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Interview with Michael McCormick   Leave a comment

Michael McCormick

This is an Elite Book Promotions blog tour.

Today’s interview is with Michael McCormick, author of Across the Pond, a novella about the Vietnam War and its effect on one of the returning soldiers.

Tell us something about yourself, Michael. (Where are you from, what do you do for a living, significant life events and relationships, as much or as little as you want).

I grew up in Ohio, USA, and just after graduation from high school I found my self engaged in brutal house-to-house, door-to-door, combat in Hue, South Vietnam. The carnage went on for 13 months. Upon my return to the United States, I was awarded the Silver Star medal and the Purple Heart.

This is your first published book. Had you written before? If so, what was it and why?

No, this novella is my first work. I have since written some poetry and a few short stories.

That is how the writer bug starts! This interview is a little different because normally I’m interviewing fiction novelists who are, like myself, writing from research and imagination, but in your case, you’re drawing from personal experience. I’m not ignorant on the subject. I grew up in the Vietnam Era, a cousin died there, and my brother came back to a hate-the-troops rally in the airport. Tell us a little bit about Across the Pond.

Michael McCormick Across the PondMy novella is about a young American man who fights for his country during the war in Vietnam, only to be rejected and ridiculed when he comes home. In the foreword for the book, Ron Kovic wrote, “This little book grips the reader from the very beginning and does not let go. It is written with the violence and fury of Leon Uris’s Battle Cry, and the tenderness and compassion of a simple poet.”

Do you think, as a clinical psychologist, there was something different in the Vietnam War (and subsequent conflicts) compared to World War 2 and Korean? (It seems that the earlier veterans did not experience as much PTSD or it did not last as long as soldiers from later eras. Were those conficts somehow different, was it the difference in how they were treated when they came home, or was there something else involved. Or are we just seeing the apparent differences incorrectly through the lens of history.

I think all war is hell. The difference was in how the Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home. It was disgraceful the way the government and American people treated the returning veterans.

This book is coming out decades following the events, but I see parallels between then and now. The TSA prevents the hate-the-troops rallies in airports these days, but do you think there is a growing antipathy toward the returning troops from the Middle East these days?

I think there are some parallels, such as the treatment at the VA, but overall I think they are well treated and respected, unlike what happened to the returning Vietnam veteran.

How did the foreward by Ron Kovic come about? And for the benefit of readers, please explain who Ron Kovic is?

I ran into Ron one day in San Francisco and we agreed to meet for lunch in Marin. He read my manuscript, liked it and agreed to write the foreword. He then proceeded to write the foreword on the lunch napkins. Ron Kovic is the author of Born On The Fourth of July, the basis for the Oliver Stone movie of the same name.
How do you answer people who say United States troops shouldn’t have been in Vietnam in the first place?

 

I agree. If Jack Kennedy had lived, I think we would not have gone in. Lyndon Johnson was the person who lied to the people and sent large numbers of our soldiers to Vietnam.

Do you think, given your background and current profession, that the United States should be in the conflicts where we are now?

No I don’t, and I said that in the beginning. I don’t think we have a compelling national interest in that region. Some of our leaders disagree, but this president seems to agree.

What is a takeaway you would like readers to get from Across the Pond?

When we send our young people off to war, we damn sure ought to take care of them and respect them when they come home.

How was the cover for the book developed?

I shopped around on the Internet for this cover and then I bought it.

Michael McCormick is the author of Across The Pond. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps just out of high school at the age of 17. Soon after, he found himself in battle in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. He was nearly killed on several occasions, but managed to survive and return home at age 19. After the war, Michael earned his B.A. in psychology and his M.A. in clinical psychology. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife Gina. You can contact him at: mikemccormick49@ymail.com.

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Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   Leave a comment

I’m doing something a little different. This week’s interview is with Michael McCormick as part of his blog tour through Elite Book Promotions.

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