What happens when you're already deep in a pit of self doubt and life throws its next curve your way?  What happens when your heart finally wakes up and you want to be the better person with those you love?  If that awakening happened in the middle of one of history's greatest disasters, leaving you 2,000 miles away from home--what could keep you from getting back to them to make things right?  For Richard Evans, the answers to these questions will have profound impact on where life takes him.  Years of loss and failure have drained him of joy.  Just as he makes peace with himself over his failures, the world plunges into chaos.

     One More details the spiritual and physical journey of a man in the midst of personal crisis, faced with the reality of a larger crisis being shaped around him.  Our world today makes it easy to be pleasant and kind to others.  But in the blink of an eye or a wink of the sun, we could find ourselves burdened with the choice to remain true to that which we aspire, or survive by whatever means necessary.  What price would we pay?  Who would we forsake?  What cost would be too much to remain true to our values.  Stripped of every comfort, what would we endure?  Richard Evans finds his answers to these questions in One More, a Solar Maximum Novel.

Author's Notes (NO Spoilers):

 

I haven't endured the worst trials that Richard does in my book but I've been through quite a few of the things that drove him into the pit.  I can't say I've overcome them all either.  People always like to say, "Be positive and things will get better."  But that doesn't always work so well, especially after a years of trying to create over and over and failing.  Personal experience and what I've witnessed in other people's lives drives much of the story in One More.  I pray I never experience the worst of what Richard Evans has to deal with.  But suffice it to say, I know why he felt cursed.  Coming up out of the miry clay is not a simple thing.  Many times it reveals what a person is made of.  Richard is strong.  How does his kind of strength help when the world goes dark?  That question and more significant thoughts await you in the pages of the story.

 

You may be curious about what motivated me to write this story.  Read on for some added  introductory content without spoilers---

For many writers, their creations develop from who they are and their observations of the world they inhabit.  For me, some of the parts that make up One More are deeply personal.  One of these personal pieces mentioned in the book is the drawing done by Richard's son, Chris.  It epitomizes the spiritual place Richard inhabits at the beginning of Chapter 1.  I really don't have the time to write all the events that put me into that place, but my son Luke sensed it and worked to draw a picture of what he saw in his father.

He took the weariness and the weight of the struggle to be a good father, while trying to do big things and put the whole thing perfectly into a picture for me one Christmas.  A picture might be worth a few thousand words here.  For me, it is priceless.

 

In that instant, I knew he and the rest of the family understood how beaten down I felt.  It's not a picture of a helpless person getting tired, it's a picture of someone equipped to fight.  Able to face huge challenges but in the end, a mortal man inhabits the inside of the steel armor.

 

The knight is not dead.  He just needs some peace.  Some time to catch his breath.  A knight doesn't fight just for himself.  He fights for others, on their behalf.  I know a lot of knights.  People who reach for places normal people don't go, get thrown to the ground and get up again, hopeful, but then are laid low over and over.  Sometimes they just don't want to get up again.

 

But they do after a moment of doubt.  They do it because they don't know how to give up.  They don't know how to quit.  These exhausting struggles I'm talking about aren't from doing a job or trying to reach a goal.

The struggles that put the knight down and exhaust his soul are the ones that make him question who he really is.  A knight takes an oath in good times.  The resolve of the oath isn't truly tested until what it was based upon is shaken.  In those moments, the idea of quitting or running become strongest.  The discovery of the true strength of a heart doesn't come without exploring the dark places and holding on to whatever light remains while trudging through a battle with yourself.

Those of you who read the book will know this place.  You may have had a mental picture in your mind, but this is the genesis of the abandoned Dairy Queen.  It is a real place but not where it's found in the book.

 

This one sits alone on a hill a couple miles from my home where I grew up.  The location may have been it's undoing but it is proof that a Dairy Queen can be found in a place miles from the nearest town.

 

When Richard remembers the one of his youth, he is remembering this one.  It is another great drawing by my son Luke.

And then there's this guy.  This was taken with a camera phone a VERY short distance away.  He was indeed bold and didn't back down. You'll know when he makes his appearance in the book.

 

The rocks he occupied were indeed different.  I don't know why but he seemed to be intent on holding his ground in the hot sun.  It was enough just to check him out for a few minutes.  He was funny at times.  He would glance up at me, then down at my feet and back again.  His expressions were more of the annoyed, "Hey, are you gonna watch me shower naked all day?" kind.

 

But when I visited the desert in my mind while writing, he appeared there too.  If I could find him again, I'd pitch him some meal worms for his royalties...

Scenes from Ely, NV where the journey begins.  Hotel and cafe.

 

Copyright - Lance Haynes 2015