My father would have been 71 years old today. Two years ago, on his 69th birthday, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His fight against this horrid disease lasted until September 9, 2016. To be honest, it doesn’t always feel like he’s really gone. He traveled a lot for work, so it really just feels sometimes like he’s been on a really long business trip.
My dad wanted to be a forest ranger. Before he died, I promised him I would immortalize him in fiction. I can think of no better way than to name my protagonist after him and base this character on my father in many ways. While James Stanworth, my main character, is also based on Thomas Stanton, a real guy who lived in 17th-century Connecticut, there’s a lot of my father in his characterization as well.
Two years ago, I got the worst news I’d ever received in my whole life. Now, it feels good to be able to honor my father in the best way I know how. Happy birthday, Dad.