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While writing Soul Surfer Johnny, the first book in this series, I was flooded with so many additional memories of “Puerto Tranquilo” that I knew a second book was waiting to be written. By the time the first book was finished, I had jotted down more than 125 other memorable episodes. I was challenged to write the book that became Soul Surfer Johnny by Joel Fotinos, vice president for spiritual books for Penguin-Putnam publishers, during a lunch we had in 2007. He had just read my Awakening The Soul: The Trilogy, and challenged me to write a novel incorporating the essence of that tome, ala the most successful novel of the millennium, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. While Soul Surfer Johnny is certainly no Da Vinci Code, it does carry forth that essence of spiritual growth, describing a young man’s soul awakening. The heart of the story, however, remains his many wild surfing adventures, most in Puerto. But it wasn’t planned that way. A number of years ago, I began compiling a list of topics for my Puerto book, which I knew I would write some day. But I had no plans of incorporating those memories into the book Fotinos challenged me to write, revealing how to create the spiritual awakening possible within each of us. However, when I started writing, it was immediately apparent where this story was going ... to Puerto, where my personal spiritual awakening occurred some 25 years earlier. Thus, the first Soul Surfer Johnny book had a serious underlying story of spiritual awakening that seemed out of place in a surfing adventure novel. But it really wasn’t, because what was being portrayed as happening to Johnny really had happened to me, and has occurred to others, so I knew it was eminently possible. I had so much fun writing Soul Surfer Johnny that I immediately started writing this book, its direct sequel, but with a difference. This volume does not have that heavy underlying story of spiritual growth, but rather only occasional references to Johnny’s continuing awakening. It’s mostly outrageous tales of his many Puerto adventures and episodes. This book richly continues the adventures of Soul Surfer Johnny, the story of an East Coast bad boy who becomes a good kid as he learns to surf in the waves off Southern California. In the process, he joins his own sort of “gang,” then ventures south to the big waves of Southern Mexico. He is guided to “Puerto Tranquilo” in the late 1970s by several of his fellow Tyrony Bros. “gang” members, who had discovered the fantastic surf break there several years before. There he is witness to and participates in a bizarre series of adventures. Unexpectedly, he begins to explore his spirituality, and discovers his true inner self for the first time, dramatically improving his life. Like its predecessor, this continuing wild tale is almost true, however sometimes the actual circumstances are slightly “enhanced,” while conveying the basic truth. For example, a few wave heights may have been exaggerated occasionally – except in the “Big Wednesday” chapter, which is Johnny’s true, eye-witness account. But most of the book’s stories actually happened as described. It makes no claim toward being all-inclusive, or a legitimate history of the town. It’s just a lot of mostly true stories about a wonderful little town in Southern Mexico. All stories are re-told as accurately as memory serves.
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