Every book has a backstory. The motivation for Chasing Mayflies, released in July by eLectio Publishing, came out of the experience of watching my father lose a courageous battle with lung cancer. He exemplified for his six children, two dozen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren what a Christ-filled life looks like.
The novel explores an urgent request: What would you do if your best friend’s last wish was to help him escape from a hospice so he could “take care of a few things?”
So much of today’s fiction about end-of-life themes tend to be heavy tales of self-absorption. While my dad was the opposite of the main character in this ‘R.I.P.’-roaring, hilarious journey, he would agree with its central message that it’s never too late to seek forgiveness and the stairs to heaven are indeed built with good works. The good thief and the courage of Saint Peter are central in this poignant story of redemption balanced with a generous dose of humor in a race against time. I believe the lessons weaved throughout this tale are especially timely in this year of mercy and of particular interest to the Baby Boomers as they reflect on their lives.
But it takes courage to change your perspective! One key symbol used in the story are the tree-figure sculptures of Joseph Wheelwright who proves there is beauty when you turn things upside down. Wheelwright searches through the woods to find a yellow birch, cherry, or pine tree with just the right configuration of branches and root ball. When he harvests the tree, he turns it upside down. The root ball becomes the head, the split trunk his legs, the branches arms.
I have had a life-long passion for creative writing. Two of my novels reached the quarter-finalist stage in the highly competitive “Amazon Breakthrough Novel” contest. Lessons learned propelled Chasing Mayflies to runner-up status for the Tuscany Prize for Catholic fiction in 2014. The true prize however, proved to be the honor of working with award-winning editor Natalie Hanemann, Peter Mongeau of Tuscany Press and ultimately eLectio Publishing in bringing the novel to its full potential. Reviews posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites have been generous reflections of my intent: “a delightful blend of witty comedy coupled with poignant moments which cause reflection on our life’s choices, this book had me laughing and crying often on the same page.”
And in full transparency, my mother, brothers and sisters did break my father out of hospice the day before he died – but legally.
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Copyright 2016 Vin Donovan
About the author: Vin Donovan is grateful for his Catholic education; he graduated with a B.A in English from Merrimack College and earned an M.B.A from Rivier University. For the past twenty-seven years, Vin worked for an innovative life sciences company which enables bio-pharmaceutical companies to develop and manufacture life-saving therapeutics. He held a number of senior leadership roles before retiring this year. You can find more information on his website: http://www.vincentdonovanbooks.com