Behind the scenes: The Writing of Carbon-14: The Shroud of Turin

The Inspiration
This story was inspired after watching a Discovery Channel documentary called Unwrapping the Shroud.  This documentary revealed how a woman named Sue Benford discovered that the carbon date performed on the Shroud was done on a repaired portion, therefore causing it to erroneously date to the medieval period. She had studied pictures taken by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in 1978. The evidence she found both from the magnified standard pictures and blue quad mosaic pictures revealed that the area that was sampled was anomalous. She theorized that at some point somebody had repaired the Shroud using a technique called French Reweaving. This involved dying cotton fibers to match the color of aged linen and then carefully twisting the fibers together to make a repair that was invisible to the naked eye. Ray Rogers, a scientist on the STURP team, had originally thought her theory was absurd, calling her and husband, Joe Marino, members of the “lunatic fringe”. However, after Dr. Rogers retrieved a leftover Shroud sample that had been used for the carbon date, he had no problem finding cotton fibers mixed with linen.  He later published his findings for the scientific community.

Now that I had the germ of an idea, I had to work at developing the story. From what I understand based on the book Wrapped Up in the Shroud, written by Sue Benford’s husband, Joseph Marino (a former Catholic monk), Sue had made this discover in 2000, a full twelve years after the carbon date in 1988. I wanted my story to be more immediate, happening at the same moment as the carbon date. I also wanted it to be set in the same city in which one of the three carbon dates was performed. Tucson, Arizona, was the natural choice since it was in the United States.

(FYI, I'd tried to contact Joe Marino so I could tell him I was using his work in my novel, but I was unable to find his contact information. Ironically, he was the very first person to buy the novel and contacted me on my website to say how touched he was that my novel was inspired by his story. He was the first person to write a review. How cool is that?)

The Facts Concerning the Shroud
Every fact I used concerning the Shroud of Turin is scientifically verifiable. I watched several documentaries and read five books about the Shroud of Turin. (See front matter of book for complete list). I relied most heavily on Mark Antonacci’s Test the Shroud, which is by far the most comprehensive and informative book about the Shroud I’ve come across. My only input is observations that Amari makes, such as the question of why a forger would go to all the trouble to make a forgery that couldn’t be easily discerned with the naked eye. You have to look at the photographic negative for the image to make the most sense and they didn’t have cameras back in 1325. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Or why would you plant Jerusalem soil on the heal of the Shroud if no technology was available back then to analyze those mineral fingerprints? Who would intentionally plant pollen grains around the head of the Shroud—pollen that comes from a thorn bush that only blooms during Easter in the vicinity of Jerusalem—when pollen couldn’t be seen with the naked eye? What were the motives for making such a forgery?

Amari Johnston
I chose a young, feisty college student as the protagonist because I wanted a character my thirteen-year-old daughter would be interested in reading about. This protagonist needed to be knowledgeable about weaving techniques and she needed the investigative drive to move the plot forward. I never strayed from my original idea of having her be the daughter of a Tucson Homicide detective. However, Amari’s mother was originally supposed to be from India, not a Navajo reservation. The inspiration to make her from India was because my neighbors are from India and my daughter was friends with their daughter. I was going to name my protagonist after my neighbor’s daughter, but my wife wouldn’t have it. So I Googled common female Indian names and settled on Amari because it means “never gives up”, which seemed to fit my protagonist’s character. However, as I continued to research the idea, I realized that Tucson was Navajo territory and it made a lot more sense for my character to be half Navajo, especially since the Navajo are world-renowned for their skill in weaving rugs and blankets. I still kept the Indian name, Amari, because I liked the way it sounded next to the last name, Johnston.

Detective Pete Johnston
Unlike Amari and Kevin, the character of Pete was in the first draft. I never made any changes to his background or personality. He is your typical man’s man cop and when I envisioned Pete, I envisioned Jerry Orbach from Law and Order. Ironically, this is the same man I envisioned for Jake’s father in The Class of 86. The reason for this is Jerry Orbach was the father of Baby Houseman, played by Jennifer Grey. That’s from the movie Dirty Dancing for those that don’t remember. From that point on, I suppose Jerry became my brain’s stereotypical father figure.

