It’s a simple story with a simple yet poignant message. I read this many years back.
Twogalsandabook.com: What ambitions do you have for your writing career?
John Comfort: I am doing all that I can to promote “Panther in the Sun”. It was published in October of 2016, and is gaining traction. I feel that if it does “well” than I will be inspired to create more and revisit the many other works I already have. That being said, I enjoy writing. So, I will continue to write regardless how “well” “Panther in the Sun” does. It has opened up doors that were closed for a very long time, and I plan on taking advantage of that.
Twogalsandabook.com: Do you plan on writing more?
John Comfort: Yes. There is a lot to revisit and a lot to create!
Twogalsandabook.com: In Panther In The Sun, you said that inspiration for the book came from your grandfather, George Riser, who was Oglala Lakota Sioux. Is any of this captivating story you have written true from your grandfather’s life?
John Comfort: Yes. There are many parts of the story that are drawn from his life. He never knew his father (1/2 Lakota Sioux), and his mother put him and his two brothers into an orphanage. He was only a baby. All the brothers were separated. I wrote the story with the idea of “what if his father was always looking for him?” He grew up working on farms. He was essentially a servant to the different foster families he lived with. He was up at four a.m. at the age of eleven. Milking cows, shoveling crap, tilling fields with a horse, etc. He was more often than not treated terribly and lived a life full of abuse. To this day, he says that WW2 was easier than his childhood. But, my Grandfather is/was a warrior. He trapped furs in secret to buy school clothes. He fought off the bullying of awful kids. He worked extremely hard in the classroom as well as in school athletics. By the time he was eighteen, he earned a full academic/athletic scholarship to Ohio University. He was drafted into the Navy his sophomore year. He was chosen to be an elite Frogmen (now the SEALS) in the Island Campaign. He was the boxing champion of the Navy! He did and saw the most horrific things in the fight against Japan. He can’t go to a beach without experiencing severe PTSD. He says that all he sees are dead young men floating in bloody water. He graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Education. He taught Math and coached High School football for thirty years. He holds multiple Senior Olympic records, and just stopped competing last year. He’s 92! He’s always been an inspiration to me and I love him dearly. My mom and her sister didn’t find out we were part Lakota until they were in their 40’s. He found out who his father was after the war . But, he never told anyone about him. It was a thing of shame back then to be an “Injun” or “Redskin”. So, he protected his family from this knowledge. Anyways, yes, my grandfather is “incarnated” into the characters. I am as well. And my younger brother too!
Twogalsandabook.com: Was much research required for the book?
John Comfort: Yes and no. I had/have a pretty solid understanding of the Lakota people as well as the time period in which the novel is written. Also, I wasn’t setting out to write the typical “historical fiction” novel. However, I did a considerable amount of research when needed. I wanted accuracy when it came to many different things. This was a very intense period in U.S. History and I needed to have my facts straight when it came to the Depression, WW2, the Lakota, etc.
Twogalsandabook.com: What was the most difficult aspect of writing Panther In The Sun?
John Comfort: Writing about abuse is never easy. The emotions that were stirred up caused some discomfort. I remember writing some tough scenes. There were some parts I left alone and allowed the reader to fill in the blanks. Especially when it came to Charlie “Dakota”.
Twogalsandabook.com: Has a trailer been made for Panther In The Sun?
John Comfort: No. That’s a conversation I’m having with my publisher. They/he wants a sequel or prequel, but I am not inclined to do so. I love it that most of my readers want a sequel, but these are my thoughts on the matter: If I write a sequel or prequel, it HAS to be as good or better. Period. So, if I am struck with an idea that fits this bill, then of course. Also, I want to see how “Panther in the Sun” does before I do anything. As for now, the story is complete. I’m ready to move on with other novels. But, who knows, we’ll see!
Twogalsandabook.com: If Panther In The Sun was made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?
John Comfort: I’d play all of the roles! It’s a good question. You tell me! I see this novel as a “movie in a book form”. It would be really cool to see it on the big screen. I’m not sure who would play who. I’ll leave that to the casting crew! But, they would definitely have to consult with me first!
Twogalsandabook.com: What are you working on now?
John Comfort: I’m starting the editing process to “Running for Our Lives”. It’s gonna be a lot of work. But, it’s worth it.
Twogalsandabook.com: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
John Comfort: Write from your heart. Grant yourself freedom to just go for it. Don’t get caught up in perfection. Write what you like. Like what you write. Be original. Be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Don’t ever force creativity. Get multiple sources of feedback. Be open to new ideas. Embrace constructive criticism. Be open minded, but hold on, with all of your might, to your core values. Breathe. Have fun with it!
Twogalsandabook.com: How do you deal with writer’s block?
John Comfort: I have to have my life in order to write. That’s not to say life has to be perfect in order for me to write! Otherwise I’d never write. I require balance. Once balance is attained, I can put myself into writing mode. It’s a place of calm confidence where creativity can flourish.
Twogalsandabook.com: Is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t included?
John Comfort: Well, not off the top of my head! You give a great interview. Actually, I’d like to mention that I would love to do a book giveaway, but I can’t right now. I’m in a qualifying period for Bookbub and I am unable to giveaway anything for free (part of the deal with them). However, I am always looking for new readers. So, please look me up on Amazon and support the cause!
Twogalsandabook.com: Are there any social media platform links where readers could connect with you?
John Comfort: You can find me on Goodreads, Facebook and my author website is: