by Winston Chua
SAN MARINO – Titan Alum C.B. Shiepe (Class of 1987) made a special visit to San Marino Rotarians this past Thursday, sharing about his personal journey of faith, perseverance and restoration.
“You have to die to what you thought your life would be like,” said Shiepe. “Loss, sadness and pain are part of the human experience.”
But so are redemption, success, a healthy pride and a touch of glory.
At the meeting, Shiepe shared about his bestselling novel, Cliff Falls, the story of Clay Grant, a child star from the ’80s, who goes on the run to escape his past and reinvent his future. His journey takes him to Cliff Falls, where he finds safe harbor in a mega-church run by the Rev. Reagan Mitchell, and starts the process of finding himself. What happens when you run into everything you’re running from?
The tale is one of redemption, about the times in life when people fall from some place of seeming security, find themselves in a troubling situation and then learn about their true identity as children of a loving God with a brilliant destiny and purpose.
His novel has found quite a bit of success this year; he was recently featured in the April edition of Guideposts Magazine as well as on NBC with anchor Colleen Williams. A popular book club selection, the novel continues to sell out and in late March he spoke to more than 500 people at the Betty Ford Center where actors performed scenes from his novel as part of the event.
Cliff Falls is the fruit of one of the more challenging portions of Shiepe’s own personal life, one that took him through a rigorous battle with a mysterious illness he battled for seven years. Beginning in 1996, he would become very acquainted with the medical community, in the care of a total of 70 doctors, most of them specialists, who were baffled by his condition and his consistent and persistent high fevers.
“What was especially difficult for me was that people didn’t know what I had, it didn’t have a name, and so I was isolated all the more.”
Seven years into the ordeal a doctor at a research hospital in Los Angeles diagnosed a bacteria in his system and placed him on a 10-and-a-half day water only fast to kill it. After years of struggle in which he lost a lot more than he gained, his health was finally restored.
“The knowledge that the novel is speaking to people who have gone over the falls in their own lives is especially meaningful to me. In all that isolation, I had to recognize the face of restoration, and trust that God was taking my experience and redeeming the lost years. I know now that none of our life’s experiences goes to waste.”
One part of his life that remained steady when all other things seemed to fall by the wayside was the hope and faith of his mother Marie, who envisioned the day when he would be well; she was the person who manifested God’s love and stability during a time when everything felt like it was hanging by the thinnest of threads. She stood in the gap for Shiepe, along with other people of faith and support.
And now Shiepe is a coveted speaker, whose book at the Pasadena Vroman’s is alongside legendary author J.D. Salinger’s work Catcher in the Rye. Together they are two authors whose names share some similarities, in addition to some fascinating work they share with the world.
Cliff Falls is also available on Kindle, Nook and iTunes.
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