Drop by here often and check out notes and behind-the-scenes information about the story. You’ll find notes grouped by chapter.
Chapter 1 – The Funeral at Nuevo Comienzo
In chapter one we find Liam deceased, at age 94, at a place called The Internado, in a South American town. The setting for this chapter is a real place, but the actual name of the town is Ixiamas and it’s located in the Bolivian rainforest along the Beni river. I traveled to this place several times and assisted with the construction of the internado and the care of the children living there. On my first journey, I helped lay the foundation stones. On my final trip there the completed three story building housed nearly fifty children from surrounding villages. The journey from LaPaz to Ixiamas, as written in the story is factual.
The fictional name chosen for the town, Nuevo Comienzo, is spanish for “New Beginning.” In real life, many children have found, and continue to find a new beginning in life at the internado and this is key to Liam’s story.
Chapter 2 – Morning at Le Sirenuse
It’s important to me that the story be as authentic as possible. Therefore all of the locations in the story are real places. The challenge for me is that most of the places you’ll encounter in Liam’s life are places I’ve never personally been to. Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy is an example. To locate Liam in his first exotic place I simply googled a list of the most expensive resorts in the world. Le Sirenuse was on this list. Before I could even begin the chapter I needed to do research on the city of Positano, the resort, the pub where Liam met the girl he woke up next to, and the restaurant in chapter three, all to make sure that if you actually traced his footsteps in real life, it would be fairly close to what I’ve written. I follow this process with every location that you’ll encounter throughout the story.
In chapter two you’re introduced to a very broken Liam. This main character is a composite of four real people. The first inspiration for our main character is an ancient king who shared the story of his life when he wrote Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Listen to how he describes himself, as a young man, and you’ll instantly recognize him in Liam:
I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful young women. I had everything a man could desire!
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Chapter 3 – Anastagio’s New Job
Throughout the book you’ll encounter a lot of symbolism. Names, numbers, places, objects, etc. Some of the symbolism will be explained in the chapters as the characters engage with one another. Some of the symbolism won’t be explicitly explained in the story, but I’ll explain here in the Author’s Notes. And some of the symbolism, I’ll leave unexplained, for you to simply ponder and try to understand. A little mystery makes a story great.
Though there is some symbolism in chapters one and two, the first major symbolism to serve as a foundation for the story is in chapter three and it is found in the character, Anastagio. When Liam first approaches the concierge desk, he’s hoping to see an attractive woman who he’s been trying to seduce during his stay. On this day he finds Anastagio. The Italian name Anastagio means “resurrection,” which in turn means to return from death to new life. The first major character Liam encounters in the story is a concierge, who’s primary job is to lead strangers to the right places, at the right times, for the right reasons.
Liam believes that he is finally living life. When, in fact, he is simply experiencing a type of death, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Therefore, the most important person Liam needs in his life is not another woman to sleep with, but someone to point him in the right direction toward real life, new life, resurrection. The fact that Liam won’t call him by his full name, but by “Stag,” illustrates that Liam is not quite ready for the resurrection that awaits him.
Their first interaction is to share a meal together overlooking gardens and the sea, also deeply symbolic. The restaurant in this chapter, like all other locations, is an actual, very popular restaurant in Positano, Italy.
Chapter 4 – A Small Metal Cross
In an earlier Author’s Note I shared that Liam is a composite of four different people. In chapter two you learned that the first person of his composite is the young King Solomon. Here in chapter four the story becomes personal as you get your first glimpse of the second inspiration which is, in fact, me.
Earlier in my life I was a person of deep religious faith. I read and studied the Bible, I taught the Bible, and I was very much a “church person.” I was taught, and taught others, that if you go to church (the right church), give your money to the church, pray every day, read the Bible every day, and live the way the preacher tells you to live, that God will be with you, and protect you, and will bless you.
And then I watched three unborn children die in the womb amidst countless prayers prayed by myself and other religious people, dashing my hopes of fatherhood. I endured a couple of job losses. On various occasions I felt the sting of lies and betrayal at the hands of people I loved and trusted. I watched cancer strike and destroy multiple people I loved, killing my father, and most recently returning violently a second time as stage four metastatic cancer in my mother’s body. All along the way I prayed, I cried out to God, and ultimately, reached the point of believing much what Liam expressed in his four perceptions of God.
In recent years I’ve come to a different understanding of God and spirituality, one that is still forming within me, but one that I feel more at peace with. You’ll see more of me, and this view of spirituality, in chapter seven, The Forty-Eight Kings, and chapter eight, Tapestry.