This book, The Second Half, is about retirement and the life of one couple as they are about to cross the threshold into a new life. Why did you choose to write this book, and why now?
The Second Half came about because I have seen so many older people, retirement age, who are rearing their grandchildren. The situation is pandemic and not just in the lower income population. Creating awareness about a situation or issue is one of my goals as a writer, and I do that through story. I believe that God calls us to help His hurting children, in all kinds of situations. This one is a growing concern.
There’s been a recent uptick in the stories told about older individuals, not just in fiction but also in television and film. Why do you think this is?
Our population is aging. Everyone likes to read about characters and situations of their own age. People are living longer and with better health. Therefore, the various media are realizing that and catering to those people more. In this case, it is an age group that has been largely ignored for a long time. God programmed us to learn best by story, with characters who remain in hearts and minds. I love being part of those who are privileged to help provide those stories.
Can you tell us some background about the couple who are the main characters in this novel?
Ken is about to retire from his position as Dean of Students at a private university in Madison, Wisconsin. He and his wife Mona live in nearby Stoughton, and their daughter and family live a mile or so away. Their son is in special forces, living in Texas with his two children; his wife left him and their children six months earlier. Ken and Mona are talking about their dreams for travel, time for more family things, celebrating their new life, and continuing to volunteer in their church, the community and the local Norwegian community events. Their garden is a shared delight. They will take the grandchildren on trips, fishing and camping. Ah, the dreams are good.
What were they like as newlyweds?
They married after they both earned their bachelor’s degrees, and Ken went on for his master’s and Ph.D. Mona worked at various jobs to help support them. They agreed she would be a stay-at-home mom to rear their children. Ken had a tendency toward workaholic, she toward melancholy, so life together took a lot of work and discussions and growing.
Are any pieces of this novel pulled from real life?
All of my novels are based on real life, whether my own or those I see around me. Whether I am writing contemporary or historical, readers often mention finding themselves in my characters, which is one of the things which draws me to writing. Life is fascinating, as are people.