BY ANGIE JACKSON
TRAVERSE CITY — When dreaming up his first novel, Michael Spry was inspired by the age-old question: If you could be young again, would you want to?
Most people answer yes, but only if they can take their wisdom along. Spry realized that wouldn't be so satisfying.
"One of the things about being young is that you take risks that allow you to experience things more intensely," said Spry, 62.
That thought process occurred a decade ago when the Traverse City resident first penned the manuscript for his upcoming novel, "Bright Colors." The story follows Mark and Sara, a couple who meet at Michigan State University during the counterculture era of the late 1960s.
The protagonists are immersed in the conflicts and successes of the time period, with the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal serving as historical backdrop. The characters define themselves without the bounds of tradition and face turbulence similar to Spry's own experiences.
In fact, Mark is a reflection of Spry himself.
"I threw all the rules away as far as tradition and societal expectations," Spry said, explaining that he abandoned religion and challenged gender stereotypes.
He wants readers to draw their own conclusions of the counterculture era.
"I leave it to the reader to make sense of it for what it was."
Spry was born in Jackson and moved to Traverse City in 1975. He wrote "No Santa, No Tooth Fairy, No God: The Need To Challenge Faith In America," and has contributed to several advocacy pieces.
"Bright Colors" releases on Feb. 14. Spry will sign copies of the novel at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Feb. 16 from 2-4 p.m.