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About the author:
***Book of the Month award winner from the Association of Independent Authors
What inspired you to write your book?
I always knew I would be an author, I just never knew what I would write about. On March 15th, 1998 my wife and I lost our son Ethan at birth. He was full term and stillborn. The words that poured from me in the days that followed were the seeds of this novel. At its essence, this is a book about love and loss, disappointment and grief, and recovery.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“So? How are you doing?” Grandma asks.
We’re in the car, returning from Glidden where we had been grocery shopping. She wants me to bring up Ethan. I’m not going to.
“Fine,” I say. “Thanks again for letting me stay with you guys for a few nights.”
“Oh, that’s no problem. It’s nice having some company. Your grandfather and I don’t get many visitors anymore, you know.”
At forty miles-per-hour, the six-mile trip from Glidden to Willow Grove can be excruciating, which is exactly what the drivers in the line of cars behind Grandma are thinking, I’m sure. That stretch of route 38 has just enough curves and hills to make passing a near impossibility. When we come upon the one straight and flat stretch of that part highway, three cars whiz past, each with horns a-honking.
“Oh, those must be friends of yours,” Grandma says. “They were waving.”
“Yeah, and they think I’m number one, too,” I mumble.
As we approach my old high school, Grandma slows even more and points at the small farmhouse across the road from it.
“You see that there? Ain’t that something?”
She’s pointing at a great big red hay barn that has been around as long as I can remember. Except now it has a hole right through its center.
“Wow, what the heck happened there?”
“Them tornadoes we had a few weeks back. Two touched down. One got the best of that barn.”
What a strange sight to behold. Like a freight train had driven right through it.
“It looks like God tipped that tornado on its side and drilled a hole through its center,” I say.
“I believe God does things like that sometimes.”
“I believe God can be random and cruel, if that’s what you mean.”
“There’s always a purpose, Tucker,” she says with the kind of look that only the elderly can offer. Her eyes are as blue with promise as they must have been the day she was born. Those eyes have not aged at all, but the lids above them are heavy with years and the skin below them sags.
“Really? And what’s the purpose of putting a hole through the middle of that barn, Grandma?”
“Maybe to show us that it survived,” Grandma says. “That barn will come down some day, but it won’t be because of that tornado or the hole that it left. It still stands, even with the hole right through its center. And besides, now you can see what’s on the other side of it. You never could before.”
“I looked, Grandma. I didn’t see anything on the other side.”
“I know, Tucker. That’s what bothers me. People who don’t see nothing on the other side of something like that, well, that’s about what they live for—nothin’.”
When we get back, I send Grandma inside and carry the groceries in myself. Howard Cooper, in his garden once again, smiles and waves at me. Seems like he spends all his time these days tending to those plants and flowers. No radio playing. No headphones. Just Howard Cooper and the tools he needs to help things grow. I didn’t remember him being such an avid gardener. As a kid, I suppose I wouldn’t have noticed one way or the other so maybe he has been all along. Or maybe he started after Katie died.
I feel an overwhelming urge to have something to take care of. I want to fix the hole in that barn, but know that’s beyond my capabilities. I will have to find something else that needs repair.