Author: Robert Creenan
This coming April, local author Gary Friedman will release the second book of his The Shepherd Chronicles, titled The Rules. It comes along with a relaunch of the series’ first book, The Flockless Shepherd (The Promise).
The series’ premise centers on David, a recent Buffalo college graduate who goes to Nashville in an attempt to be a country music star and fails. In his failure, he returns to Buffalo and lands a bartender job. One January night after bartending a wedding, he gets in a car accident on the I-290. In his near-death state, he has an experience where he makes a promise, possibly to God, that if he survives this, he will devote his life to helping others. David then miraculously recovers. Three months later, he’s visited by a mysterious figure that tells him to make good on his promise. David then leaves Buffalo again, traveling America and helping lost people find their proper path in life.
Friedman has had the idea for this series since 2005, but personal issues and his various jobs working in retail, education, and for the federal government prevented him from taking the time to do it. He finally started working on the first book in 2012, which took him 2 years to write and edit before its 2014 release. “The initial launch didn’t go as well as I’d hoped,” Friedman said. “It wasn’t marketed as I thought. This time, it has a chance to grab some legs and run.”
The newest book, The Rules, has David traveling along the East Coast as far south as Savannah, Georgia, helping people out. In the process he creates his own set of rules, for people to find the right path in life. Friedman’s planned third book, tentatively titled The Encounters, involves David continuing his travels with similar driving forces. “I think the story of David will go on for a while after this,” Friedman described on the series’ future. “There are a lot of openings in the story for different directions to go down. Other ideas I have in my head are much further down the road.”
One of the things that Friedman said his readers enjoyed was the familiarity of places they recognized, as about 60% of the first book takes place in Buffalo. “One scene takes place at the Left Bank,” Friedman recounted. “The accident happens on the I-290, a wedding takes place at an American Legion post, the hospital David goes to is ECMC, and his dad is the chief of police in Tonawanda.”
Friedman has described this series as like Tuesdays with Morrie, classified as more of a self-help or inspirational kind of story. “My motivation right now is to write an uplifting story, to change people’s lives,” Friedman said. “No matter how bleak things look, there’s always a way. A few people who have read it said it brought them to tears. I also got a text message from someone saying that it touched their lives, which is exactly what I was going for.”
The book launch will take place on April 28 at 500 Seneca Street. Look for these books in local shops, or theflocklessshepherd.com.