‘Ster­ling Bridge’ is an in­spir­ing true-life story

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Deb­bie Bal­zotti

Iread the short novel “Ster­ling Bridge” by Chad Robert Parker in two evenings. It had been sit­ting in my books-to-read pile un­der a couple of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion books I re­ceived as Christ­mas gifts. But they were really long, so “Ster­ling Bridge” made the top of the pile – and I’m glad it did.

The set­ting is Tooele, Utah, as the Great De­pres­sion ap­proaches. The story re­volves around foot­ball, high school, small-town Utah prej­u­dice in the late 1920s, and a real-life hero by the name of Ster­ling Har­ris. It’s his bi­og­ra­phy with some fic­tional de­tails thrown in to make a read­able story.

Read­ers meet Coach Har­ris as he ar­rives on the first day of school. Be­cause we read the back of the book, we know that “Tooele, Utah, is a town di­vided. Ten­sions are al­ready run­ning high with the De­pres­sion making money tight and jobs scarce. But then Ster­ling Har­ris comes to town, a new coach with a dar­ing plan to turn things around and to find vic­tory for his foot­ball team and unity for Tooele.”

I also knew he would win the 1929 Utah state foot­ball cham­pi­onship be­cause I al­ways look at the pho­tos at the end of a book.

If you read the book know­ing it’s a film novel, a story he al­ready wrote a film script for, it helps. You can hear a di­rec­tor in the back­ground of some of the scenes in the book yelling, “Fade out on 14-yearold nar­ra­tor Joe Lacy and bring Ster­ling Har­ris into the spot­light.”

This is the first pub­lished novel for Utah au­thor Chad Robert Parker. He de­scribes his 15-year writ­ing jour­ney on his blog at chadrobert­parker.com and ex­plains why this is a film novel of 126 pages. “One of the first things I re­al­ized about writ­ing was that there was no way I could write a good idea down fast enough. While my mind thinks in longer for­mats, my at­ten­tion span is about as long as the length of a movie,” he said.

Parker said dur­ing our in­ter­view that there are film pro­duc­ers look­ing at his screen­play.

“Ster­ling Bridge be­gan with an in­spi­ra­tional per­son, in­spired an in­spi­ra­tional book, and is al­ready of in­ter­est to a few movie pro­duc­ers who ex­pect it could in­spire many more through film. Through my writ­ing, I hope to in­tro­duce char­ac­ters such as Ster­ling Har­ris, with his old school val­ues and tena­cious ways, to a whole new gen­er­a­tion,” he said.

“Ster­ling Bridge” is avail­able on­line at Ama­zon.com, Books&Things.com and Barnes&No­ble.com. You can also pur­chase a copy at Cedar Fort Pub­lish­ing in Springville.

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