I took this photo from my skating rink on the windy afternoon of December 30, 2021, the day that the Marshall Fire tore through my local community. Teams of (mostly off-duty) firefighters from hundreds of miles around raced in to help, finally stopping the fire during the night only about 2 miles away from my house. But not before it had devastated so many nearby neighborhoods, consuming almost 1000 homes in under 24 hours.
My debut novel, Skate Cute, deals with the reality of fire danger in a community like mine. I want to recognize that reality, and more than that I want to give back to the place that I love, the place that shaped both the book and me over the last 1.5 years. A place that is full of resilient heroes like Kriss and Chase, both community leaders and ordinary people like me whose stories I want to uphold.