When I was working on my last novel, Charlie No Face, I read an online news article about a mother and father in England who had committed suicide by leaping from a famous cliff after the unanticipated death of their four year old son. Of course, that was awful in and of itself, but what really captured my attention was that they jumped with two sacks; one had their dead son; the other had his toys. Somehow I couldn’t get that image out of my mind. They clearly wanted to be together in whatever world awaited them. The sack of toys was very poignant. They must have thought their son would need them.
I couldn’t shake this story. I began to wonder: How did the couple come to their decision? Is it possible that each parent had very divergent reasons for deciding this was the right thing to do? I also wondered—What if one of the parents had not died? Those questions motivated me to write Chimney Bluffs.
I also needed to decide on a location for the story. I did not want to set it in England. There is a park about one hour from where I live in western New York state. It is called Chimney Bluffs State Park. I have been there many times. It is famous for the towering spires left on the shoreline of Lake Ontario being receding glaciers during the Ice Age. In some places the cliffs rise to almost three hundred feet. The combination of beauty and danger were perfect for my novel. Chimney Bluffs ended up playing an important role in the lives of all the primary characters in the story.
David B. Seaburn is the author of three previous novels, including Charlie No Face, which was a Finalist for the INDIE Excellence in Books Award in 2011. Seaburn is a retired family psychologist and Presbyterian minister. Seaburn lives in Spencerport, NY; he is married and has two adult daughters and two wonderful granddaughters.