I was driving when the spark for this story happened. A helicopter flew over and I looked up to see if it was the medical helicopter, the local news, or a military chopper. For some reason that made me start thinking about how helicopters are used for great things, like medical rescues or dumping water on fires, but how they can also be frightening for some people. Specifically people with PTSD, people for whom the sound of chopper blades might be related to unpleasant memories. I started to wonder about the varying degrees of suffering caused by PTSD, which became thoughts about the multiple forms of mental illness and addiction (hello, welcome to the rabbit hole that is my mind). Suddenly, I had an image of Ray on the porch swing. This was the first time I got a supporting character before the main character. But when I realized I was seeing him through Dawn’s eyes, it was on. She had a story to tell.
-Shelli Cornelison, author of “Halfway From”
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