Best Case Scenario by Dirk B. Sayers
(Nyra’s Journey, Act 1)
Publication date: April 16th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
More than a year after graduating from college, Nyra’s beginning to wonder when her life gets started. Was it like this for her mother? Nyra doubts it, but things were different then. Her reality is nothing like her mother’s.
Nyra gets that every generation faces its own challenges and she’s smart enough to know its on her to overcome them. That’s why she worked two jobs all through college, studied so hard and tried not to think too much about the mountain of student debt weighing down her tomorrow.
Still, this feeling of wading through quicksand is getting old. Buried deep in the half-formed jumble of dreams for her future, Nyra hears the siren song of hope whispering to her. She’s so ready. But is the song she hears really hope or is it illusion?
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Q: What’s Best Case Scenario about
A: It’s a contemporary New Adult/Coming of Age story following six months in the life of Nyra Westensee, a college graduate in Los Angeles’ South Bay. A year beyond graduation, Nyra is embroiled in the multi-faceted questions of personal and professional identity. On a professional level, she’s trying to sort out a career path, which stubbornly refuses to get started. On a personal level, much like her mother, Nyra’s had awful luck in love, despite being intelligent, witty and attractive. This continuing frustration has her second-guessing herself, even wondering if her mother’s loneliness is a predictor of her own. It is a theme that is one of the motifs woven into the story.
Q: Okay, let’s dive into the obvious. You’re a guy, writing about a young woman. How did you go about putting yourself inside Nyra’s head to write a convincing tale from a woman’s point of view?
A: Very, carefully! (Lopsided smile.) Seriously, I think writing a convincing story about anyone, regardless of gender, demands that the author care enough to want to understand. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been raised a woman who was a feminist, long before the term was in vogue. I’m also the beneficiary of some incredibly preceptive women in my author’s group, who keep me honest. Last but certainly not least, my editor is a millennial woman with a sharp eye for detail. It has been really gratifying to have my critique group, beta readers and editors all tell me they find Nyra believable and that they’re looking forward to more of Nyra’s journey.
Q: Where did the idea for Best Case Scenario come from?
A: It’s been brewing for quite some time. Best Case Scenario seeks to weave the contextual realities of our time—particularly the impact of sweeping and often bewildering change—with the challenges confronting emerging adults in the 21st century. Nyra’s journey is mirrors the complications of our age and the factors that help make the world today a more uncertain place than perhaps at any time in our history. Best Case Scenario, is first and foremost about one woman’s journey, but it’s hard to miss the inherent conflicts between the entrenched interests of the old ways and the evolving new. Each generation faces this, and I’ve tried to personalize those issues in Nyra’s struggles, both professionally and personally.
Q: It sounds like you’re signaling that readers should expect social themes to show up in Nyra’s story?
A: Yes. And right from the beginning. Nyra story is fundamentally about Nyra and the people in her life, but there’s no missing the social and economic implications implicit in her struggle. Anyone young or old can relate to those conflicts, but young women in particular are likely to relate to Nyra’s self-conscious search for her true identity. And I’m using self-conscious in its most positive, deliberate sense. One of the things I really admire about the millennials I’ve gotten to know personally is their consciousness of and sensitivity to the issues of our time. While Best Case Scenario doesn’t advance an agenda, there’s no missing the social thread running through the story.
Q: Is there any significance to the setting, other than you’re obviously from Southern California & it’s a place you’re familiar with?
A: None. This story transplants well to anywhere in America, but especially in urban environments, which today, is most of the population. That’s not to say that environmental influences don’t affect Nyra’s journey. Every story is influenced by its context. But the questions Nyra confronts are universal.
Q: This sounds like it’s mostly a character-driven story?
A: Definitely. Take Nyra out of it, drop someone else in the same situation and the whole story changes. While challenges Nyra faces in Best Case Scenario are universal and relatable, I think one of the attractions to this story, is how Nyra confronts and deals with who she is and who she’s becoming. As the story unfolds, I think most readers will savor the uniqueness of Nyra’s journey and her missteps and triumphs even while recognizing the universal challenges that make up her journey and all of our journeys.
Q: Do any of your characters’ names have special significance?
A: Absolutely none.
Q: So there’s no naming system or method?
A: No. I go with what seems to fit the character, in some undefinable way. But it’s unstructured, and I don’t always get it right the first time. I’ve changed a character’s names more than once, either because it doesn’t seem to fit them. But there’s no hidden meaning or in them and none of them have any significance to me personally. I try to avoid that.
Q: The sub-title to Best Case Scenario is “Act I to Nyra’s Journey.” Does this signal a series coming on?
Q: A trilogy, maybe?
A: At least. I haven’t decided, yet. I have the story’s through-line mapped out and the beginning, middle, end format suggests a trilogy may be enough to do justice to Nyra’s story. But not unlike life itself, stories sometimes evolve and take interesting side trips. And as those who’ve already read Best Case Scenario can verify, Nyra’s curious enough to wonder, and courageous enough to wander out of her comfort zone.
Q: What should we be looking forward to in the second act?
A: Expect Nyra to kick it into gear and go into a steep growth curve. Most will find themselves admiring how well she’s adapted. But you can also expect more challenges and like most of us, she’ll veer off course. Rough seas are ahead. Nyra’s curiosity and her comfort with risk is going to get her in some interesting situations. She’s also going to slam into challenges she couldn’t avoid no matter what she did. Nyra’s going to be tested, in her relationships with her family, in her personal life and development and professionally. But Nyra’s the eternal spitfire. She will not go quietly and there will be fireworks.
Dirk Sayers grew up in a university town in Iowa, where he spent his formative years with one foot in the simplicity of farm country and the other in the frenetic environment of a university town immersed in the social upheaval of the sixties. He managed to survive it all, sometimes in spite of himself.
After graduating from college, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, serving for 22 years on five continents, during peace and war. He was decorated five times and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. On retiring, he discovered, (among other things), his experience and six dollars would get him a cup of coffee everywhere…but not necessarily a job.
Accordingly, Dirk took an eighteen month sabbatical to earn a Master’s degree in Organizational Development. Hired shortly after completing his thesis, he applied his new degree as a Corporate Trainer and District Manager. After eleven years with the same company, Dirk became a casualty of the 2008 financial crisis, along with many of the men and women he helped train.
Since then, Dirk has published numerous articles and short stories and two books; a non-fiction work entitled, The Woman’s No-fear Guide to Online dating and his first novel, West of Tomorrow. He is also working on the first volume of a science fiction series, Tier Zero, Volume I of The Knolan Cycle and an anthology of short stories, entitled Through the Windshield, Drive-by Encounters with Truth.
Dirk currently lives in Laguna Niguel, with his wife, two psychotic cats, a Ball Python named Corona and a crow with a deformed talon named Hop-along. His author’s web site is dirksayers.com where he blogs about a variety of issues of interest to us all & posts the latest news regarding his writings.
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