Every night when Katie Evans was still alive, her husband, Jacob Evans, would read a bedtime story to their kids.
The book most requested by the kids was a story about overcoming insurmountable challenges, rising above grief and loss.
The problem for Jacob reading the book was that the story didn’t have an ending. That’s because Jacob was the one writing it.
Completing his book, in part, meant finding a way for the protagonist to overcome insurmountable challenges and rise above grief and loss.
That’s the passage in the Evans family story with which most people in Santa Clarita Valley have, sadly, become familiar.
Katie Evans, Saugus mother of six, died on Oct. 6, 2017, in a two-car crash on Golden Valley Road, near Valley Center Road.
The driver of the other car remains behind bars at the Female Community Reentry Facility in McFarland, just north of Bakersfield. Alexia Alilah Cina, now 22, entered the facility on Aug. 2 and began serving a 10-year prison sentence for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Jacob Evans, who suddenly found himself a widower in 2017, was left with the challenge of raising six kids.
Scores of SCV residents — family, friends and strangers to the Evans family — responded with an outpouring of love and support.
One woman emerged to help Jacob and the six kids more than anyone else. Her name is Marin, and her love and attention enabled him to finish his book, he said. They got married in July.
“After Katie died, I made an effort to devote some quality time with the boys and reading to them was one of these quality times,” he said.
His son Travis was the one who asked him to read the book Jacob was writing.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you read that story you read before?’ I was flattered he remembered it,” he said, describing the book as six chapters without an end.
“The kids said, ‘You got to write it.’ So I did,” he said.
The book became a collaborative effort, he said, with his kids providing feedback on how the story should go.
“They definitely had some impact on how the story should develop,” he said.
On May 24, the book was published, available for purchase on Amazon with a retail price of $4.99.
It’s called “The Attuned Survivor,” set in a post-apocalyptic world where the survivors are the ones who begin living underground.
The story’s hero was raised in an orphanage.
“The kids do see themselves in the book,” Jacob said.
“The characters deal with a sense of loss,” he said. “They struggle with the loss of a parent. One of the things that could help (the kids) is seeing other kids with challenges and how they overcome those challenges.
“They see themselves in the characters,” he said.
Life for the newly defined family has been good, Jacob said, heaping praise on the woman who joined him when he needed someone the most.
“She understood what she was getting into,” he said. “She put her career on hold to stay home with the kids.”
The book is not a self-help book, he said. And he didn’t do it to make money.
“There are some parallels the story has with our story,” Jacob said. “The parallels are about surviving loss and trying to get through it, about going through the world with the loss of a parent and feeling like your world has ended.”
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt