First of all, know that I am a writer, not a regular blogger. Just like any other person in any profession, writers come in different sizes, shapes, and genres. There are bloggers, journalists, biographers, how-to-writers, Indie writers, Traditional writers, non-fiction authors, and novelists, and even within the writer categories, there are untold sub-categories. Novelists write in hundreds of genres; non-fiction writers also have hundreds of genres to choose from… I could go on and on, but let’s stop here for now.
There is one thing that I believe crosses every category, every genre, and every writer: ‘The Question’.
What is ‘the question’? Well, obviously, it must be the most burning issue ever, if it effects all writers, right? Well, maybe. Here are two versions of the question: Where do you get your ideas from? / Where did you get your idea for this book from?
While there is usually a generic answer most of us use—unless there was an earth shattering and mind blowing epiphany—that goes something like…”I watch people and as I observe them going about their lives, questions rise in my mind and soon I find myself creating a story around that particular situation.”
I believe what I’ve just told you is absolutely true, for the most part. But it’s just outside of ‘the most part’, where the real answers lay. Just the mention of my new novel brings the question out immediately. “Why write a novel based on a song, and, really, who does that?”
So, before you have a chance to ask me that question, let me answer it. I first heard Harry Chapin in the early seventies—’72/’73— on the radio, and I became a fan. I never missed a Harry Chapin performance at Alice Tully Hall, and listening and watching him perform, was like having a friend playing guitar and singing in my living room. I think if you ask any fan, you’ll get a similar response. “Harry wasn’t just a singer, he was a friend. Somehow, Harry Chapin crossed an invisible barrier and achieved what few do. And for me, the aspiring writer, he spoke to me as a storyteller even more than a singer.
Let’s fast forward to one of his concerts, where he performed ‘A Better Place To Be’. The first time I heard that song was my epiphany, so to speak. The song created a question in my mind: Who was the man he was singing about? What had happened to him, to create the situation the song detailed? Oh, yeah, I’ve been carrying the germ of an idea around in my head for far too many years. In the time between then and now, I’ve had three children and written and published thirty-nine novels. A Better Place To Be, released December 1, of this year will be my fortieth—it is also the first novel of this type I’ve written.
What pushed you to finally write A Better Place To Be, comes the question again.
I have no choice but to answer in the arena of brutal honesty. The death of my son, Zach, this past January, pushed me to write the book. There is nothing like the loss of a child to make one examine one’s own life. And this was no exception.
Perhaps it was coincidental, but a few months earlier, I had begun to once again think about the song. And then, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, shortly after Zach’s passing, I heard the song on the radio as I was driving. By the time A Better Place To Be, finished on Classic Vinyl, I couldn’t help but think of my son, and I realized that my life was moving forward even if I wasn’t, and even if I didn’t want it to.
How much time did I have left to get to those things I wanted to accomplish? That’s an unanswerable question, because no one knows the future. So, a week or so later, I sat down and started A Better Place To Be.
I wasn’t sure about what I was doing, or how to go about creating the backstory to a song. As far as I knew, writing a book based on a song, had only been done for children’s books. Even the great David Bowie once tried to create a play based on his song, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and it did not reach fruition. If he couldn’t, what made me think I could do something similar?
What I did was to ignore everything and just write. While I feared this would turn into a project about my son, that fear never materialized because Harry Chapin didn’t right about my son; instead, it grew into a story about a man who lost everything and who had to learn how to not only survive, but find A Better Place To Be.
The final four chapters of the book, is the song. The twenty-six chapters preceding the final four, make up the backstory.
Because I believe Harry Chapin was a special person, and one who far exceeded the title of ‘entertainer’, I have decided to donate a portion of my royalties to WhyHunger, the organization Harry created to end world hunger.
And that is the answer to, THE QUESTION.
For those who are interested in reading ‘A Better Place To Be: Based on the Harry Chapin Song’, it is available in all eBook formats, from most of the worlds’ online retailers, and in Paperback from both online retailers or at your local bookstore.
Links for David Wind
A Better Place To Be: books2read.com/u/bQBjDw
David’s Website: davidwind.com
David’s Amazon Author Page: amzn.to/15Pec6
Facebook: FaceBook: facebook.com/authordavidwind