November 2015

"Judge, 23rd Annual WRITER'S DIGEST  Self-Published Book Awards.”

                         "a tightly written, gripping book."

                                       " Very well done."

Background of the story:

   This story can be categorized as "Historical Fiction" in that it takes place in a time that is "history" to the two generations ("X" and "Millennial") that succeeded the "Baby Boomers". I don't take it personally, although it was "only yesterday" for me. 

   As is quite common with my generation of war vets, I've dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for decades. Writing the story of Andrew Starkey was, thus, therapy for me during some particularly dark and stressful times. It is also an attempt to provide a first-hand, subjective, micro-cosmic history lesson of that time frame for folks of any age who might wonder what it felt like to be on a college campus, fail at that, receive a draft notice, serve in the military (when the general populous blamed the soldiers for the war), and then try to fit back into society in one's early twenties after several years of abject craziness.   


   Parts 1 and 2 of "A LONG DAY TO DENVER" are semi-autobiographical. Part 3 came almost entirely from my imagination. However, the "Hawk" scene on the porch actually took place but without the drug-dealing conversation. I really did "burn" that telephone pole, and my boss did pull wood splinters from my chest and arms with needle-nose pliers. Remaining splinters did "fester out" for the next twenty years. You can't make this shit up.

Character notes:

   "Danny Sevilla" is fictitious, and the character's experiences are built from anecdotes from vet friends who struggled to "come home" to small rural communities. 

    "Nancy" is a composite of a few young ladies I knew in my youth. One, in particular, I met at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri only weeks after returning from Vietnam. She was a recent graduate of the 'Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing' , and helped sooth my soul with humor and affection. Now deceased, she was a gift from Providence to a stressed and bewildered young man. A character carries her name. 

   "Susan" is not a composite but rather an analogy of the contradictions of the era. Though beautiful, open, curious and empathetic initially, those attributes were but thin veneer, and she turned on Andrew when her world view was put under duress. 

   "Ron", "Jack" and "Rich" are composites of high school, college and military friends. Each is unique--and special--to me beyond words.   


Bill Gritzbaugh​