Exploring elements of faith and trust and the idea that people have the ability to change, local author Michael Ringering's debut novel "Six Bits" is the story of a man's journey of self-realization.
Ringering will be signing copies of the novel at Signal Mountain Library Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
"It's a story of redemption and self-discovery," said Ringering. "He's basically trying to figure out what's important in his life when he's ignored that his whole life."
He said he thinks the book will appeal to and resonate with a broad range of readers.
"Everyone seems to kind of take something different, but everyone identifies," he said. "It gives people a little bit of food for thought; when they close the cover, that's what I was hoping to do."
Originally from Alton, Ill., Ringering moved to the Chattanooga area in December 2005 when he accepted the position of director of marketing and communications with University Surgical Associates. While earning his bachelor's degree in business administration from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., for one of his classes Ringering was assigned to develop a concept for a work of fiction along with a few characters essential to the plot.
"Six Bits" grew out of this concept more than a decade later, when he started working on the novel part-time and developing the concept and characters further in his head. In 2004 he began fully devoting his time to the project.
The majority of the novel is based in Chicago, with flashbacks to the 1920s involving an Irish country vet in Wisconsin. Ringering said the flashbacks required a good deal of research in the form of reading books and watching movies, as well as making connections with people in the community through the local Chamber of Commerce.
"I was determined to be accurate and make sure the places I was talking about were described correctly," he said.
The wife of the novel's main character, Jack London Clarke (named after Ringering's favorite author Jack London), was inspired by a woman Ringering met in college and her experiences.
After being confronted by his wife over his suspected infidelity, Clarke prepares to flee his suburban Chicago home when an unexpected visitor arrives and sends his personal life spinning out of control. His family turns up missing, and he comes to the realization that the life he had and never appreciated may be lost forever.
Published in December, the book is now available online in paperback and electronic format at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and will soon be available through iTunes as well.