To Pamela, who saved my life by teaching me that I could fall in love, and be loved, and that being alone wasn’t the worst thing in the world—dating Pamela was the worst thing in the world. I proposed to her after the final episode of Cheers. She thought that was sweet but said no. I’m still waiting for her to change her mind. I’ll let you know how that works out. In the interim she may have married someone else. That could be a factor. I’m a foolish man and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Also, my protagonist’s name, Arland, is an homage to Arland D. Williams, Jr., the brave and unselfish man who was one of 6 passengers to survive the horrific plane crash of Air Florida Flight 90 into the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. in 1982. He passed the life buoy from the rescue helicopter to the other five survivors, then, when the helicopter went back for him, he was gone. In the words of a clergyman, “His heroism was not rash. Aware that his own strength was fading, he deliberately handed hope to someone else, and he did so repeatedly. On that cold and tragic day, Arland D. Williams Jr. exemplified one of the best attributes of human nature, specifically that some people are capable of doing anything for total strangers.” I remember watching it live on TV; it was about the same time I started work on my novels, more than 30 years ago, and so I named my protagonist after him. Arland, this one’s for you. May we all aspire to your character and courage.