I have finished my latest novel, TJ Sloane, about a black man who continues to struggle amid his many triumphs. This man’s life is a storybook of many chapters. Each is filled with unexplained loss, conflict, secret visions that shelter hidden fears and love as it suits him. His tale begins with the back story; circumstances of birth that challenge his self-determination. This part of his narrative need not bind his hopes and possibilities. On the other hand, it could define him by the chains of ancestral struggles, unreliable memories and even myth. Like a river rushing to the sea, the back story is always chasing his present story. When they merge, the two flow together as one, the back story finding its place in the greater tale of this man’s life. Always, the clues to his survival are in the back story. If he ignores this part of his journey, he does so at his peril.