A broken leg, a cast. A broken heart, a story

January 13, 2024
A broken leg, a cast. A broken heart, a story

I’m often asked how I came up with the ideas for my novels. I cover a lot of territory: war, meaning, redemption, truth. There was no plan, or checklist covering these topics. What surprises me most is the consistent presence of the strained father-son relationship theme. I never sought to explore that. Yet, the theme is pivotal in Sacred Duty and American Red. Why? I don’t have a good answer. The creative process, writing novels particularly, remains mysterious to me. Most of the time it felt like I stumbled upon an unfamiliar trail in a dense wood- beckoning me to traverse it, strangely leading me through twists and turns, the initial awkwardness of first steps, a certain stride, each step making sense and at other times a painful back peddling-ending with the awareness that the path took me, carried me in a push and pull beyond my control. Somehow it was always there waiting for me to join it, to get me through the dark wood of empty pages and impossible dreams. And, to heal me.

Nothing has transformed my relationship with my father more than the writing of these books. My father has long passed, and yet his influence remains. I still want him to be proud of me, and wish he could have enjoyed my stories. I’m certain he would have, that he would be proud. He was a veracious reader and collected many World War two books. His influence is certain. We had a strained relationship that thankfully ended well. So, the answer is ultimately not so elusive. I explored the father-son dynamic because it was in me waiting to be dealt with in ways no therapy or prayer could. Yet it was all God. He saw the unresolved dark spots of my subconscious that unfortunately always find a way to leak out in daily life. And he chose story, the wandering on the unknown path, a gentle, glorious parable, a healing medium to make me more whole. That is my heart’s desire for anyone who reads my books; you cannot heal what you cannot name or see or feel. Story is simply seeing the unseen, felling the unfelt, dreaming the impossible…story is healing.