What Inspired this Novel?

With only six weeks until Ferry to Cooperation Island launches into the world, I’ve set aside my interviewer hat and become the interviewee. Out of practice and more accustomed to asking questions than coming up with pithy answers, I recently found myself struggling with a predictable one: What inspired me to write Ferry to Cooperation Island?

After an awkward moment, the interviewer kindly revised the question: “Is there a single word that describes it?” That was easy: it’s the longest one in the title.

If we believe the news, there’s less and less Cooperation every day. And yet I still see neighbors helping neighbors, and hear about strangers doing good deeds without any expectation of reward. Fear and drama sell, so most of the “nice” stories remain off-camera—though even two mules can figure out that pulling together works better than pulling apart.

Rewarded for good behavior

When I first started writing this book a decade ago, all I had to work with was a strong desire to make a tiny dent in the world’s negativity and a curmudgeonly ferry captain talking inside my head. What if my captain was rewarded for learning to work with others? I wondered. Maybe fictional Cooperation could inspire a change in our real world too.

Bad things do happen to good people on my imaginary island; it’s not a utopia, because “real” people live there. But there’s a basic understanding, brought on by the insulation/isolation of living on a rock surrounded by water, that we all need each other. That others will help us when we’re struggling, especially if we are brave enough to ask.

Cooperation is better than conflict

We can’t all live in a place where people value Cooperation so highly, it’s become their island’s nickname. But we can remember that our world is a better place than the steady stream of dramas might make us think. Still not a great soundbite, but at least I now have the answer to one question I’ll surely be asked again.

Ferry to Cooperation Island will be available June 16, and though plans for an in-person launch party have been upended by the Coronavirus, pre-orders will still arrive on or around that day (maybe even earlier). Read Chapter One

Got a thought to share? Leave a comment below, or send me an email. I read every (human) remark. Thanks for reading!

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