The Story Behind Love and Other Acts of Courage

Water is everywhere in Love and Other Acts of Courage. Maritime attorney Max Gildea sees it from his office window, flowing under the Golden Gate bridge, and from the terrace of the house he has built on a jut of land overlooking the Pacific. Near New Zealand, in the Tasman Sea, a vast deep tide of it overwhelms and sinks the yacht, Sylph. Off Australia, turquoise waters hide what has happened to a couple left behind on a dive trip. And in Sydney, a reporter seeking answers watches water flowing under the Harbor Bridge and on past the Opera House.

Love and Other Acts of Courage takes place in all of these settings.

A number of years ago, I read a story about a freighter colliding with a yacht and then sailing away, without attempting a rescue. Of the two adults and two children on the yacht that night, only one, a woman, survived.

I subsequently learned about the limited options available to that survivor to make the freighter crew pay for their incompetence in hitting the yacht and their inhumanity in leaving the scene without attempting a rescue. In real life a suit was filed, and there was, eventually, some sort of settlement. But the crew members were never held accountable for their heartlessness.

I felt a similar outrage, mixed with astonishment, at a report about that same time of a dive boat returning from a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef minus two of its passengers. The boat crew failed to react to the extra shoes and bags left behind, and the bus driver didn’t seek a reason why he had two fewer passengers at the end of the day than at the beginning. Having been on such boats, if I were reading about this event purely as a piece of fiction, I would question its believability, which only goes to show that fact truly is often stranger than fiction is allowed to be.

In Love and Other Acts of Courage, I take these events and weave them into a story replete with heroes, heroines, and villains. And because it’s my story, the bad guys are dealt with, while my characters learn that choosing to love is one of the most courageous human acts.