In the opening pages of Who Better Than Canyon, you’ll find the following dedication:
In memory of Christopher Klucsarits, a phenomenal talent who left the world far too soon.
You’re probably wondering who he was. Christopher Klucsarits was a professional wrestler—one of my favorites—better known by his stage name, Kanyon. It might seem odd to dedicate a romance story to someone like that, but there was more to Christopher than met the eye—more than anyone will ever know.
During his time in professional wrestling and after, rumors ran rampant about Christopher’s sexuality. Some said he was homosexual. Others said he was straight, and that he’d just participated in a “gay storyline.” Public statements were made supporting both scenarios, by numerous people, including Christopher.
Whether Christopher was gay or not is anyone’s guess, and it doesn’t matter anyway. What matters is that he was troubled. What matters is that under the weight of whatever burdens he carried, he took the tragic path so many others take – and took it needlessly.
On April 2nd, 2010, his brother found him dead in his apartment with an empty bottle of anti-depressants and a note. He was forty years old.
I didn’t know Christopher. In fact, I’ve only seen him wrestle in person once. So why dedicate a story to him?
Because I’ve been at that crossroads, staring down the path to oblivion, trying to come up with some reason not to take that big, final step. For me, salvation came in the form of a phone call. I called my best friend to say goodbye, and he put his mother on the phone. She literally saved my life that day. It makes me sad to think that Christopher didn’t have that kind of lifeline. Or maybe he had it, but didn’t realize it. Sometimes, we’re so blinded by our own inner darkness, we can’t see the light shining right in front of us.
For the first six months, my royalties from Who Better Than Canyon will go to The Trevor Project, in honor of Christopher. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)
I don’t know if Christopher was gay or not. I’m not sure it matters now, and I’m certain it never should have mattered when he was alive. What matters is that the cycle stops somewhere.