Helping Through Writing

Edina author pens a romantic thriller to tell a self-help story.

An Edina author has written a new title to add to your summertime stack of beach reads. The Last Scroll by James Fricton is a unique reading experience. Not only is it an exciting romantic thriller, it is also an evidence-based self-help book that challenges readers to evaluate the components of a good life. Fricton is a professor emeritus in the department of diagnostic and biological sciences at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He has more than 30 years of experience in clinical care, research and teaching in the field of chronic pain. Fricton’s pain research lays the scientific groundwork for his novel. “So many people live with chronic pain,” says Fricton. “They want to get better but often don’t understand the contributing factors to illness. I wrote this novel to engage and entertain readers but also to help people gain insight into alleviating pain and improving health and wellness.” Fricton studied the works of author Dan Brown and set out to create a fictional world filled with intrigue in a style similar to Brown’s Da Vinci Code series. The Last Scroll is the first installment in a trilogy. It begins with a depressed and frustrated physician named Ryan Laughlin who is burned out and desperately searching for a new model of care. When an old classmate phones Laughlin in a panic after witnessing the murder of a prominent researcher, Laughlin is drawn into a mystery surrounding the dead man’s groundbreaking research. Laughlin travels to Italy where the controversial research is underway in a medieval Italian village. There he discovers enlightening information obtained from a final Dead Sea Scroll about the seven realms of life. This knowledge makes Laughlin a target of a maniacal killer intent on preventing the world from learning the life-enhancing secrets of the seven realms. Step back from this page-turner and discover how the seven realms illustrated in Fricton’s novel also offer a helpful holistic framework for real life. The seven realms include mind, body, behavior, relationships, emotions, your environment and your spiritual life. “Understanding each realm and what factors boost or drain energy in the seven realms can help people achieve a good life,” says Fricton. Fricton’s professional research and private practice confirm that some illnesses are perpetuated by lifestyle and can be reversible or have a component that is reversible with lifestyle changes; these include back and neck pain, headaches, jaw problems, hypertension and asthma. “The key to any illness is to identify its contributing factors,” says Fricton. “Too much caffeine, relational conflict, social stressors, sun, smoke and pollutants all deplete energy from one or more of the seven realms. Achieving high energy in all seven realms is vital to overall wellness. Blessings will follow.” These blessings, outlined in The Last Scroll, are wisdom, prosperity, health, peace, contentment, abundance and enlightenment. Energy boosters that perpetuate these blessings include being honest, eating and sleeping well, exercise, sharing, creativity, connecting with nature, meditation and prayer. Opposite the book’s description of blessings are a string of plagues resulting from low energy and vices. The plagues are corruption, poverty, sickness, conflict, despair, hunger and emptiness. This philosophy may sound religious, but Fricton says it’s not. “The novel has some religious subtext but the story doesn’t undermine or support any particular religious perspective,” says Fricton. “I come from a Protestant background and my wife is Catholic. I do believe spirituality is a component of wellness.”  This ideology plays out in the novel. An objective of The Last Scroll is to help readers gain insight into what may be causing imbalance in their own lives. Insight is achieved through self-examination, meditation and prayer; insight is followed by positive changes in behavior. “Eighty percent of health care success is based on what patients do and only 20 percent is a result of medication or medical treatment,” Fricton says. But like the doctor in his book, Fricton believes many physicians don’t have the time or a strategy to educate patients about improving overall wellness. Since Fricton feels strongly about integrative care, his clinic employs dentists, physicians, health care psychologists and exercise physiologists. “We get our entire team involved to teach patients about what factors may be contributing to imbalance and negative energy,” says Fricton. Ultimately, Fricton believes people must begin to realize what is most important in life. It’s not money or success. He hopes readers will develop a broader perspective about what defines a good life and will change their lifestyle to boost their energy in the seven realms. He also hopes readers will enjoy the thrill ride of an adventure story he has created along the way. The Last Scroll is available in hardcover, paperback and as an e-book at most online bookstores. The second installment in the trilogy is scheduled for release later this year. &Excerpt from The Last Scroll The audience is looking dumbfounded as Dr. Killian rambles on—a desperate attempt from a desperate man to finally say what is needed before it is too late. They recognize that something is seriously wrong but his message is so clear. He continues his lecture, “I believe we can create a new vision for the future through the concepts in the Last Scroll. Enlightened states of mind, happy, healthy and balanced lifestyles, elimination of poverty and hunger, tolerant and inclusive societies, universal health care, respect for human rights, religious freedom, unlimited renewable energy, shared abundance from nature, protection of the environment, collaborative governments, international solidarity, peaceful co-existence, and many more ideals. We can achieve this utopian vision of a good life for all.” He stops for a few seconds, and loses his train of thought. He feels terrible. He looks out over the audience. They are still with him, watching intently and listening carefully. You can hear a pin drop in the large ballroom. “There is hope. Listen!” He reads the next slide of a quote from the manuscript. “Those people who seek salvation in the Seven Realms of Life, and follow the truth of the Blessings will escape the carnage. And when a third of the people take up these Blessings in their lives, become skillful in their actions and virtuous in their being, the Beast is cast back into the bottomless pit, to be shut up again, and set a seal upon him, so that he should deceive the nations no more. And the good life returns to the people, and we will have peace for the next thousand years.” He recognizes that he is going downhill fast. He talks more deliberate, straining to continue. “Not surprisingly, the Prophecy Scroll suggests a path, a strategy, to this brighter future. A third of the people need to take up the Blessings. Are these our warriors? Is the light our spirit? Is it the same as the energy we are measuring in this research? What are the Seven Blessings and how do we achieve them? This research will answer these questions. And, it is clear that you, me, and every person in our world will determine what happens into our future. Each of us has the responsibility, and according to the Prophecy Scroll, the power to change things. We all can become warriors in our own worlds.”