Bowling Green State University graduate Chase Will has released the book that has been percolating in his head for 14 years.
“It’s about a group of high school seniors who are mourning the death of their mentor, while starting a school-wide rebellion. It has a lot to do with mental illness, especially depression, and survivor skills after the death of a loved one,” Will said.
“Moving Through,” which is categorized in young adult fiction/new adult, is semi-biographical, he said.
“A lot of it is kind of a dark comedy, which sounds a little bit off,” Will said.
He lost his little brother to cancer three years ago.
“Going through that I discovered that there is a lot of dark humor in the process of that,” Will said.
The first draft of “Moving Through” was written in 2008, when Will was a senior at Coshocton High School. Drafts and revisions took place during his time living in Bowling Green. It was the 2018 death of his younger brother that brought him back to the story.
His brother’s death was a year-long battle with cancer. Their time together in a hospital is seared in his memory, Will said.
“He spent a year in hospital beds, and that was pretty damn awful. But it was an interesting journey, because we got closer than ever before and got closer together as brothers,” he said. “It brought all that love for family together, and it brought all of us together in a way that wouldn’t have happened for the tragic circumstance.”
Despite the heavy topic, Will said his book is funny and heartfelt.
“The main message, if there is a message, because I don’t really like it when things are too preachy or direct … I feel like a book should be a mirror for the reader to find their own thing in. But if someone were to take something from the book, it would be, don’t let the world change you,” Will said. “If you are crazy inside and sort of a misfit, don’t try to change yourself for the world.”
He does want readers to also find the humor in getting through tough times and that, contrary to many young adult books, the real world doesn’t always have a happy note to end on.
Will believes the time in development was worth the wait. It went through at least four full drafts.
“It started off as a teen-angst project, something to just pour all of that into, but then over the year, especially as I was showing off early drafts to people, it was (a story) I kept going back to. I would leave other projects to go back to this one,” Will said.
The regular return to the story was because of the characters he developed.
“I would return to it and then abandon it, because I had other stuff going on, theater shows and smaller projects, but it never really left my mind. It always kind of irked me that it was not out there in the world,” he said.
The virtual book launch was Feb. 12 and the event has been recorded for his YouTube channel, along with several readings.
Will graduated from BGSU in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. After graduation he stayed in the area for five years. His current day job is in traveling sales. He’s also worked as a journalist for the Port Clinton News-Herald and the Toledo Free Press, as well as for several pop culture websites, including Dread Central, Scare Tissue and HorrorNews.net.
“I’m putting this book out there knowing that it won’t connect with everyone, but it will connect with some people, and this will make me happy.”
Both the city of Bowling Green and the university were influential on his drafts of the book. He wrote and acted for Lionface Productions. That experience helped him piece together the story. He also gives credit to his BGSU theater instructor Aimee Reid and film director Lucas Ostrowski.
The self–published paperback is on Will’s publishing company is Mental Anarchy Press. The eBook and paperback are available on Amazon.com or at ChaseWill.com.