This past weekend I watched the HBO movie “The Normal Heart.” It dealt with the very early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York by focusing on a group of friends/activists who are trying to gain attention, funding, etc to the cause while their lovers and friends are dropping like flies from the disease. While incredibly sad, it was also interesting to me as I deal with this very same issue in the sequel to my novel, “Red, White & Blues” except the location is San Francisco. I have had the pleasure to know and love many gay friends, some of whom are no longer with us because of AIDS while others are dealing with HIV and still others are lucky enough to be healthy. Bringing issues like AIDS to light through likable, engaging and sympathetic fictional characters is important to me. I did the very same thing in “Red, White & Blues” by creating characters that had been through the Vietnam War and then came home to deal with PTSD, discrimination, etc. Sometimes the best way to educate people about an issue is to show them that these people are just like them. They love, have friends, families, jobs. It is an honor for me to bring these characters to life so that we may all learn to sympathize and care.