A beekeeper I met in a rural Texas café long ago was the inspiration for BUZZ. I pitched a nonfiction book with photos on this man’s existence to a publisher with whom I had previously worked. They did not jump on the project and another publisher diverted my attention by responding to another book proposal. Later, while outlining a thriller set in South Texas, my story evolved in a series of major changes into BUZZ, a coming-of-age story which transports the reader to the mesquite brush country. The many drafts over several years allowed me to layer the story into the rich narrative that it is today.
In BUZZ, a young man's search for personal identity collides with an examination of personal responsibility for the environment and systemic racism. There is serious scientific concern as to the disappearance of the bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). At the same time, Matt’s more immediate concerns involve his relationship with Maria, the harassment of the ranchers’ sons and the treacherous creatures in the brush, both man and beast.
BUZZ opens on the mean streets of Chicago with Matt making a bad decision that has dire consequences. His mom in desperation sends him to his aunt’s in South Texas for the summer. Matt is determined to somehow get back home to Chicago. That is even before he encounters the local bullies, who are relentless in harassing him. Matt’s chance encounter with Maria seems to brighten the possibilities for the summer, but their intense relationship leads to far more challenges than he could imagine.
An old beekeeper, named Buzz, befriends Matt. He hires Matt to help him out so Matt can save the money for a bus ticket home. Buzz teaches Matt about beekeeping, but he also exposes Matt to the country way of life, the flora and fauna of the mesquite brush country, the dire situation of the bees and much more.
Matt realizes that his life on the streets of Chicago offers little hope and that his mom’s relationship with her latest boyfriend is a disaster. He learns that sometimes the best family is the one you choose. The rising tension that leads to the climax forces Matt to make difficult choices on terms that are not of his choosing.
Prior to BUZZ, Steve Chicoine published eight books with major houses. His author’s website is www.freedomhistory.com. The website also includes many of his photographs from his adventure travels around the world.
BUZZ is available in paperback and in e-book formats through www.indigotreepublishing.com.
Don’t miss an excerpt from ‘BUZZ’ on this site tomorrow!