In anticipation of Veteran’s Day, here’s a sneak peek of my upcoming book, including photos! Remember this is from an uncorrected proof, so the color is off and the quality isn’t perfect. But you’ll meet a couple of the nurses featured, and see a bit of how the story begins. Click below where it says Download File.
PURE GRIT: HOW AMERICAN WWII NURSES SURVIVED BATTLE AND PRISON CAMP IN THE PACIFIC.
This week I attended a Living History celebration in McMinnville, Oregon, honoring American veteran’s. This is the second year the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum has invited hundreds of students to come and hear first hand the stories of vets from WWII right up to the present.
This year the program featured Ex-POWs from Bataan and Corregidor, as well as Tuskegee Airmen, one of the first black American aviators to serve in combat, the Tuskegee Airmen were pilots whose heroic World War II exploits helped persuade President Harry Truman to end segregation across the entire military.
In COURAGE HAS NOT COLOR by Tanya Lee Stone you can read the story of America's first black paratroopers, known as the Triple Nickles. These men fought a little-known World War II attack on the American West by the Japanese.
Also saw the documentary NEVER THE SAME – THE PRISONER OF WAR EXPERIENCE and met the film’s Emmy® Award-winning director Jan Thompson. Jan’s father was a POW captured by the Japanese after the surrender of Corregidor Island May 6, 1942. See the trailer here-> http://www.tragedyofbataan.com/ Next week I’ll post my interview with Jan about why she made the film talk to one ex-POW who knew two of the nurses in my book PURE GRIT.
Any veterans in your family tree? Go ahead and name them in the comments. Veteran's Day is a holiday to honor all who have served our country.
My father-in-law landed at Normandy one month after D-Day and fought in WWII in the Battle of the Bulge. My mother-in-law also wore army boots! Seriously, she was a 1st Lieutenant. My father and a brother also served. And okay, this is going way back, but my a relative served in the Civil War and another in the American Revolution.
Monday morning my husband had the radio on ESPN and Colin Cowherd was ranting about some quarterback who had a poor game.
I'm not a sports fan, so I didn’t care a great deal, But I started listening because the guy makes a lot of sense.
Cowherd says a quarterback needs consistency, and before he can be consistent he needs to know who he is and what kind of game he’s playing. Sounds a lot like being a writer. And a winning game plan for life, too.
Take Matt de la Peña, a young adult writer I heard speak at a writing conference this summer. Matt says writers must have their own voice, which I took to mean, they have to know who they are, where they’re coming from.
Matt came from poverty in a California border town. His strong authorial voice gains his novels critical acclaim. At the heart of Matt’s work is young people’s desire to be seen.
“I’ve always wanted to write about the other side of the tracks, the have-nots,” he says, “maybe because that’s who I was. I’ve always thought it was super important, out of respect, that I show the forgotten kids, the group with ‘less potential.’ Because I really think there is beauty there, too. And grace. And dignity.
Cowherd talks about a player or a team knowing what they do best and consistently doing that no matter what opponent they’re facing. But even hard-working, talented people don’t have an easy time discovering what it is they do best. Or believing in their own grace and dignity.
Matt didn’t always see himself as a writer. Winning a big writing contest in college helped.
“That validation, those professors picking me, it completely changed the way I viewed myself. For the first time in my life I thought, man, maybe I am smart.” Still, when it came time for grad school, his professors applied for Matt behind his back because he didn’t identify as grad school material.
In an interview on Blogtalk Radio, Matt spoke of the struggles of his main character in the book MEXICAN WHITE BOY.
“I think Danny was the hardest character I’ve written so far for one simple reason, and that is, he’s probably the closest to me in terms of the stuff he’s dealing with. I was a biracial kid—father Mexican, mom white, just like Danny.”
Writers have the advantage of digging deeply into the question of self-identity in their daily process. I’m guessing athletes work at this daily, too, practicing their sport. Maybe some of their biggest discoveries come on Sunday in front of a million people.
What about you? What is it that you’re best at and how consistent are you? Digging deeper, do you know who you really are? How do you continue that journey of self-discovery? Go ahead, leave a comment.
PS Matt de la Peña is teaching a intensive for writers in Spokane, WA November 16th. He’ll talk about how characters reveal who they are through dialogue. It’ll be a chance to workshop your work-in-progress.
Sign up here.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known history, stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers in the blog comments, by email or social media.