Questions for Ben
Since this was based on a true story, why did you make it fiction?
I fictionalized the story first for liability reasons. Also, I could never pretend to know all that happened. For brevity, I combined the more important aspects of several people into single characters. Fictionalizing gave me license in reconstructing much of the dialogue and events.
How did you find this story to begin with?
During a chance conversation at a Montana barn dance, I first heard of Petey Corbin (his real name was Clyde Cothern). I found that in 1922, Petey Corbin was born with cerebral palsy. Though mentally acute, his affliction left him locked inside a grotesque and twisted body unable to communicate. He was misdiagnosed with idiot-stage retardation and committed to the Montana Insane Asylum.
Did you get personally involved with Clyde Cothern, who Petey was inspired by?
Yes, I became obsessed with locating Petey's "lost" friend and reuniting them. That effort changed my life forever.
What do you hope this book will accomplish?
I have tried to remain true to the spirit of the real life Petey, Clyde Cothern. I hope each word helps convey the triumph, hope, and joy this special man found in life. Clyde Cothern did become my real life Grandpa Petey.
How much of the Petey story would you say is actually true?
Image above caputered as Clyde and his beloved friend were reunited for the first time after 15 years apart.
Images of Clyde Cothern, the inspiration for Petey, and Ben