When you’re a parent with a child serving in a combat zone an unexpected phone call from the military’s Family Readiness Officer can be unnerving.
Just ask Mark Sears.
“Every time they call, butterflies kind of go through your stomach and you don’t know what it’s about,” said Sears, author of the new book Blue Star Christmas.
The title of Sears’ book comes from the Blue Star Banner, an official service flag family members can display on the car or living room window to signify a loved one is serving in harm’s way.
Fortunately, those official calls never delivered bad new to Sears who is a Blue Star Dad because his son Nicholas, a Canyon High School graduate, is in the U. S. Marine Corps.
“Right now he’s in North Carolina but he’s already done one tour of Afghanistan and he is slated to go back a year from now,” Sears said.
Sears’ novel isn’t about modern warfare. Instead, the book focuses on a fictional family in the 1940s who are living the American Dream until the father, Cal MacTaggert, receives an induction notice to serve in World War II.
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“The book deals with not so much what he has to deal with while he’s gone, but more of what his wife and kids have to endure while he’s away,” said Sears.
The inspiration for the book came from a 2001 trip Sears and his father (21 year Air Force veteran Master Sergeant Richard Sears) took to visit the beaches of Normandy.
“That was the seed right there,” said Sears.
Although Sears wrote the first few chapters two days after returning from Europe, it took him ten years to complete.
“The hardest thing was keeping the flow going with the book. Cause there were times I would put it down and I wouldn’t pick it up for three or four years,” Sears said.
Now completed, the 169 page novel is illustrated by artist Darlene Marcos.
“Originally, she was commissioned, but then we started dating and we ended up getting married,” said Sears.
Despite the worrisome phone calls, the Blue Star Dad is happy his son joined the military.
“I thought it was great. I thought it was the best thing for him. Gave him a sense of discipline, a sense of direction. Now he has skills he can use for the rest of his life,” Sears said.
A twenty year Santa Clarita resident and business man, Sears rides for the Patriot Guard, an organization that provides escorts for fallen servicemen and women as well as escorts for homecomings and deployments.
“This book was written as a tribute to all the people who make freedom in this country possible whether in service or not,” said Sears.
A portion of the sales of the book will be donated to Fisher House , a rehabilitation community for wounded military personnel and their families. Sears also hopes to be able to contribute locally to the Habitat for Heroes projects.
The book can be purchased at Sand Canyon Paint & Hardware, 16680 Soledad Canyon Road, www.Lulu.com, or email Sears at BlueStarChristmas@yahoo.com
Sears expects Amazon and Barnes & Noble booksellers to have the book available by Christmas.