Readers often ask where ideas come from. Why did you write this one? What was the spark?
This time, it was my nephew. He is like my son. He lost his mother young. She lived a chaotic life and ultimately an infection took her life. Well, one day I wondered what would he do if he found out his mother was alive? [She’s not. This is fiction.] But what would happen if her return dragged him into her world of chaos? Then I tried to imagine what a young man who had finally gotten his life together would do if confronted with a command: find and save your father. But he didn’t know his father.
Readers also ask what it takes to write a story. Lots of rewrites! When I first wrote this one, it was eons longer by at least 100 pages. I had written it using a number of points of view in addition to Chase’s. I worked it and worked it. I set it aside for a year. I had some early readers give me their thoughts. I had an independent editor take a look at it. We realized it simply didn’t have the pace that I wanted.
That was when I decided to cut out the other points of view and switched it to first person. The whole story, from Chase’s POV. Because I had written the other characters’ stories, I knew where they were at all times. It was a wonderful writing experience.
I hope you will appreciate the love and effort put into it.
By Chase Day:
I am a history professor at a boutique college in the San Francisco Bay Area and a former Navy lieutenant. Occasionally I offer my time as an art therapy teacher at the Outreach Hostel, which my friend Reggie Ramirez runs. She can be tough as nails, but she has a heart of gold. Early in my life, I learned that art could help someone like me express what ate us up inside. I didn't have an ideal childhood. My mother died when I was five. I never met my father.
Because of the chip on my shoulder, I messed up things with my high school girlfriend. I messed up things with the woman who came after that, too. Status currently: single.
Kimo Cho, also a professor at Weyford, is my best friend. We went to high school and college together. We even joined the Navy via Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps, aka NROTC, at the same time. Neither of us considered the Navy a calling—we wanted to see the world—but our lead or be led attitudes took us far. Both of us went on to become officers. My stint in the Navy made me take war seriously. I needed to understand who and why. Subsequently, I became an expert in the field.
I'm happy with my life. I like teaching. I enjoy my students. I don't relish the run-ins with the dean of students—our political ideas don't mesh; I'm left of his right--but I make do.
My favorite time of day is when I take my Labrador retriever, Buddy, out for walks. My mind clears. My breathing calms. Occasionally, I think of the past and wonder how life could have turned out differently if only.
But if only is for fairy tales. I am anchored in reality.