Jake Preston is an American nomad, wandering the back roads of America, staying high while maintaining a self-imposed exile from family and friends. His troubled childhood—including an abusive alcoholic mother who committed suicide—left Jake in therapy, hospitalized, his senses numbed by Thorazine; he broke away in high school at the end of his senior year and hasn’t looked back. This stark coming of age tale follows Jake from runaway teen and alcoholic drifter into sobriety and reluctant, emerging adulthood. This debut novel compares the romance, heartache and loneliness of life on the road with the difficulty of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse In coming to terms with his new and tenuous sobriety, Jake is finally forced to face up to the various family issues he has run from his whole life.
After high school, I spent a few years hitchhiking around the country. Following a stint in the Navy, I came back to Ohio, started school at OSU, accepted a part-time job, got married and started a family. My second wife, Jean, and I raised my three children by my first marriage. Jean is an accomplished foreign language educator. We’ve followed her jobs, from Ohio to New York to Colorado, over twenty years. I’ve worked primarily in R&D and manufacturing, as a technician and then engineer. Engineering helped pay the bills, my BA and MA in English from SUNY Cortland kept me sane. Writing is all I’ve ever really wanted to do. After leaving a “big job” with a Colorado utility company in 2010, I’ve spent the past three years working odd jobs, temporary jobs, seasonal jobs, and writing. I’ve been able to rework this book. I also have another manuscript nearly finished.
Jake Preston slipped down the shoulder of Route 99. The sun was setting behind the low western hills; night air crawled in around his neck and wrists. He was south of Fresno, running into the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, and with each quick step the narrow strap of his faded duffel bit into his left shoulder. With each jerk he cursed the two dollar duffel bag and whoever had stolen his pack in Los Gatos.
“Sucker.” He kicked a strip of shredded rubber into the brush.