Dr. Kevin Brenner
Originally, I had sort of a Howard from Big Bang Theory in mind for Kevin. He was a dork and hit on Amari, not the other way around. But that was pure stereotype so I needed to go another way. After my wife and I took a guided tour of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he became a physicist from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  I remember standing there looking at the original graphite reactor that was used to make the atomic bomb that ended WWII. Then I realized that Kevin had to be a brilliant hick from Tennessee. The two characteristics seem juxtaposed with each other and I felt that aspect could be fodder for some comic relief. Originally, Kevin dipped Skoal chewing tobacco and spit into a Coke can in his office. However, my wife put an end to that. Also, throughout the entire novel, right up until the final edit, Kevin’s name was Kyle. I called him Kyle because of a young guy I work with. I just envisioned Kevin as looking and acting sort of like this coworker. However, the character changed as the story developed and I also realized that Kyle and Amari sounded a little too much like calamari, the squid seafood dish. Besides, I was afraid if I ever turned a profit on the novel, my coworker would want a cut.

Future psychiatrist, Jenny Brenner
The main purpose of Jenny is to draw out information from Amari and to introduce Amari to Kevin, her cousin. However, the original Jenny was much more abrasive and annoying. I did this not only to add conflict to each scene for dramatic purposes, but also to show Amari’s resolve in the face of resistance. The original Jenny thought Amari was obsessive compulsive and discouraged her mission concerning the Shroud. However, my editor hated this version of Jenny and insisted that I not only tone her down but reduce her screen time. However, I argued that Jenny would change by the end of the story and would also be a major player in the sequel, so spending screen time on her was necessary. My editor disagreed and I finally realized she was right. Jenny was a distraction from the story rather than a useful participant. So I toned her down and cut some of her scenes. 

Detective George Sanchez
Pete’s partner is a Puerto Rican from New York named Jorge. Of course, in Spanish the J is pronounced like and H so it should be pronounced Horhey.  However, I work with a Spanish translator named Jorge and everyone calls him George instead. I suspect most police officers in Tucson did the same in 1988.

Amari’s Mother, Haseya
Amari’s mother had died from breast cancer a year before the opening scene. And a year before writing this book, my own mother died from breast cancer. I used my own memories of having my mother in hospice, of watching her die from that terrible disease. If anything good came from that experience, it was to allow me to write a more realistic and compelling scene.

Dr. Rahal
When I first envision Dr. Rahal, the face of Fareed Zakaria from CNN came to mind. To give him more personality, I gave him a touch of strabismus, the medical term for misaligned eyes.

Naturally, Robby turns out to be our serial killer. Most serial killers were abused as children so that’s why I took this angle. However, originally, my serial killer was supposed to be autistic, suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. I even went as far as researching the disease and watching Youtube videos of people with Asperger’s syndrome, taking note of their mannerisms. Fortunately, I realized this was insulting to many people and I certainly didn’t want to insinuate that people with autism are violent, when they typically are not. So I reverted back to the more stereotypical abused child scenario. On a side note, my editor thought Robby sounded too old for a child. But I reminded her that his father had made him memorize large portions of the King James Bible, a very old translation of scripture. This flavored the kid’s thoughts and actions to make him seem older than any other child his age would appear otherwise.

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Lab (AMS)
The carbon date of the Shroud was performed at the AMS lab at the University of Arizona and Dr. Timothy Jull was one of the people who performed the test. In my novel, the lab was named the Weiss Mass Spectrometry Lab, or WMS for short. Some of the events that are insinuated in my novel might be offensive to those who work there now, and certainly those who worked there in 1988. So I changed the name to keep from getting sued. The scenes involving the WMS lab are a total fabrication, as were all the characters at the lab. I’ve not been to the actual lab and have no idea what it looks like inside, but I did do research on the contraption they used for the carbon date so description details of the machine itself should be accurate.

The Navajo Language
You can’t Google Translate the Navajo language the way I Google Translated Arabic and Italian for the book. For that, I emailed someone from the Heritage Language Resource Center. Her name is Rebecca Stoneman. Thanks, Rebecca!

