When the Whistle Blows, also known as The Sleeper, was the subject of the authors final project portfolio/thesis at Regent University. Meeting with his graduation committee in the fall of 1993, Mr. Staerkel first pitched another story idea based on a short play he had already written. However, his first idea was rejected because, in the words of the committee, "We need something new." When the author told them of a story he had heard as a youth concerning his father, the committee promptly dismissed him, and told him, "Go, and write a story about that."
In 1996, a year after the tragic passing of his lovely wife, Mr. Staerkel optioned that screenplay, The Sleeper, to two Academy Award Nominated writer producers. Lauded for its crisp dialogue and dramatic scenes the screenplay was aptly renamed When the Whistle Blows. The screenplay was shopped to studios and independents, but was never produced. The novel, bearing the same name, is based on the original work.