Yes and no. Knowing what I’d like to write about is never enough for me to begin a story. I can try, but I never get very far. It’s only when I know who my story is going to be about that the “what” unfolds in my head. Yes, I wanted to write a story about bullying, but it wasn’t until much later that I could. I said there were two images that haunted me. The second appeared one June during my school’s closing ceremony when students in grades 7-11 gathered in the gymnasium to receive awards for outstanding achievement. Because I usually presented one or more of the awards, I was sitting with the other presenters on the stage, and from this position I could see the expressions of the winners when their names were called, as well as watch them approach the stage to collect their prizes. I’ve always been interested in the different ways students accept them. Usually, when students were called up to the stage to accept athletic awards, everything about them—their faces, the way they walk, the way they hold their prizes—showed how thrilled they are. That June, though, as the academic awards were presented, a student approached the stage with a look of utter embarrassment on his face, almost as if he were ashamed of having done well. His reaction bothered me because, as a teacher, I wanted students to be proud of their academic achievement. On that particular day, I began wondering why a person might react that way to winning such an award, and this, in turn, made me want to explore how it might feel to be a gifted student. That gifted student became Randy Forsythe, the main character in Stranger at Bay, who eventually recalls in Chapter 19 his own embarrassment at accepting an academic award at a previous school.