The 80s
If you’ve read The Class of 86, you know I love the 80s. Since the carbon date was performed in 1988, this novel gave me a second chance to poke fun of the days of my youth. I carefully researched every detail regarding 1988, being certain not to mention any modern convenience that wasn’t available at the time. Sometimes I went a little too far with the description so my editor had me trim it down. Still, I looked for ways I could draw attention to the unique period, like the scene where somebody is holding one of those “brick” cell phones. Kevin was impressed and mentioned that those things cost nearly $4,000 back then. You heard that right. Only wealthy people had cell phones in 1988.

The Setting
I’ve never actually been to Tucson, Arizona. The closest I’ve come is the Grand Canyon. Google Earth saved me the plane ticket. I used many local landmarks and I actually chose a house that was supposed to belong to Amari. When writing the novel, I sometimes virtually drive down the street in which the scene was set, keeping in mind how it must have looked in 1988.

I have never been to Turin either. Again, Google Earth saved me a few thousand dollars. You can find every landmark mentioned in my novel on Google Earth. Originally, I wanted the final showdown to happen at the Vatican in Rome, mainly because I have been to Rome and the Vatican and thought I could use some of my memories for description details. However, I finally settled on the Turin Cathedral because . . . sorry, can’t give that away. It would be a spoiler :-)
Photo of carbon date announcement in 1988
Sue Benford and Joe Marino
Weave pattern inconsistencies on sample taken for carbon date.
3D image on Shroud of Turin
Navajo rug
Blue Quad Mosaic photo taken by STURP clearly shows the area shaded in green was anomalous and should not have been used for a carbon date sample
St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson Arizona
AMS laboratory at The University of Arizona
Turin Cathedral where the Shroud of Turin is stored
Old Main Building at the University of Arizona

Behind the Scenes: The Writing of The Gospel According to Todd

The Inspiration                                                                                  
For me, a good, intriguing story answers the question what if? One question I like to ponder is what it must be like to go back in time and walk among Jesus and the apostles, to witness the miracles of Christ with my own eyes. So rather than write a true sequel to The Class of 86, I wrote a spinoff instead, kind of like Laverne and Shirley was a spinoff from Happy Days. Rather than the antagonist as he was in The Class of 86, this time Todd Heller becomes the protagonist.

The Challenge
One challenge in writing this story was getting the reader to empathize with such a jerk like Todd. Readers need to care about the protagonist and root for him. But Todd is hard to like. So I tried to dig into his core and show the reader why Todd is the way he is and then have the reader delight in teaching him the hard lessons he fully deserves, lessons the reader knows he needs. In that way, the reader sort of roots for him in the sense that they hope the harsh landscape of ancient Israel will help with his transformation. I have to admit it was great fun having Todd wake up in ancient Israel, frantic for an answer as to why he is there. It was payback for the way he had treated Jake. And for Todd, it is the only way. As Todd had said on many occasions, he wouldn’t believe in Jesus until he saw the miracles with his own eyes. Fortunately, midway through the novel, Todd finally becomes the kind of protagonist we can all root for—but it isn’t easy.

To make the novel seem more credible, I meticulously researched the period to ensure historical and biblical accuracy. I was constrained by the sequence of events in the New Testament and had to weave my plot into the timeline of those events. At first, I thought this would be a challenge. Finding an exact sequence of events using the four Gospels was impossible for a biblical novice such as myself, so I consulted the expertise of famed Messianic-Jewish biblical scholar, Alfred Edersheim. I followed the sequence of events outlined in his classic, The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah. To my delight, what I feared would be a restraint to my plot, turned out to be an outline of that plot and all I had to do was fill in the gaps. I used several other books for research as well. I listed those books in the front matter of the novel.

Treading on Holy Ground
Because I realized I was treading on holy ground, another challenge I found was figuring out how to keep a respectful distance from Jesus and His apostles, while having Todd close enough to do some good. After all, how absurd, and possibly blashphemous, it would be for Todd to be hanging out with Jesus during the last supper? In the end, I think I succeeded in walking the fine line between observer and tresspasser, finding just the right balance of interaction with Jesus and the apostles, while keeping a respectful distance.
Previous cover I designed on photoshop for The Gospel According to Todd

Behind the Scenes: The Writing of The Class of 86

The Inspiration: I used to work in a hospital lab on the graveyard shift. One night on my way to work, I heard the Rod Stuart song, Ooh La La. “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger,” went the lyrics. As I was suffering from a bit of a midlife crisis, I felt the same way. I wondered what I would do if I could go back in time and relive my life, knowing what I knew then. Obviously, I couldn’t do that but I could certainly imagine myself doing that.  So I decided to write a novel with that premise.

