Humanity has achieved a lot in the last 600 years or so. Among our more notable accomplishments: the invention of the printing press (1440), the automobile (1769) and electricity (1882); and we have put a man on the moon (1969). Yet there are a few things that have alluded us: clean energy, world peace and bringing someone back from the dead.
But what if those seemingly unachievable goals were possible? In “Back Again,” the debut novel by retired Stillwater resident Jamie Stoudt, an entire world of possibilities opens up when Wendy Halstad, who everyone thought had died of a massive heart attack three years earlier, suddenly appears in the parking lot outside her husband’s workplace in Stillwater. When she conveniently runs into Michael, he puts aside his suspicions and brings his wife back home. Then the adventure begins. It isn’t long before Wendy reveals why she is back again.
“Turns out she has some unfinished business on Planet Earth,” Stoudt said, who goes on to explain his character has some lofty goals. “She wants to achieve things people have been trying to do for years, but been unsuccessful at.”
The first task she wants to tackle is convincing clergy from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths to work together towards a breakthrough that has eluded the religious communities for generations. Next, she takes on the task of trying to convince a branch of the U.S. Military to turn an aircraft carrier from a vessel of destruction into one with a humanitarian mission. As if that’s not enough progress for humanity, she also attempts to help society take a major step towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
“My overriding thought process in the book was to take a look at what causes war: religious intolerance, our insatiable need for more energy, militarization that requires counter-militarization and of course wacko dictators. I also wanted to explore what we might do about that. I hope I have created a positive, uplifting story where people see that yes things can get better,” said Stoudt, who explains that 2020 was the perfect time for this novel to be published.
Like many Americans, he is hopeful for a return to some sense of normalcy sooner rather than later.
Stoudt’s second novel, “Don’t Get Caught, is scheduled for release in early 2021. It is the story of two brothers who are left to clean-up the mess after millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent transactions are uncovered at their father’s company.
Victor Driscoll may not have been the perpetrator, but he was aware of what was happening and did nothing to stop it. Rather than go after the old guy, investigators go after the bad apples in his company. Meantime, Vic’s sons, Kelly and Ryan, team up with recently hired office manager, Margaret, and her girlfriend, Donna Carlasccio, to do some investigating of their own, all in the name of doing the right thing.
Stoudt says the story was loosely inspired by a true crime that happened in the Midwest during his time working in the automotive industry. The book’s sequel, titled “Donna Carlasccio”, will be released towards the end of 2021.
About the author
Jamie Stoudt grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in communications. His varied career experiences include owning and managing a Ford dealership, working as Director of Client Services for a technology company, doing home renovations as a licensed contractor, and serving as CEO, CFO, President, and Cook for Lefse By Lars, a concession-wagon enterprise which he was incorrectly convinced would make him rich.