My old roommate from college recently asked me why I was masquerading as a writer. He wasn’t being obnoxious. After all, at UNC-Chapel Hill, I had studied economics, political science, and business, only dabbling in the creative courses (art history, comparative literature.)

Wasn’t I out of my element?

Maybe not. THE MISFITS, the novel I’m hoping to publish, recounts the story of three impressive nonconformists with disabilities. My wife and I raised two neurodiverse children. Two of the novel’s protagonists, Leo and Kiara, are immigrants. My mother and wife immigrated to America from Spain and Venezuela, respectively.

Adventures like my 2018 trip to Papua New Guinea have enriched my life, providing bountiful material for writing..

The novel’s third main character, Zeb, struggles as an overseas adventure tour operator. I quit my job as a White House economist to start an ill-fated adventure company named after a Jimmy Buffett song. After working in corporate finance – protagonist Leo’s profession – I returned to adventure travel, this time running Nature Expeditions International, Inc. for eighteen years before selling it.

THE MISFITS takes the reader to far-flung locales (Papua New Guinea, the Basque Country of Spain and France, Polynesia, Rwanda, Turkey), but it is primarily set in Chapel Hill, where I attended university and now live part-time.

My children, now young adults, deserve special mention. Their courage, perseverance and talents continue to awe my wife and me. But, notably, our children received invaluable support from doctors and tutors. Many special needs and disadvantaged children aren’t so lucky. They suffer. Their potential is squandered.

I believe most of us, regardless of our situation, know this is wrong. My fervent hope is that, along with entertaining readers, THE MISFITS will instill greater respect for the plight and talents of the disabled, and suggest a way forward.