So who would be the story’s protagonist? What in his past would be so horrible that he would turn down heaven for a chance to relive his earthly life?

The easiest thing was to imagine my own life and what I would do if I had a chance to relive it. Ah, but there’s a big problem with using my own life. Writers follow several plot patterns when writing a novel. The Class of 86 is a circular, transformational plot. That means that at the end of the story the protagonist is at the same place he was at the beginning—he has come full circle—only he has been personally or spiritually transformed. For him to be happy in the end, he must be miserable in the beginning. Therefore, I had to create a protagonist who was full of regret. He had to have things in his past that he desperately needed to change, or at least things that he felt needed to be changed.

The problem with my life, however, is that I have been very blessed. By the grace of God, I have had no major emotional issues, and my wife and I are happy and financially sound. But in fiction, happy families are boring families. In that regard, my own life would not do.

Or would it? Perhaps I couldn’t use my personal circumstances for the story line, but I could use some of my experiences as a springboard for plot tangents, for the backdrop of some of the scenes, and for descriptive details. Following are some behind-the-scenes details of how The Class of 86 was born, including a few examples of what is and isn’t true and a few instances where fact and fiction meshed to create this story.
That's me with my band in 1986. And, yes, that is a mullet you see in this picture. Only back then we didn't call them mullets, it was just long hair.
This is me mullet free in 2017

The Title
The title was a real struggle. I originally titled the book Letter to Darwin, but changed it because I didn’t think that the four scenes involving the character nicknamed Darwin, and the fateful letter written to the younger version of Darwin, were sufficient to warrant the title. Then, in a later draft, I turned Darwin’s character into Todd so there was no Darwin in the first place. So then I came up with Life and How to Relive It, which is a rewording of an R.E.M. song called Life and How to Live It. I was told, however, that it sounds too much like a “reincarnation instruction manual.” Then I went with Reborn Again, but finally settled on the less cheesy The Class of 86.

And, yes, I know 86 should have an apostrophe in front of it. It should look like this, The Class of ’86. My editor and daughter reminded me of that, but I don’t think it looks good on the book cover. Besides, my protagonist wouldn’t know that and this is his story. :-)

The Protagonist’s Name
Initially, the protagonist’s name was Thomas for symbolic reasons—you know, “doubting Thomas.” But that was too obvious, so I changed it to Jake because that was the name of my neighbor’s son. I don’t know why, but I just liked the sound of it.

However, I put more thought into the last name. Jake is part Jewish, so he needed a Jewish last name, but it couldn’t be an obviously Jewish last name because a surprise in the novel involves Jake’s ethnicity. If it was too obvious, it might give away the surprise. Simon, according to the book Building Believable Characters, is a Jewish name. Until I saw that name in the book, I didn’t know that the name was Jewish, so I figured that, unless the reader was Jewish, the average reader wouldn’t know it was Jewish either.

Jake the Lab Technician
Jake is a medical lab technician. The details of the lab in the first scene came mostly, with a few changes, from my own hospital lab.  And, yes, Stinkubator is what I called the fecal culture incubator and, yes, urine specimens often came down the tube system spilled out into the bag.

Jake’s wife, Teresa
Jake’s wife, Teresa Morales, was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in Atlanta. My wife is also Puerto Rican but grew up in Puerto Rico. She didn’t move to the states until her dad transferred here with his job at IBM. I’m also three years older than my wife, whereas Jake is only three months older than Teresa.

As far as descriptive details are concerned, Teresa looks pretty much like my wife. My wife also used to work as an ICU nurse. But that is where the similarity ends.

Being married to a Puerto Rican in real life, I had many experiences with the Latin community. I used my experiences in scenes such as the 4th of July party. However, I wanted the slang of the Big 80s to flow naturally from Teresa, so it was necessary to have her reared in the big city of Atlanta. Because I wanted Teresa and Jake to be freshmen in college together, they had to be the same age as well. The name Teresa Morales is symbolic. Unlike Jake, Teresa is a strong Christian, well versed in the Bible. Teresa comes from Mother Teresa, a modern saint, and I chose Morales because she has very high morals.

