Ticket to Ride: Behind the Story, Part 3

Why “Morgan” and what am I trying to say through him?

My male lead, Morgan, was named for a young friend of a friend who died a drug-related death. Some of you in Southern California may have known him as Morgan Bonan. I wanted to honor his early passing by giving him new life in my book. His father, unlike mine, served in Vietnam, and served me in adding a bit more depth to the character of Morgan’s fictional father.

The original name for Morgan in Tradewinds was “Jonny,” named after an old friend of mine, Jonny Smith, an awkward sort, who I used as a model for the early drafts. Jonny Smith’s real father died at an early age of lung cancer and left Jonny, in my eyes, as a sad, rootless kid.

Tradewinds was named for the prevailing winds that blow daily in Hawaii and Just Another Day was named for a Paul McCartney song (Perhaps you can go to Youtube and listen to it) of the same name that served as the basis for the story of my female protagonist, Livy Tinsley . But, like I said earlier, we’ll get to Livy a little later on. First let me finish with the title. The title of the Tradewinds section has now been changed in the current form of the book to “Got to Get You Into My Life” (Are you confused yet?) The reason being that a significant part of Morgan’s journey has to do with finding an ideal partner.

Morgan’s last name comes from one of my favorite English poets, William Blake. The fact that Morgan’s father’s name is William is meant to cause the reader to bring some of that transcendental poet’s wisdom to the table. There is also a bit of irony here which I’m sure many of you will see. Morgan’s father is, at times, much like the real William Blake, but at other times, much like Adolf Hitler. It’s the military side of him that drives him to be dictatorial. And it’s this side that causes trouble between himself and his son.

I’ll get into Livy’s character next week.

Have a good weekend.

About Philip Wikel

Philip Wikel is a five star (Midwest Book Review) novelist, a graphic designer and publisher who also dabbles in music (with band The Julian Day) and photography. He studied Comparative Literature at UC-Santa Cruz and his lifelong passion for words led him to write poetry, short stories, two novellas and journalistic pieces which have found readership in various forms of publication. He considers the high point of his writing career to be when he interviewed the musician Jack Johnson for Blue Edge magazine as it fused two of his favorite interests, music and writing. After making 5 extended trips to surf on Maui, beginning in 1986, Phil finally decided to make the island his home in 2012. His motto: "Endeavoring to increase the moments of joy experienced through the arts."
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17 Responses to Ticket to Ride: Behind the Story, Part 3

  1. suzannestock says:

    What a great way to honor a friend! If you don’t mind, I might borrow the idea for a character in the second novel of the series I’m working on. Oh, and I love the tie in to William Blake too!

  2. When I was 12, I lived next to Morgan Bonan on Morrison street in Sherman Oaks in 1986. He was 14 or 15 and I was madly in love with him, as were all of the girls. Every afternoon, my older sister and her friends would go next door to watch them (Todd Moffat-Dreamy!) skate the massive half-pipe in his back yard.

    Me and my little Jr.high friends would try to go to, but my high school sisters would have none of it. Morgan would let us come hang out and always be cool to us. We ditched class one time and he took me and my sister to the beach, where we’d just watch the waves when it was too cold to surf.

    Morgan was always kind and amused by all of the little girls who loved him. He was also a fantastic skateboarder and a good brother to his little sister, who’s name I can’t remember. His Mom was really sweet too, and his dad a cute surfer guy who drove an old Porsche.

    • annette bonan ferrell says:

      i am morgan’s auntie….annette….his sister’s name is liane….this brings up such sweet memories…i came across this site in such an odd way….it’s nice to hear from others about morgan….he was a great kid….thanks for all the kind words….

      • philip_wikel says:

        I was so taken by Morgan’s friends, Evan and Shelly Caples, stories about him that I renamed the main character after him.

