1. I began writing Omari and the People right after I graduated from Chicago Theological Seminary.
2. My fascination with the desert began when I used to play in the great sand dunes in Northwest Indiana. The great climb in the story was inspired in part by a climb up "Mount Baldy" in the Indiana Dunes State Park.
3. I was beaten senseless by street gangsters after I spoke out about gang violence at a City Council meeting in Gary, Indiana. This incident is alluded to in an early scene of the novel.
4. I played congas in the Indiana University Soul Review band. That might explain why I described the drumming in the story with such detail.
5. Most of the guardsmen in the story were descriptions of fellow Marines of Second Battalion, Second Marines ("2/2").
About Stephen Whitfield
Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. Stephen currently resides near Orlando, Florida.
About Omari and The People
In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn't believe exists - and he started the fire.
In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari's involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead - his very life - is jeopardized.