Author of Wish, Jake Smith is the editor of Just Labs and the managing editor of The Retriever Journal and The Pointing Dog Journal at VP Demand Creation Services right here in Traverse City. A former high school baseball coach and all-star shortstop, Jake now spends his time on the field assisting his kids' youth teams.
Smith hopes this novel will help accomplish his goals of supplying hospital "wish list" items for patients, assisting families with expenses, and increasing awareness and participation in the National Marrow Donor Program's bone marrow registry.
James McConnell's one wish is that his nine-year-old son will finally be healthy enough to play a game of catch. Then he and his wife, Emily, receive news they've dreaded: Aaron's cancer has relapsed.
As the family prepares themselves for a draining treatment regimen in yet another hospital, Aaron receives the gift of a lifetime - a personal visit from one of his favorite professional baseball players - and the chance to make a bold request, his wish: to see his dad play in one major league game.
A former college standout, James fears he doesn't have the talent it takes, even for one game, and that he'll miss what could be Aaron's precious last weeks. Yet how can he refuse his dying son's wish?
Poignant and triumphant, Wish is the story of a father's love, a family's perseverance, and the miracles that can happen when you believe in the impossible (St. Rita- the Saint of the Impossible).
Excitement surrounded the office for months, hearing about the trials, tribulations and the progress of the novel. When Jake first told us that his agent, Jeff Kleinman of Folio Literary Management in New York, helped land him Tyndale House Publishers - we were all very happy for Jake, as his own wish was coming true.
The only two things left standing? We all go out and read his book, ask for his autograph, attending the book launch (those all count as one) and become a marrow donor.
I jumped on the opportunity to become a bone marrow donor, even though if ever lucky enough to save a life, it would hurt like no other, but I wondered about the book and whether or not it was "my kind of book" - since it was so different than my favorite author - Harlan Coben - but I am in support of Jake and his dreams, especially since I've always been in love with the idea of having my own published book.
The first of published words, and even the last, is always a thrill - always special when people are there to support.
Wish, a story of family, of caring and sacrifice, of people coming together to help in a time of great need - you never seem to be able to understand unless you go through a situation close enough to "get it." And I had recently, when a close family member passed away and left family, friends, and my closest cousin. I got it. The story is very real, poignant, touching, heartwarming, inspirational and motivational - push through!
At the heart of the story is nine-year-old Aaron, who is beginning treatment after his cancer has come back, and anyone who has loved, taken care of, and sacrificed for anyone diagnosed with a serious illness can relate to Aaron and his family. Survival is never a sure thing, worries and stresses are real, emotions are raw and break at your every move, yet Wish is filled with hope and defeat - in a good way.
I know Jake Smith is a talented writer just from working with him, and learning from him every day; but I also know he did a lot of research on the book - getting every little detail right - from Michigan's state-of-the-art hospital to baseball. What got me, was how open and willing people were to help make a dream come true; to open themselves up to the realities of severe illnesses and the behind-the-scenes of stars.
What's also inspirational, and a fact of life everyone needs to come to, is James, Aaron's dad, clinging to faith and God, but still being taken over by 'the flesh' - going back to that dark place. And everyone goes through, no matter what they're going through. You know exactly what I am talking about - the place that is dark and echoing with little light, like the underground tunnels of the State Hospital...the place where pictures of life and memories linger with what's been lost...the thoughts of 'I should have done this, or that, or I wish I had just (one) more time to...' the place where your kids are supposed to outgrow up, or a loved one is supposed to grow old with you and their life was stolen. We've all been there at some point in our lives, and unfortunately, we'll be there throughout life.
But God, he's always there for us, he loves us and wants us to have a relationship with him, give him our hearts - feeling unworthy? Remind yourself - God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies those who he calls. Your biggest blessing is sometimes hidden behind the most difficult of challenges. Push through!
God heals - sometimes in life and sometimes above the clouds - but He does heal...if you open your heart, trust, give and receive grace, and let him - He will. (If there's a will, there's a way.)
Wish - to feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable.
How Aaron's wish to see his dad play in a major league baseball game comes about is astonishing and inspirational - from the inner workings of baseball clubs, to the humble pro athlete who quietly uses his 'stardom' to help sick children - and there are stars like that out there, one helped my sister when she was in her early teens - to the under the lights, under the stars, roaring fans, perfectly engineered field itself.
If you believe - wishing on a star gets it out there, believing in God makes it happen. Sometimes miraculously, but often through the skilled hands of medical professionals, and sometimes simply through the willingness of ordinary people, miracles happen...
On a side note, I knew a young woman once who, when she was born, had two holes in her heart. Doctors scrambled to figure out what to do, and finally told her mother that they might be able to save her by conducting a very dangerous surgery, on an already preemie baby. To save her child, she agreed to the 40% that her child might live with the surgery, but they she would die without it...but didn't stop there. She prayed to God, she prayed to her Pastor, who came in to bless the child with holy oil. By the next morning, doctors were astonished to find the holes had healed themselves and the baby girl was 100% healthy.
So who are you to think God doesn't heal?
Wish is a spiritual novel that makes you believe in something bigger than yourself, while motivating, inspiring and bringing tears to the eyes of readers. Aaron's parents, parents that know exactly how they feel, point the way for us every day - you can either sit on the bench and let cancer tell you how to act, or you can move forward with life and living.
Although it's nothing like Harlan Coben's mystery novels, Wish is an inspiration I would recommend to anyone. Not big on the genre? Read it. Not a big sports fan? Read it. Never experienced a life changing event like this? Doubtful. Read it. Read it, Read it, Read it! And it will change your life perspective.
All current and continuing proceeds from this novel are going to hospitals statewide to help bring awareness to the National Marrow Donor Program, patients and their families.
You can purchase Wish at Amazon, CBD, DeeperShopping & Barnes & Noble.
Local book stores in the Traverse City area that carry this book include Brilliant Books* and Horizon Bookstore, in downtown TC.
Meet Jake online:
Main Website: www.jakesmithbooks.com
Also on Google +, Goodreads & YouTube.
Become a Bone Marrow Donor - Check out your Local Registry & Find out more information:
In Traverse City:
*Your primary care physician should be able to take a swab and put you on the list (just a swab of the mouth).