      • Please tell Liane I send my love to her and her family! Living next to Morgan Bonan and his family introduced me to the surf culture and respect for the ocean. He was only 13 or 14 when I knew him and was an insanely good skateboarder. Xo

      • annette bonan ferrell says:

        hi morgain….i sure will….i keep in touch of course with liane….and her mom….lee….your kind words about morgan are appreciated….he was a kind….funny guy….i miss him…..he would ask me to make candied yams at holiday dinners….so i honor him to this day and fix candied yams….just for him…he was so very thoughtful….he was my heart

      • philip_wikel says:

        If you’d like a copy of my book. Just send me your address.

      • annette bonan ferrell says:

        Annette Bonan Ferrell
        1413 w 123rd st
        los angeles, ca. 90047
        I would really like that….i printed out the article….and will send it to john….morgan’s dad….and my brother….so kind of you to keep morgan in your thoughts….and book

      • philip_wikel says:

        Your copy is on its way. I hope you’ll like it.

      • annette bonan ferrell says:

        thank you so very much…..will for sure enjoy it…..

  3. Scott Nalin says:

    Hi all…. This is Scott Nalin… Morgan was one of my first friends…my dad bribed his dad, john, to play on my little league team for some dental work…we were buds ever since… I always wondered, amongst other things, what happened with liane…I can still picture Horowitz dropping in and running right into her…he saved her though…ill save t his page….I think about Morgan all the time…

  4. Lea says:

    Hi, I was thinking about the Bonan’s and came across your site. Lianne, Morgan’s younger sister, was my best friend who I met in the 1st grade and remained best friends with until our twenties when we lost touch. Old friends and neighbors to the Bonan’s, the Raich family called me to tell me Morgan passed away in a horrific death. I still don’t know all the details and I was never able to get in touch with Lianne or John. I loved being at their house and hanging out with my friend’s older brother and his cool and cute friends. I wished I was one of the cool girls on roller skates that would hang out with the guys skating on the ramp in the back yard. If you we’re there I may have known you too. I have so many memories of Lianne, Morgan, John and Lee. On the weekends either John or Morgan would take us to the beach really early in the morning so they could surf and we could hang out. I remember Morgan’s girlfriend Hanna and her friends taking us to the beach to meet the boys. They were all beautiful. We drove there in one of their cars, an aqua blue bug, when we got there they took off their clothes and were all wearing g-string bikinis. I thought those girls were so cool and wanted to be just like them when I became a teenager. I had so much fun being with them and so many memories. I really miss them. I don’t know where they went.
    Your book sounds really interesting. It sounds like you were close to the Bonan’s too. I would be interested on reading your story.

    Lea

  5. Lea says:

    P.S. I just wanted to add that Morgan was beautiful, talented and fun. He treated me like I was a younger sister with concern and kindness. Morgan and his family are always in my thoughts.

  6. duke says:

    hello.. i found this website and just wanted to clear a few things up. i am a very close friend to morgan, more of a little brother. i was around when morgan passed and it had nothing at all to do with drugs. morgan was back in the water surfing and looking strong and healthy like the morgan we knew. about a few months before he passed, morgan, his sister liane and i went to a skate park next to birmingham high school and he was still ripping with that smooth surf skate style he had.
    i can tell you that not many people were around his last years. yes morgan did have problems with drugs in his past but he was able to win that battle. the two peoples names mentioned, did not see or hear from morgan for years before his passing. its sad to know that certain people have so much to say about a person they forgot about way before they were gone. im so happy to have spent the time i spent with him. if anyone reads this and would like to know more about his last years spent with us and more about the “true” morgan, you can email me at dukela818@hotmail.com.. i have many family pictures and videos of morgan if you would like to view them. i would love to contact liane if someone has her email.
    i think about morgan all the time. i think about the time during his memorial paddle out at surfrider beach when we all formed a circle holding hands. someone paddled out with one of morgans surfboards with flowers piled on it. after the guy pushed the board out into the circle it kept floating up to me. this happened about five times and the guy next to me said “wow man… that has to be a sign” so i guess me coming across this website is also a sign… God bless

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