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The Landing - Book Notes

As people read The Landing, sometimes I'm asked, "Was this particular detail based on personal experience?" or "Why did you choose to design an event this way?" Here are some personal notes and other odd trivia nuggets.


  • The Andy Williams Christmas Album was a staple at our home during the holidays. Back then it was on LP, but today I still listen to the CD. But despite its mention in the prologue, "Little Drummer Boy" is one of my least favorite songs on the album.

Chapter One

  • The audience reactions to Danny's performance are based on reactions to my brother's performances during an open-mic night years ago.
  • The song extract is just that: a mere extract. I wrote it as a teenager - one of those occasions where I got a verse on paper but couldn't make the song work. Finally, I've found a use for it!

Chapter Three

  • Meghan's front-to-back-seat stunt in the moving-vehicle may or may not have been an actual occurrence. That will remain a mystery.

Chapter Thirteen

  • I purposely left "Meghan's Song" to the reader's imagination. I needed a strong emotional element for this pivotal scene, and concrete lyrics didn't seem to do Meghan justice.
  • Christine's process of playing "Meghan's Song" was based on an actual event. An acquaintance of mine plays the piano by ear. He took a look at a lead sheet I once wrote, plunked through it one time, then returned to the beginning and infused it with a gorgeous arrangement. Such ability fascinates me.

Chapter Eighteen

  • A friend attended University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
  • The unicycle incident in the hallway was an actual occurrence. While a student at Mizzou, my neighbor practiced his unicycle skills in the hall. His goal was to play Truman the Tiger, the university's mascot, at football games.

Chapter Twenty-one

  • In 1998, I nearly gave up on my dreams as a writer. Years of deadness followed until I rebooted and rebuilt that dream. The emptiness I felt inside is manifested here through Danny. The novel itself proved therapeutic for me as I wrote it in 2004-2005.

Chapter Twenty-four

  • I attended my first year of college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The town's college-themed retail street is commonly called "uptown" by the students due to the uphill walk from the campus to the retail street. Several of the environment's details are real, based on memory - including the two-screen cinema on the street corner. I believe the cinema's brick wall was painted royal blue at the time, but I don't recall for sure.
  • I saw families walk along the uptown street, and it always struck me as a student: "I'm here short-term, and I'll be leaving for the summer. But for these people, it's their home."
  • Meghan enters a bar and grill. The restaurant itself is not based on an actual restaurant, but its wooden door is.