JR Sinclair here. This is my first time to visit Lee's blog, although I've been following her comments all along. What a ride it's been since November, when I first got word that Freedom Island would be published, right up to this week when we saw government move into control of our health care options--just as predicted in my book.
I first had the idea for a story like Freedom Island a couple of years before I actually began writing. I remember being so inspired by Ayn Rand's teachings and particularly her wonderful book, Atlas Shrugged. The warnings she offered--about how easily a nation can slide into socialism, and then further into communism once we become entrenched in the notion that government can take care of our needs--those ideas have stayed with me my whole life. I saw so many of those things happening again--the New Deal under FDR, the war on poverty that started in the 1960s, the increasing rules and regulations that federal, state and local governments tried to impose in an effort to equalize incomes and keep all citizens safe from every eventuality--all with a heavy price to pay in the loss of freedom for all of us. It scared me.
The ideas of freedom, of individual choices and consequences, of personal responsibility were what I wanted to convey in a book. I observed how during periods of lower taxes the country thrived, how higher taxes brought about job losses as business people struggled to make ends meet and keep their companies alive. I used my father's experiences as a businessman, and my own entrepreneurial ventures, as the basis for the characters of Patrick Dane and Bert Alexander. Friends in the medical profession, who confided their frustration with insurance claims, the Medicare system, and a couple of other friends who receive their own medical care from the Veterans Administration gave me the background and wealth of experiences that I used for Dr. Regan Rafferty in the book. Teachers came forth with stories of the difficulty in educating kids under a system that tries to instill values that are better taught by religion or families, while skimping on the type of basic learning that assures every kid can at least read and write. I used many of their stories to build the character of Amy Alexander in the book. And there had to be the character who offered the answers--the visionary. That was Sam Ryker. He comes from a combination of many people--my father, my teachers, my neighbor who once held local office, and myself.
It's one thing to paint a bleak picture and point out the problems in society, quite another thing to offer a solution. We can hear about what's wrong with the world simply by turning on the many 24/7 news channels that exist today. We can get the opposite side, the idealistic view of how it all "should" be by listening to political promises or eavesdropping in coffee shops. But I wanted more. I wanted to write of a way of life that could actually work, solutions to problems that are based on things we can really do. And I believe I've done that with Freedom Island.
We Americans are so very fortunate. We have a well-constructed system, if we just pay attention and not let it get out of control. And to do that we have our votes. I wanted to make the point in the story that we can never underestimate the power of our votes. We cannot get lazy. We must make it clear that it is every citizen's responsibility to provide for him- or herself and to take responsibility for our decisions--the wrong ones and the right ones. By combining my studies of eastern philosophy, my own practices of positive thought and healthy lifestyle, with the fundamentals of limited government, I think I've come up with a story that offers hope for the future. I want to introduce people to the ideas of taking charge by taking responsibility for their actions. I would love to see Freedom Island reach every voter in America within these next two election cycles, because we are truly at a tipping point. Once the balance swings so that there are more folks receiving government aid than not, it will be a nearly impossible task to ever swing it back the other direction. We must be vigilant about not letting that happen.
I am so grateful to everyone who has supported the effort to get Freedom Island out across the country. There are too many to name, from those who read and offered suggestions at the early stages to the many people who are now helping to spread the word by email, by personal recommendations, and by passing books along to their friends and family. Thank you all--so much!
I feel like the extra guest at the party at this stage of the game. The real excitement is back at the office. Lee and the gang are in contact with so many organizations and great folks from all over who want to be part of helping us to get Freedom Island out to the world. Again, thank you all for your participation!