Marble Mountain Memoirs is about the question of mastering yourself. This holds true whether for individuals or countries.
The book takes place in Vietnam during the War, which ironically, the Vietnamese call “The American War”.
Although it takes place at war, it is not a war novel. The Frontispiece is a quote from The Dammapada, the most revered of one of Buddhism’s sacred texts. It says: “Although you may conquer a thousand, thousand men on the battlefield, indeed he is the Nobelist Victor who conquers himself.
So here are some of America’s finest young men drafted into a war a half a world away, and the country has turned its back on them. The war is abandoned by the government, its people and the Revolution is in full bloom ant home. But there they sit, ion a rear echelon junk yard, rebelling against the powers that be, in every way they could.
How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?
The idea germinated for 35 years, from the Vietnam War until my diagnosis of Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma due to exposure to Agent Orange in 1969 and 1970. The novel, although ostensibly a work of fiction, draws on actual circumstances in the life of a very young and very scared kid, who is soon to be a man.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
It is always said, that you should write about what you know from first-hand experience (although there are notable, classical examples of where this is not the case). The book was written in a five-year span of angst and remorse over the protagonist’s involvement in what he grew to believe was immoral.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I planned for a three-year writing, which due to extensive research, became a five-year labor of Love.
Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)
My research brought me together with men whom I will always regard as brothers, some 40 years later. I traveled across the country, in some cases to perform interviews with those men. I traveled to the National Archives, in College Park Maryland, and spend many hours speaking to those who knew the Marble Mountain area of Danang, Vietnam duringthe War.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
I would like this book to be a catalyst to revisit the history of a war that America would love to forget. I would love it if just one person could read the book with the Frontispiece in mind, and from the perspective of a young man trying to come to terms with who he is, while witnessing the truth of the depths of depravity.
Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
Self Control is more than blowing up at an argument. It is examining the truth to who we really are as a species, and how we can learn the truth of compassion.
Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?
Having received a devastating diagnosis of Stage IV blood cancer made me realize the important things in life.
The realization that I might die as a result of my participation in the Vietnam War, and that I might be getting my just desserts is what changed my world view, and of whether we humans are really civilized.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Most young boys want to be firemen or policemen when they grow up. I was less athletic than some of the other boys, and as an introvert, I always wanted to write. I remember writing comedy skits after watching the Steve Allen show, and sharing my compositions about the Moon with other classes in my elementary school.
I failed Typing Class, and am still a very bad typist (I can type 20 wrong words per minute).
Where can we learn more about your book?
You can learn more about Marble Mountain Memoirs, as well as other books in the works by joining me on Facebook, at the Second Wind Publishing website, or at Amazon.com