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Local News

La Grange author turns screenplay into first novel

LA GRANGE – Dan Burns likes movies, which is why his new fiction novel started as a screenplay.

The La Grange author visualized his story before turning it into his second book, “Recalled to Life," which he calls a contemporary family drama about three generations of a family and their struggle to find out what’s most important.

The book's protagonist is a Chicago architect named Peter O’Hara, who maps out a perfect life before a string of unplanned events forces him to re-evaluate everything, Burns said.

"It's based upon a collection of things I've read and people I've met and things I've experienced in life,” said Burns, who debuted the novel at a kickoff and signing event June 20 at Hammer Boutique. “Some of those things come out in the story. Some of the things in the story are things I didn't get to do yet, but maybe would like to try out."

Burns was in information technologies for 25 years and even owned part of a consulting company, but he sold his share in 2007 to focus on writing and teaching technology-based courses part-time at his alma mater, DePaul University. He soon released his first book, “The First 60 Seconds," about how to win a job interview and manage a career.

Burns spent two years promoting that book, and he plans to visit as many libraries and book clubs as he can to publicize “Recalled to Life.” Eckhartz Press, a small Chicago publishing company, published the book, which is being sold in paperback form exclusively on the company’s website,, for $15.95. Burns said the e-book version will be available by the end of June on all major platforms.

Because the story spans generations, Burns has sought feedback from the young and old, including from his kids and from people his parents’ age.

"A lot of the reaction I've gotten from people it is that it's a great story but that it's [also] a thought-provoking story,” he said. “There are things to talk about and things to think about."

Book clubs have invited Burns to talk about some of those issues, he said. One obvious theme is dealing with unexpected turns that come up.

"Life isn't easy. Life isn't perfect. We're all thrown curveballs here and there,” Burns said. “Peter O'Hara as the protagonist certainly has his own share of curveballs to deal with. He's pushed to the limit maybe more than most people."

Burns will publish “No Turning Back,” a collection of short stories spanning several genres, sometime next year. Now, he’s working on his next novel, a crime mystery set in Chicago called “A Fine Line,” which he plans to publish in 2015. After that comes a science fiction novel.

"It's fun and its ever-changing and its always challenging,” Burns said of writing different genres. “I just like to mix it up."

Read more about Burns' work on his website, 

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