I’m C.L. Gaber, an author and film journalist for the New York Times Syndicate and Chicago Sun Times. I also co-authored Jex Malone series. Originally from Chicago, I make my home in Nevada with my husband, bonus daughter and two unruly dogs.
My husband knows that Ascenders began with me in bathroom half the night writing on tiny notepads because I didn’t want to wake him. When daylight did roll around, I told him, ”Baby, I had the most incredible dream”.
Scientists don’t always agree on many things because that’s their gig. But most will inform you that the human brain doesn’t fully form until you’re 24-years-old. It’s explains a hell of a lot of things including why we do such reckless and unforgettable things when we’re growing up.
It also begs the question: What happens to those who die young? Where does all that reckless energy and boundless potential go? Does it just get snuffed out…or does it ascend to another realm?
One foggy night in California, I had a dream about that and it played out in my mind like a movie. The dream starred characters named Walker and Daniel, but it also touched on my own youth in suburban Illinois, outside of Chicago. I remembered the moment when I grew up, officially. I was 17 and sitting in my backyard with my big black door Bear on a hot, humid summer night wondering why a friend from high school died on his motorcycle. It seemed unbelievable at 17 that Scott was gone – and I barely even knew this kid. But it still bothered me deeply.
Why was it every school year, we lost one or two teenagers to everything from drugs to suicide to reckless type of accidents? As an adult, I began to ask my friends who also heard such life changing news about one or two kids every single school year. Who doesn’t remember those high school announcements from your principal sounding terribly uncomfortable while telling the student body that we lost one our own last night. These were the kids who would never graduate, go to college, get married, have children or live out their lives.
Of course, school counselors were available, but as a student journalist back then and then a journalist later on, they never answered my real questions.
THE ASCENDERS SAGA tells the story of teens who died young, and a special limbo they arrive in that’s not very different from their life on earth. Why? If your brain isn’t pumping on all cylinders until you’re 24, I figured that you have some time to still be a teenager, but in a world with absolutely no rules. Imagine it: All that energy and you could do anything you wanted, but there would be no real consequences. Falling in love, however, would be dangerous. What if you ascended before him or her? In many ways, that would be like a second death.
In the end, it’s not really about loss. Or even death.
It’s about living the moments. Here. There. Everywhere.
I invite you to come on this journey with me.