Jake’s Coworkers
Ernestine, Jake’s annoying young night-shift boss was a total fabrication. To give the beginning of the novel a regretful tone, I wanted some much younger kid with more education than Jake to boss him around.
Her name is really an inside joke. Her full name is Ernestine Banks. Because this story is set in North Carolina and I’m a fan of the Andy Griffith show, I couldn’t help making this dumpy little kid’s name sound a little like Ernest T. Bass, that crazy hillbilly who went around breaking windows just so he could get Barney’s uniform. 

Matt Anderson
Matt Anderson was entirely fabricated. I never knew anybody like Matt. However, a skinny coworker, also named Matt, did inspire his physical description. Although as a Christian I don’t agree with abortion, I have never protested at an abortion clinic nor do I know anyone who has. I have, however, seen protests in the past, and I hope my memories served me well.

Dr. Todd Heller
Dr. Heller is essentially a cross between a guy who picked on me in high school and Biff from Back to the Future.  He’s sort of your stereotypical bully who served as a mirror to Jake’s perceived inadequacies and therefore fueled his inferiority complex. Every good story must have an antagonist to challenge the protagonist. Also, Heller is the protagonist in the sequel to The Class of 86. Like all protagonists, he must be flawed in the beginning so he can be cured by the end.

Livingston, North Carolina
This story is set in Livingston, North Carolina. In reality, there is no such city, but it is supposed to be situated roughly in the vicinity of Ashville, North Carolina.

Jake’s Dog, Peanut
I grew up with a black dachshund named Tippy. However, at the time I wrote this novel, I had a brown dachshund named Pedro. My brother had nicknamed my dog Peanut because he looked sort of like a peanut.

Jake’s Parents
There is no similarity between Jake’s parents and my own. My mother did not die in child birth. Rather, she had a very happy life and lived to be seventy-five. My father was no grocery store manager, but an engineer for NASA and then later worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

I struggled over how Jake would interact with his parents once he returned to his teenage body in 1986. There had to be a lot of strife to explain Jake’s outlook on life. I originally made his mother an alcoholic. I imagined her getting into an accident and killing somebody because she had been driving drunk. Jake was supposed to try to prevent that accident. But then I remembered that Jake had to prevent his own accident that kept him from going to his high school graduation. Finally, I just decided to kill his mother off. It sounds cruel, but if she died giving birth to him, it would give him a lot of guilt. It would be a perfect issue for Jake to deal with.

Naturally, Jake’s father would be deeply affected by the death of his wife, and I show that in the way that Jake’s father treats him. Only now that Jake was a mature adult inside his teenage body is he able to confront his father about the night his mother died. Only now is he finally able to get the terrible, yet liberating, truth.

By the way, that guy from Law and Order, Jerry Orbach, was roughly how I pictured Jake’s father. I doubt if my description of him made the reader think of Jerry Orbach, but that’s whom I kept picturing every time Jake’s dad spoke. And as I mentioned before, Jerry was also in my mind for Carbon-14: The Shroud of Turin.
Jake’s VW Bus
I used a beat-up VW bus in the story because I wanted to show that Jake paid for the van himself. It is painted University of Tennessee orange because I grew up in the Knoxville area. Naturally, as a part-time minimum-wage worker, Jake couldn’t afford much. And he didn’t take handouts from his dad. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so proud. My dad paid for my car, my college education, and much more. Thanks, Dad!

Freemont High School
Freemont High is patterned after my old high school. (Farragut High School, just west of Knoxville). Only the name was changed. Descriptions of Jake’s last day of school at Freemont High were taken from my own photos of my last day of school.

Grandpa and Grandma Simon
Grandpa and Grandma Simon bear little resemblance to my true grandparents. Although I will admit to having a fascination with the Jewish people, neither of my grandfathers was Jewish.

How did I come up with the character of Grandpa Simon? My wife had given me a bookmark that had Albert Einstein’s picture on it. It reads, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I stuck that bookmark on my wall behind my computer terminal to inspire me to keep writing despite my lack of formal writing education. That face of Albert Einstein is, in my mind, the face of Grandpa Simon. In fact, I describe Grandpa Simon as looking a bit like Albert Einstein.

