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No dad should ever tell his son he’ll “never be worth a damn,” but Mark Laverty’s dad did.
What the dad doesn’t know is that Mark has so firmly coupled his intelligence with curiosity that he knows how he wants to begin his future. Guided by that feeling, he graduates from high school, earns money at a factory job, and buys an old black Cadillac.
With neither plan nor schedule, Mark says goodbye, gets into his trusty car “Mariah,” and begins a journey he hopes will lead him to his ultimate destiny.
After weeks of wandering, meeting interesting people, and encountering unexpected and sometimes harsh realities, he meets Cindy, a waitress at her dad’s cafe in Montana. Although attracted to her, he leaves to continue his travels. Months later, and responding to his original feeling for Cindy, he returns to her, only to become involved in her family’s financial troubles triggered by bad management on the family ranch. His deepening feelings for her are interrupted by his parents’ sudden health problems.
Then comes a phone call that challenges him with a startling life changing event. He’s subjected to severe tests of patience, courage, fairness, and acceptance. Both smoothly and awkwardly, those qualities fuel his rapid rise from young man to young adult.
In the end, Mark is able to live the American dream, his reward for always insisting on doing the right thing.
My Write Side
So, you might ask, why after all these years of writing facts, did I decide to write fiction? A ready answer would be: You’re never too old to be new. Having a purpose can add years to one’s life. Without purpose, a person simply sits and withers away.
I didn’t have a plan. Neither did I make a promise to myself or anyone else. Instead, the urge came out of nowhere, triggered by a brief conversation with a vacationer in Nova Scotia.
Nine mornings later, I got up in the dark, sat at the dinette in our travel trailer, and using that incident as a starting point, began to write. I didn’t stop until I’d written more than two thousand words of fiction.
For the first time in my life, I was creating a story and taking it in my choice of directions, inventing the characters and having them say and feel according to what I wanted them to be and to do. Never before had I felt such a sense of liberation. In startling contrast to my former forced format and deadline days, I could express my talent to fit my thinking and mood.
The story kept unfolding in an unpredictable manner with some words coming so fast I could hardly write them down quickly enough. Others came to me during the night. On some days, nothing happened. I took them as they came and never stopped until I’d written a second full length novel of more than a hundred thousand words.
Even before I’d finished that project, still another book idea had come to me. I stopped after writing about twenty pages, and asked a few friends if they thought that could serve as the beginning of a book. They agreed it could. So I kept writing until it, too, was book length.
At that point, I had to make a choice — go back to the draft of the first book and make that my first published novel, or begin the long and tedious process of editing and rewriting the draft of the second book. I chose the latter. The publishing of Goodbye Akron as the result.
Both books had equally strong but different story lines. The second manuscript, however, was easier to write and required less editing because of how much I had taught myself during that first attempt.
As I was writing Goodbye Akron, I got an idea for a third book. I finished it at about the same time as Goodbye Akron was ready to be published.
So, two more books are in my stable ready to be edited and otherwise made ready for you to eventually read. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you enjoy reading Goodbye Akron.