Monday, January 12, 2015

Bodacious Back-stories ... by Bill Lamperes

My next novel, Like Father, Like Son, will be released in January. It will be my tenth book. I started writing the historical fiction story in September, 2013. The story explores the resolution of anger and isolation between father and his son. From the back cover:

“What’s this about?” Paul grumbled as he examined the contents of a safe-deposit box his deceased father, Philippe, had left him: A bag of gold coins, passports from three countries, a piece of the Berlin wall, a photo of a woman and baby, and the strangest item of all, a recipe for zombie paste. “That’s my inheritance?”

In a note, Philippe challenges Paul to discover the secrets he could never share with his son in life. Paul’s adventures take the reader across several continents as he encounters historical intrigue and life-changing revelations.

*****

The book evolved through a series of extraordinary back-stories. As a writer, my life has been blessed with what I call “serendipitous attraction.” Whenever I need a bodacious idea, the universe has sent me the right person at the appropriate time with a thought that attracts my attention and becomes embedded in my plot. Back-stories rarely fit into the book by themselves, but this encounter merits sharing. Last February, I went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for two weeks to isolate myself, research details for Like Father, Like Son, play golf, walk the beach and write.

I needed a character who was Canadian, an environmentalist, connected to the UN and still alive in 2001. This character would play a pivotal role in helping Paul resolve his father’s secrets. I surfed the Internet for several days before I found the ideal candidate. Maurice Strong met all of my criteria and I spent the next week researching his life, and then writing six chapters about his role into the novel. I left Myrtle Beach satisfied with my work and with a much improved golf game.

I drove back to Charleston to return the rental car and catch a flight back to Denver. Two hours early, I stopped for lunch in the airport bar. After ordering, I noticed a man sitting next to me engrossed in a book. I leaned over and asked what he was reading. I apologized for interrupting, and told him, as a writer, I wanted to know what topics interested today’s readers.

As if on cue, he asked what books I had written and the topic of my latest project. Excitedly, I told him about my previous two weeks and the search for Maurice Strong.

He starred at me and asked, “Do you mean Maurice Strong of Toronto?”

“Yes.”

“Do you mean the Maurice Strong who used to be the CEO of Hydro-Canada and went to the UN in 1972?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, I know him,” the man shrugged. “My wife and I lived a few houses down from him. As a matter of fact, I took his place at Hydro-Canada after he left.”

Surprised by his revelation, I Googled Strong’s picture on my cell phone, showed it to the man. “You know this person?”

“Yes, that’s Maurice,” the man smiled. “He looks a little older now, but yes, that’s him. What else do you want to know?”

We talked for the next half-hour and I learned more details about Strong than I needed to know. The chat gave me insights that confirmed all I wrote. Another “serendipitous attraction?” Before leaving, I asked the man what he was doing in Charleston. He told me he missed his flight the day before and had to stay over another day. I said, “There are no mistakes in life. You and I were meant to meet so I could write a better story.

Such events don’t astound me anymore. I seem to attract people who add richness and substance to my stories. I’m blessed with the gift of bodacious back-stories.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Bill Lamperes grew up in Chicago and spoke Greek and German in his home. In his first career, Bill served as an educator in Fort Collins, Colorado before moving to Arizona to invent an alternative school based on the ideas in his book, Making Change Happen: Shared Vision, No Limits. Bill served as the principal of Centennial High School in Fort Collins’ for twelve years.

After retiring a second time, Bill began writing novels in 2008. Like Father, Like Son is Bill’s tenth book, his second historical fiction. He is currently working on another book and editing an anthology.

Bill returned home to Fort Collins a year ago. After a ten year absence, he purchased a home close enough to Old Town to enjoy the vibrant life of the familiar place he left years ago. Bill has two sons who also live and work in Fort Collins. 

You can learn more about Bill's novels on the book page of his website, including Depositions, The Attendant, Out of the Zone, Voices, Jinx, Sierra: Shrink to Fit, and The Artifact. He can also be found on Facebook.

5 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What are the chances you would sit next to someone at the airport who knew the man? Now that's good fortune!

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Bill.

Bill - What serendipity! You're absolutely right, too: people - real people we meet - can add a lot of richness to writing. Wishing you success.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What a full and interesting life. My family loves to golf at Myrtle Beach but I've never had such a fortunate encounter while there.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is proof that you need to get out into the real world now and then.

LD Masterson said...

Wow. What a lucky encounter. If you used it in a story, someone would say it was too unbelievable.