We had the good fortune of connecting with Randy Lindsay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Randy, how do you think about risk?
Taking a risk had a major, life-altering affect on my life. Although, I didn’t realize at the time that I was taking a risk. Four years ago, I took a DNA test as part of my family history research. When the results came back, I found out that my dad wasn’t my biological father. My bio-dad lived across the country in New Jersey. It was a shocking experience. Once I came to terms with the fact that I had two different families, I made a trip out to see the family I didn’t know. It was a great event in my life. I eventually wrote a book about it, The Milkman’s Son. I wanted to share my story with people who were in a similar situation, hoping that it might help them deal with the emotional trauma that this revelation brings. I wanted them to see that it was more important to enjoy your life with the people who love you than it is to worry about whether they are related to you by blood. And mostly I wanted to give others the courage to take a DNA test, because you can only know who you are if you know your family. (In this case, blood relatives.) This risk permitted me to know myself better and why I am the way I am.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an author. Before writing The Milkman’s Son, I wrote only fantasy and science-fiction. But the memoir has opened my eyes to the beauty of non-fiction and general fiction. It was an experience that freed me to write in my own voice. I have an easy to read style and the comment I hear most often about my books is that the readers couldn’t put them down. I started writing a little bit later in life than I would have liked. It took me that long to realize that I wanted to tell stories to the world. I took creative writing classes at the local community college and read dozens of books on the subject. My first attempt at putting together a book turned out pretty horrible, but I improved. Eventually, I started attending conference and learning there as well. My association with other writers put me into a position where I was judging first chapter contests, hosting a blog about writing, and doing a YouTube show (So You Think You Can Write) that gave feedback on the first page of a story that people sent us. Somewhere along the way, I had my first book published by Cedar Fort. My experience shows that a person can make their dreams come true if they are willing to work hard, learn the necessary skills, and reach out to others in the industry. Not only that, but it’s never to late too start a new journey in your life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Right now, it’s a tough to show a friend around because of the COVID-19 situation. However, many restaurants are still open and it has always been my experience that food is at the center of what we celebrate in life. My week-long itinerary includes seven spots where you can safely social-distance and seven must try restaurants. Day 1 – Papago Park and Hole in the Rock. Situated right next to the Phoenix Zoo, this park boasts a landscape that I’ve only ever seen in Arizona. Climbing up to Hole in the Rock is relatively easy, for a climbing experience and then you can enjoy the view. For an experience as unique to Phoenix requires an equally original meal. Navajo tacos at El Bravo Mexican Food. The Navajo taco is basically a tostada made with fry bread and the best ones are at El Bravo. Day 2 – Camelback Mountain provides a scenic view of the Arizona desert as you hike up the mountain. Then you can take a rest and admire the beauty of the city itself. Sun rise hikes are best as you can see Phoenix in the early-morning light. Afterwards, you can over to my favorite breakfast spot – Crackers and Company in Mesa. They offer many of the traditional breakfast offerings along with a few dishes that land more on the creative side of the culinary experience. I love eating here in March, when they offer their version of an Irish skillet. Until then, I can satisfy myself with a Southwest Chorizo Carnitas skillet, or a Greek omelet, or even a Breakfast Parfait. Day 3 – Old Town Scottsdale as the name suggests, will take you (visually) into the past. This district has an authentic western feel to it. Traditionally, if offers opportunities for souvenirs and the arts, but a little window shopping can still be fun. While you are in the area, you can stop at Los Olivos Mexican Patio. They serve authentic Mexican food with an atmosphere that is south-of-the-border. Day 4 – Heritage Square turned some of the original 19th century homes into restaurants and museums. This is a chance to stroll through the streets of Phoenix when it was a much smaller oasis in the desert. Enjoy the architecture up close with a visit to one of the many restaurants located there. My suggestion is Pizzeria Bianco. The restaurant is so popular that they have expanded to five location. Not in the mood for pizza? Then try one of their focaccia sandwiches. Day 5 – South Mountain Park provides a beautiful view of Phoenix at night and doesn’t require any hiking to reach some of the spots. However, if you want a daytime hiking trip, keep your eyes open for ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks. If you’re looking for a place to eat before watching the city lights with someone special, try Rustler’s Roost. They offer western-style steaks, ribs, and brews. Rustler’s Roost has been around a long time. Restaurants don’t last this long unless they’re doing something right. Day 6 – The Desert Botanical Garden is an amazing combination of art and nature. Stroll among the bushes, trees, and flowers of the desert to enjoy the beauty of a landscape-less-appreciated. Then head over to Green New American Vegetarian for a vegan-style feast. They serve comfort food and celebrate vegetables. This includes vegan Buffalo Wings, East Coast Fries, and Eggless Rolls. Day 7 – After a busy week of hiking and sight-seeing we deserve a break. Our stop today is Top of the Rock. This restaurant is an activity and a place to eat all-in-one. While you are sitting on the top of the rock, you can look down on Phoenix. Sundown is best so you can watch the transition into Phoenix After Dark. The food and staff are top rated as well. Whatever you try will be amazing, but I recommend the Ribeye steak with a side of Pancetta Mac and Cheese. Yum.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ancestry.com. In addition to giving people access to records that allow them to discover their family history, this company also administers DNA tests to connect you to living relatives. Surprise results happen more often than most people would guess. And if this happens to you, Ancestry can help you contact those relatives. I doubt anyone wants to find out they have a different father, or an extra sibling, this is important information and it would be a tragedy to go through life without ever finding out the truth. Not all of these encounters turn out as happy, Lifetime movie events, but they do provide information that will allow you to make more sense of your life. And the positive that comes from connecting with a new family that loves you is worth taking the risk that the same family might reject you. At the very least, a discovery like this can provide important medical information. Thanks Ancestry for connecting me to the fun and crazy folks that turned out to be my family.
Other: https://amzn.to/2XYJynh https://www.ksl.com/article/46736235/author-discovers-dad-is-not-his-biological-father-after-taking-dna-test
All of these images are mine.