The Raffle Novel: It’s Complete, But Where Did it Come From and Why?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about the release of the full The Raffle Novel on Amazon this week. After years of hard work, discipline and dedication, all 4 Parts of The Raffle are finally in one book. An ebook for now, but soon there will be a paperback and an audiobook…and more.

Rather than continuing to congratulate myself, I will repost part of something that is new to the Novel that wasn’t included in Parts 1-4, an Author’s Note explaining the genesis of the story. Italicized below is a segment explaining the story behind the story.

[Between 2008-2012] I commuted between Los Angeles and New York every two weeks because my wife, who I had met on a blind date in NYC, lived there. I was always very thankful of our incredible transportation in this country that allowed our marriage to survive while we were thousands of miles apart. But, then I thought…what if? What if something “separated us?” And so, the seeds of The Raffle were sown.

When I finally committed to writing my “what if” story, I really didn’t know what I was going to write other than a story about a man separated from his wife and daughter who would stop at nothing from getting back to them. Of course, as I started writing and researching, many more “what ifs” popped in my head. And then I had fun with it.

I explored the possibilities of numerous fictional catastrophes. Ultimately, I decided on multiple catastrophes converging at once: an overall powerful religious cult/terrorist group with access to biological weapons, a crazed rogue nation and drones. And the “real world” started to become too real. Some people even think The Raffle “predicted” many events.

The most obvious “prediction” was the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. I self-published the original story “The Raffle” on January 16, 2016, a full 9 months before the election. In January 2016, I thought the only way he could win was if a massive terrorist attack occurred and the entire United States became security obsessed, blood-thirsty and distrustful of the “old system.” I was wrong. We were already poised for the tectonic shift in our democracy that occurred in November 2016.

Sidenote: When I began writing Part 2, The Prize, in mid to late 2016, I had originally named the “Miller” character “Stephen Miller”. I only changed his name to Jeffrey Miller in this revised version of Part 2 included in this Novel.

Once the pandora’s box of “predictions” was cracked open, I weaved other predictions and played them out in the Series, including the expanded use of artificial intelligence/robots, the current anti-immigration sentiment in our country, distrust of certain people on the planet, distrust of the Constitution, religious fundamentalism, and many other relevant themes.

Other “predictions” keep coming true everyday. Just yesterday there was a story about a Harvard student from Lebanon getting turned away at the border…because of his friend’s, not his, social media activity. Connecting this to the dystopian New United States of The Raffle Novel is easy: Middle Easterners are already under heightened scrutiny. From the “Muslim Ban” to the “your buddy’s social media activity” ban, you can’t feel as comfortable as others do if have ties to the Middle East. And that fact is also one of the reasons why I wrote The Raffle Novel. An American of Arab descent protagonist, i.e., not a villain, is a rare thing in literature and story-telling in general. Arabs and Middle Easterners need real heroes too, just like everyone else.

So, I hope you enjoy the story. And I hope you stick with us, because this is only the beginning.

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