However, Grandpa Simon isn’t Jewish because Albert Einstein is Jewish. The truth is far more complicated. The Catholic version of the Bible has seventy-three books. One of these books is similar to Proverbs and is called The Book of Sirach. Because Grandpa Simon was supposed to be very wise, I wanted his first name to be Sirach for symbolic reasons. However, a strange name like Sirach needed an explanation. Therefore, I made Grandpa Simon a Messianic Jew who was named after an ancient Jewish wise man.

By the way, Jake’s ministering angel, Eleazar, was named after the son of Sirach.        

Jake’s Accident Before Graduation
In the story, Jake got into an accident on his way to graduation. In reality, my brother got into an accident on his way to graduation, but he made it to graduation on time nonetheless. I, however, was involved in an accident, just like in the novel, but my accident was after school and I was driving a Camaro rather than a beat-up VW bus. And, yes, I did get a scar on my lower lip, just like Jake.

Graduation Scene
What happened in the graduation scene was almost totally fabricated, but I did use photos from my own graduation for details. I even went to a local high school graduation to gather further descriptive details that I might have forgotten, such as “Pomp and Circumstance” being the song played. As far as the names of the seniors in front of Jake during graduation, they are variations of names found in my own yearbook. However, the stunt pulled by Zimmerman was inspired by a true event because one of my own classmates did the exact same thing.  Last I’d heard, they refused to give him his diploma because of his stunt.

Two Left Feet
Jake’s experience with Two Left Feet came directly from my own life experience. I once played bass guitar in my own rock band called The Exchange. The band members of Two Left Feet, however, bear little resemblance to the members of my real band.

Jake’s Minimum Wage Jobs
Like Jake, I also worked in a deli when I was in college. I used my deli clerk experience to the fullest in the writing of this novel. And Peg Leg Joe’s details came from my own experience from my job at Long John Silvers. The grease trap scene came from my experience with the grease trap at Little Caesar's Pizza. Also, my experience washing dishes came from a different pizza restaurant (name withheld to prevent lawsuit) that I worked at as a teenager.

Jake and his ADD
Jake suffered from attention deficit disorder. I also had trouble concentrating in high school, but I don’t think I had full-fledged ADD. My bad grades were due primarily to raging teenage hormones and a desire to be a rock star. I certainly don't have any trouble concentrating now. You have to be pretty focused to write a novel, especially in a noisy family environment like I have.

Jake’s Brother and Sister
Jake had a brother named Eddie and a sister named Andrea. I have no sister, and my brother couldn’t be more opposite of Eddie. My real brother is only eighteen months older than me and we get along just fine.

Jake’s Relationship with His Father
Jake’s relationship with his earthly father mirrors his relationship with his heavenly Father. Jake doesn’t want to accept the free gift of redemption offered through Jesus, so he insists on returning to 1986 to redeem himself. Jake’s debt to his own father, and his reluctance to let his father cancel the debt, mirrors his debt to his Father in heaven and his reluctance to receive free forgiveness for sins. Notice also that by the end of the story his relationships with both his own father and with God improves.

Details from the Big 80s
I took special care to make the descriptive details as accurate as possible. Every date I used in the novel coincided with the actual day of the week in 1986, thanks to a virtual calendar that I found on the Internet. I also went to the library and read newspapers and magazines from 1986 to ensure that the details were accurate and timely. For instance, the day Jake returned to 1986 was supposed to be Friday, May 23. In the May 23, 1986 edition of the local newspaper was an article about how the nuclear plants in the United States weren’t all that different from the one in Chernobyl. Jake’s father comments about that article as he reads the paper to Jake.

I also carefully researched movies and music mentioned in the novel. The movies that were showing when Jake went to the movies were the same movies listed in the newspaper movie listings for that date, and the price of the movies was taken directly from the 1986 newspaper.

No song was mentioned that had not been released before the summer of 1986, and most of the songs mentioned were taken from Billboard charts for that year. Even the price of the stamp Jake used to mail that fateful letter to Todd Heller was the actual price of stamps in 1986, twenty-two cents.

As far as the fashion of the 80s goes, I went through teen magazines published just before the summer of 1986 and used both some photos that I had taken during my senior year and pictures from my 1986 yearbook.

Previous cover I designed on Photoshop for The Class of 86
       My prom date in 1986
             (Just kidding)