Hi, my name is Chip Wiegand. Actually, my nickname is Chip, and my given name is Charles, but I've never actually used that name, never, in my entire life.
I was born in a small, well, it used to be a small, town called Kennewick, Washington. My family left Kennewick when I was a few years old, I don't know exactly, I don't remember that part of my life, but I think it was before I was of kindergarten age. The family moved to an area outside of Portland. Again, my memories are sketchy, but eventually, we ended up near Gresham, to the east of Portland. That was where I went to grade school, first grade through 7th grade. In the summer after 7th grade, my parents separated and my Mom moved us north back into Washington, but this time to a very small farming town called Quincy. She wanted to be closer to her parents. So, I attended the 8th and 9th grades in Quincy. The ninth grade is typically freshman year of high school, as it was in Quincy. But after I finished the 9th grade my Mom moved us to Lynnwood, WA for a job change. In Lynnwood, I attended Lynnwood Senior High School (a 3-year high school), so my 10th-grade year (normally called the Sophomore year) was basically a second freshman year even though it was my sophomore year. I graduated in 1978 nowhere near the top of my class. I think I only made it through because of my music classes grades.
A few months after graduating from high school I left Lynnwood and moved back to eastern WA to the town of Wenatchee to attend a private college and study music theory. That didn't end well - there was some financial scandal and the college was closed, the church that owned it closed, and the gas station the church owned was also closed, it was terrible. Less than a year in Wenatchee, that was all that lasted. I left Wenatchee, and this time when I left it was on a bike. Not a motorcycle bike, but a bicycle. I loaded it up with camping gear and a couple of changes of clothes and spent the next 3 or 4 months touring Oregon and Washington, camping out wherever I ended my day's ride. That was a good summer.
That fall when the weather started to get cold and not at all cycling-friendly I wintered at my younger brother's apartment in Mountlake Terrace, WA. While there I started attending church. That was where I met Cheryl. We started going out and eventually, after a year or so, we were married. And that was the end of my bike touring. Instead, I commuted by bike and I also started riding more competitively. Another year passed and David was born. Then another year passed and Austin was born. In June 1992, Amy was stillborn. That was a tragedy and Cheryl was never the same after that.
Some 18 or 19 years passed and David and Austin moved out to start their own lives. Cheryl and I decided that was a good time to sell the house and move to Tucson, Arizona. That's what we did - sold the house, and bought a one-acre lot outside of Tucson with plans to build a house and live out our lives in the warm sunny desert of southern Arizona. But life doesn't always go the way we hope, wish, and dream.
The job I had gotten in Tucson ended after a year or so then I started doing contract jobs doing computer jobs, mostly in banks, but it wasn't full-time. Cheryl's job in the mortgage industry went away when the entire mortgage/housing industry collapsed. Our plans for building a house died with our regular full-time jobs. Cheryl got a job doing online work, exactly what it was I don't know, she would never tell me about it. As the next few years passed Cheryl began to talk of returning to Washington. That didn't happen, instead, in 2010, she suffered a massive stroke and passed away. I know she is in heaven with our daughter Amy and I'm sure they are happy together.
After Cheryl's death I left Arizona, but not to return to life in Washington. Instead, I relocated to start a new life in Colombia, in the Caribbean coast city of Barranquilla. When talking with a long-time friend about my plans, I told him I was going to start a new chapter in my life. He said, "No, Chip, you're not going to start a new chapter, you're going to start a new book". And that is exactly how it has been.
I relocated to Barranquilla, Colombia where I lived for about 7 1/2 years. I taught English as a foreign language to private students and in offices. That was something I had never done in the US and I really enjoyed watching people improve their lives by learning English. Then I moved to the small city of Armenia at the base of the Andes Mountains, the central range. I lived in Armenia for 6 months but found it to be too cold. I then moved to Cartago, in the very north of the Valle del Cauca. After four months in Cartago, I moved to Roldanillo, Valle del Cauca. This is a town of about 30,000 people. It sits at the base of the Andes Mountains Western range.
I have retired from teaching and am concentrating on writing. My first novel is finished and should be published by the end of the year. I have a second novel that needs a complete rewrite. And two more novels that have 6 chapters written. I've also written many short stories and have had 10 of them published.