Saying that Benjamin Sean Quinn had “anger issues” was an understatement. For those who knew him for the shortest amount of time, his life was in order: He was physically fit, had a great job which provided him a house in the suburbs and the material things he desired, a loving, monogamous relationship, two happy, healthy daughters and an established circle of friends. In all accounts, his life seemed perfect. But to those who knew him the longest, they knew he was an idle grenade, waiting for someone to pull the pin.
For decades, Ben did his best to conquer his demons; to suppress the anger he accumulated towards his parents, Carmella and Sean, throughout their tumultuous marriage. Ben was their only child; forced to witness and experience things that most adults couldn’t even try to handle. He could not escape them or the anger, and no matter how hard he tried, as he matured, it became a part of him. Ben strived to end the toxic cycle and avoid adopting their pattern as part of his own life. By the time he reached his early thirties, he finally seemed to have it all under control.
Then Ben’s father told him a “secret”. One left in Montana when he and Carmella were stationed there forty years earlier. It would exhume the painful memories and suppressed anger that Ben had been avoiding for years and force him to relive his past in order to face his future.
Today Benjamin Sean Quinn boards a plane to Billings, Montana. It was time to face the secret head on and let go of the anger that silently ruled his life. It would be the boldest move he ever made, ultimately changing his life and the lives of those around him.
Targeted Age Group:: Adults 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My life. Although this is a book of literary fiction, it is based on events from my childhood leading up to my mid-adult years. Leaving Montana started out as a journal…a way to heal, but it evolved into a story that I believe many people can relate to somehow.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters in Leaving Montana parallel the people in my life. We all think of each other differently, so although it was easy for me to create these characters and give them the personality traits I knew from childhood – I needed to detach myself from opinion and allow readers to like or dislike them based on their own judgement of character. This was the most difficult part of evolving characters from your past.
Let me formally introduce myself. I am Benjamin Sean Quinn. Forty. Confidently handsome. Sexy, as I’ve frequently been told. And a damn good advertising executive. I have a fantastic, caring and supportive partner of 14 years. My home belongs in a Pottery Barn catalog. We live in a prestigious neighborhood, and our two adopted daughters are perfect in every way…but there’s one small problem.
I am angry as hell.
Angry to the core.
Most people would question, “How could someone with such a pleasant and obviously privileged life be so angry?” Most people would, in turn, firmly state, “What an arrogantly pompous, self-appreciating, douche bag!” especially based on the way I just described my life, and myself. It is all true. I admit that whole-heartedly. But, I deserve to be. Now, you may think that no one deserves to be so self-appreciating, but I beg to differ. Growing up in a toxic environment that you have no control over forces you to make a choice: adopt that pattern and sink to the bottom, or swim like a motherfucker. I chose the latter. I am an awesome swimmer.
I wonder if ALL of us have experienced toxicity in our youth—the kind that leaves us branded. But unlike cattle, being scarred with a symbol from a branding iron, it leaves a word on our
foreheads that only certain people can see: SHALLOW, VAIN, NAÏVE, SLUT.
Personality traits we try to scrub away, or cover up when they surface. Isn’t there at least one undesirable personal trait you blame your parents for? I believe you can. If you are someone who has not internally blamed your parents, or at least one of them, for one, or more of your shortcomings, then you must have grown up in a utopia.
It is natural to blame your parents. Everyone does it. It is an unavoidable cycle. We are timid, because our mothers were too overprotective. We have anger and abandonment issues, because our fathers were unloving and never available. We have issues with commitment, because their marriage was a bad one. Who knows what the reasons are. But they are there, lurking deep within.
Blaming my parents for ruining my childhood, and branding me POMPOUS, ARROGANT, SARCASTIC, and God knows what else, is an understatement. I often overhear people complaining about the ridiculous things their biological breeders have done to them, and I laugh inside. “Big deal,” I’d say under my breath, hoping they’d hear. “Come on! You’re still upset with your mom for not letting you go to prom with what’s-his-name?” Put that petty shit away already. Let it go. It doesn’t matter anymore. Not to mention, it is trifling. Believe me, I know. When you have accumulated the amount of emotional baggage that I have, and yes, I DO blame my parents for it all, then you really can’t just forget it. You cannot let it go. You store it.
This is why I like walk-in-closets.
I LOVE my walk-in-closet. It has plenty of storage.
Lined with spacious shelves, deep drawers, shallow drawers, hanging poles of various lengths, and tiered shoe racks—it truly rocks my world. When I stand inside and look around, I see my entire life before me. So many things from my past, yet ample space for my future. It is conceited.
I am a walk-in closet.
I am polished, refined and perfectly coordinated. A private clothing boutique on Fifth Avenue, with Italian cashmere sweaters. I am Calm. Collected. Confident. But in an instant, one thought from my childhood can transform me. I am Disorganized. Wrinkled. Torn.
I am dirty clothes twisted among clean. A confusing jumble of belts, shoes, pants and hats on the floor. Socks stuck in sleeves, ties still knotted, and things inside out. Scattered feelings, and emotions that cannot be sorted out, picked up, washed, or turned right side in.
I am a walk in closet—and just like a walk in closet, when your poles begin to bend, and drawers cannot close—we realize that we have accumulated way too much.
Listen closely, friend…. there comes a time in everyone’s life when we hit a crossroads, faced with some of the most difficult decisions we ever have to make. Do we open our closet up and finally clean it out? Or do you close the door and pretend it isn’t a total mess? I wanted to open mine. Carmella and Sean chose to close the door and ignore it. I chose to board a plane. When I left the house, I did not close the door. Anyone could peek inside. The effect could cause an emotional catastrophe. But I chose not to care anymore.
About the Author:
Thomas Whaley was born in 1972 and has lived on Long Island his entire life. Since early childhood, he always enjoyed writing as a pastime, whether it be poems, short stories or funny scripts for his friends to act out. Most importantly, Thomas loved to entertain those around him, especially children. This eventually led him to change his career path from working in The Big Apple to becoming an elementary school teacher at the age of 27. Since becoming a teacher in 1999, Thomas has taken his childhood pastime to the next level, authoring several children’s books and sharing them with his students and his own children.
Thomas has always enjoyed reading books, but particularly those that make him casually self-reflect or hysterically laugh at the idiosyncrasies of daily life. This is what inspired him to finally sit down and write Leaving Montana. Thomas currently lives in Shoreham, New York with his husband Carl, their two sons Andrew and Luke, and their loyal dogs Sam and Jake.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy Leaving Montana Print Edition at Amazon
Link to Buy Leaving Montana Print Edition at Barnes and Noble
Link to Leaving Montana Print book for sale via other sites
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy Leaving Montana On Amazon