“What inspired you to write Closure?”
This is the question I get the most and I wish I had an incredibly insightful and deeply inspiring answer to offer in return. Something that would just blow the reader’s mind with its awe-inducing wisdom and prompt them to inhale the rest of my writings for more of the same.
But I don’t.
At least I thought so. The inspiration for Closure comes from a dark period in our nation’s history. One that has unfortunately been repeated several times since. The Maryland Sniper shootings of 2002.
At the time I was a paramedic, spending many hours a day meeting people on what would be the worst days of their lives and fighting to get them through it. While doing so there was someone else a few hundred miles away doing the exact opposite. My partner and I spent our time between calls following the story as it played out across Virginia and Maryland.
It was different from Columbine or any other mass shooting we had heard of up to that point. Mostly due to its randomness. That, and the fact that nobody had voiced a reason for what they were doing. The combination of the two was unnerving and my partner, who like me had an interest in such things philosophically, uttered this; “Why can’t they at least shoot someone who needs it?”
Now, “Who needs it” is of course different depending on who you are speaking with, but in 2002 we were not long after 9-11 and the country was divided on several things. We were gearing up for a second war in Iraq. The politicians were capitalizing on the fear generated by 9-11 to implement laws that overstepped what most would consider our basic freedoms and the gap between the haves and have-nots was getting wider every day. There was a lot of uncertainty, and with that always comes fear. So, most people had no problem coming up with a list of people that they felt we could do without. Maybe not to the point of shooting them in the streets, but the frustration was certainly building, and it has only gotten worse since.
His statement made me think. “What if they did?”
And an idea was hatched. From that idea, Sam Shepherd was born. I don’t think Sam’s frustration was different from the frustration we feel today. Sam’s pain just happened to be very close to home and he had the skills to do something about it. I think I had the outline done by the end of the week.
The idea sat for many years before it was turned into the book Closure.
But that was then and this is now.
It’s been years since the Maryland shootings and the frustration level has grown both in real life and on the pages of my books. The Twelve Shepherds picks up Sam’s mission in today’s world. I get fan-mail from readers that wish what happened in the books was happening for real. I respond with two words.
Change at the barrel of a gun is always short-lived and I would hate to see it tried here in the United States. Let Hollywood do it, there’s no need to bring things to that level. The question everyone should ask is “How does that end?”
I’m glad that people are enjoying the books, but they’re just books.
Let’s keep them that way.