May 16, 2024

The beginning of any pursuit is important. If you start at the wrong place, you typically end at the wrong place. I have found this to be true in my many life experiences and particularly true in writing. Sacred Duty, my first book, to be released soon, began with a desire to tell multiple stories seemingly unconnected that later find a common flow, like several wandering streams all feeding into one mighty river.  The prologue opens in the 1970’s, in a small Texas prison, on death row. Lisa Means is set to be executed for three murders she committed. She’s a terrible person, evil personified, with a twisted mind that cares nothing for the devastation she’s caused the surviving families. She’s been in prison for twenty years and never had a visitor until now when Peter Engle, our protagonist visits with a gift What is the gift? A story with eternal consequences. 

The rest of the book centers on the pointed collapse of morality in Peter ’s life in the 1940’s  and his quest to end his existence  with some sense of righteousness, with an occasional return to their 1970’s existence; this writing technique, I recently discovered is known as an embedded narrative. I had no idea. I simply wrote wherever my imagination took me. That’s another blog for sure. I may be giving away too much, but you will not realize until the absolute end, if I’ve done my job well, that Peter’s story, I’ll call it the embedded story is really meant to tell a bigger story, involving Lisa and her ultimate redemption. 

We’ve all had the experience of being impacted by something meant for someone else. At an antique store I read a letter written by a soldier 100 years earlier. His words meant for his brother had a profound impact on me. Scared Duty is that on two levels. Peter’s story is his alone, but in its telling Lisa finds her story and what could be just before she is executed. And as you read it or listen to it, I believe you will find yourself therein, in the tragedy, the brokenness, the love, and ultimately in the hope.