Miguel Estes has been born with a rare genetic skin disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa, or E.B. for short. Unsure of how much time he has left to live, his Aunt Shirley has helped him develop a To Do list - a place to keep track of all of the things he is afraid to try. She believes that it is necessary to conquer these fears to lead a more enriched existence. This certainly helps to motivate him and in spite of his daily struggles, keeps him in high spirits, after all, he can't let his aunt down. When his mother chooses to move in with her husband, Hunt, Miguel decides it is best for him to move in with his father, even though this means starting a new school, and changing doctors as well.
Aunt Shirley decides that when school starts, Miguel should start up an afterschool program called F.A.A.T. or Fear Ain't All That. She thinks that this will be a good way for him to get to know new students, and help them realize that life is what you make it, and fears are all relative. Thankfully he already has the support of his new best friend Samantha, his nurse's niece. And there is no one that needs F.A.A.T. or Miguels help more than she does.
This book was a rollercoaster ride, and it was so wonderful to read a book that was sure to inspire children and adults alike. We all fear something, but we need to look past all of that and make a To Do List - I believe it would help us all stay positive, and realize that there really is nothing to fear, anything can be overcome, even death. Thank you Clint for opening my eyes, and I think you will do the same for many people in the future.
How did you come up with the idea for this book, and the F.A.A.T. concept?
Honestly, I wrote DON 'T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN as a tribute to my cat, Samantha. I named one of the main characters after her. I learned so much from Samantha, her life and the time she chose to die. Since my books all have to do with 'eliminating fear,' I decided to write about eliminating, or trying to help teens eliminate the most common fear of all, the fear of death. I hadn't seen many of these for the teen market (not novels anyway)...so I thought I'd give it a shot. In my mid-thirties, I began to feel certain that fear is something that is completely learned, not natural in any of us. I wanted the themes in all my books to be the same; lives begin to change only when fear is absent.
Do you have any books currently in the works?
Yes, I do. After having published four novels for teens, I've decided to try something different. My newest novel is a suspense thriller for adults titled, THE SEVEN RITUALS. Two plots run consecutively throughout; the two protagonists are the same person, yet one offers an innocent outlook at something rather perverse and dangerous, while the other shows incredible determination to discover the truth that will inevitably set him free.
What made you decide to have Miguel suffer from E.B., as opposed to some other ailment?
Good question. A long while ago I attended a fundraising concert in San Francisco ...not really knowing what the particular cause was. It ended up being a benefit event for kids that live with this rare disease, E.B. Shortly after the concert, I got to meet several of these brave kids. Their courage inspired me incredibly; I learned as much as I could about E.B. and I decided to continue writing about a boy living with E.B. as a tribute to them, those kids that have chosen to live without fear.
Do you have any other hobbies?
I love meeting people from as many countries as possible and learning as much as possible about their lives and their cultures. This is my favorite hobby, as well as being my greatest opportunity to learn.