About the Author
As I am writing these lines, August 30th, 2009, there are six wildfires burning in Southern California. The one burning nearest to my home in the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles, tripled in size overnight, and has already burned 20,000 acres in the Pasadena area with only 5% containment. In the past, wildfire season in California was considered that period from October to February every year when the Santa Ana Winds were blowing. Now, the US Forest Service has declared that the wildfire season in California is a year round event. High temperatures (above 100 degrees), low humidity, and dry brush are driving these current wildfires that have rapidly burned out of control, and are extremely difficult to contain.
Several years ago when I began to make inquiries into the cause of these wildfires, I discovered that at least 50% of them are probably caused by arson. Since I live in a wildfire prone area the issue of arson and the contribution of a serial arsonist to these wildfires quickly became very personal. In 2007 my entire neighborhood was evacuated because of an approaching wildfire. Fortunately, our homes were saved. Last year, 2008, 802 homes were destroyed by wildfires here in Los Angeles County. Each year Southern California faces the potential danger of wildfires, and this danger is growing each year. The day after I began writing this section (August 31st now) the Station Fire in the Pasadena area has doubled in size to 42,500 acres burned, and two firefighers are dead.
Not content to sit idlely by while all of this destruction is going on, in March of 2008 I began writing this novel as a means of addressing the issue of California wildfires. In conjunction, this year I finished what I believe is the first psychoanalytic paper ever written on the psychodynamics of the serial arsonist. My background is in psychoanalysis and neuroscience (I have a doctorate in both fields), and I was able to draw upon information and research in both of these fields to help me understand “Where The Psyche Of The Serial Arsonist Leads Us” (the title of the research paper). I drew heavily on the information I gathered for this paper in the writing of “From The Other Side Of The Moon”. In 1993 while my son Jeremy and I were traveling back from a triathlon in Ventura, California to our home in Monterey, we encountered a wildfire along Highway #101 in Central California. We stopped to help and in the process met the local fire chief who related to us that this was the eight wildfire he had encountered in the past two months. He suspected a serial arsonist. As we were leaving this scene a story began to formulate in my mind about how a psychoanalyst might help a fire department catch a serial arsonist. Last year this story began to intersect with the reality of the living in a wildfire prone area, and the result was my conceptualization of The Seaville Wildfire Trilogy, of which “From The Other Side Of The Moon” is the first novel. My son Jeremy who is now the bass guitar player for the international rock band “Hockey” (myspace.com/hockey), still remembers the incident along Highway #101.