September 11 is always a difficult day because of the horrific attack on the twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon, and on the United Airlines flight that ended in a Pennsylvania field. Adding to the chaos of the day, it is also the anniversary of my father’s death. I like to think he chose this specific date to make it easier for us to remember when he left us.
One of my greatest regrets is that I never shared with him the details about my book, Braha, before he passed away. I didn’t share the details about the book with anyone before I finished it, and he passed away before I completed the book. He knew I was working on it and he fully supported me, but he never knew that his family and my memories of them had a special place in my story.
When I was a child, his parents had an avocado ranch in Escondido, California, where I spent much of my time growing up. My grandparents’ home was a secret paradise for me, filled with adventures, traditions, and happy memories. From a very young age, it was always clear to me that I would one day write a story about that magical place.
It was very important to my dad that he help create wonderful memories for his children. Although we never had a lot of money, we were never short on fabulous memories, thanks to my father and his creative spirit. From speeding down a dip in the road on the way to my grandparents house to visiting Spook’s Canyon, the mushroom farm and the egg ranch, everything was an adventure. My father also encouraged me to keep a journal and write down all my thoughts, ideas, and dreams.
My grandparents’ ranch was recreated as Franklin St. Clair’s home in Braha. Incorporating it into my story was a joy, one of the happiest parts of writing the book. Scouring old photos and jogging my memory, ideas for Linden St. Clair’s childhood home came alive for me.
My dad would have liked Braha. He would have liked the fact that I found a way to blend parts of his family and my mother’s ancestry into the same story. And he would be thrilled to know the spirit of that magical place in Escondido can live on for others.