Rachel Thompson

Friday, June 14, 2013

Author Interview – Maj. Ray Gleason Ph.D.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? So, boys, priests and brothers all took the game seriously. On the day of the game, all classes were of course cancelled. The entire congregation of each school, students and faculty, even the alumni, attended a special mass at nine a.m., St. Xavier in its auditorium, St Agnes in the parish church next to the school. There, each school asked Jesus, the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, especially Saints Patrick and Michael the Archangel, to intercede for them, to give them victory, and to smite their cross-town, cross-cultural rivals, who on that day were no better than a bunch of snotty-nosed, shifty-eyed Prots and heretics. After mass, faculty, students and alumni en masse got on the subway, the Eastside IRT for St. Agnes, the Independent Line for St. Xavier, and travelled to a ball field up in the Bronx for the annual game between the two Manhattan schools.

The Bishop’s Cup itself was carried up by the previous year’s winner, and prominently displayed behind home plate on a table, covered in rich, shining, red fabric, bordered in gold, for that year’s winners to take back to their school in triumph after the game. The crowd, after a few nips of the sacramental water of life from silver flasks on the St. Xavier side, and pint bottles in brown paper bags on the St. Agnes side, got quite vociferously involved in the game. Even a few fights were known to break out, now and again. But, with a crowd full of cops, firemen, city politicians, and clergy, the fights never lasted long or amounted to much of anything more than some mussed hair, a rug or two askew, a torn shirt or an occasional bloody-nose. After all, the day was for the boys, baseball and the greater glory of God (From, The Violent Season).

How did you come up with the title? From Apollinaire’s poem, La jolie rousse, “Suddenly summer arrives the violent season / And my youth is as dead as the spring” (my translaton).

Can you tell us about your main character? Well meaning, moral people, who want to do the “right thing,” but are often faced with impossible circumstances.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I knew them all and remembered them well.

Who designed the cover? My publisher, with a little advice and incentive from my dear wife.

Who is your publisher? Unlimited Publishing, LLC of Indianapolis, IN.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? That’s like asking a mother, “Why did you choose to have this particular child.”

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Re-living the experience… bringing my dearest friends to life only to watch them die again.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? All the bugbears still lurking around in my subconscious.

Will you write others in this same genre? Fiction, yes… but I’m leaving Vietnam forever.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? What you’ve been told about the men and women who fought the Vietnam war is wrong.

How much of the book is realistic? All of it.

THE VIOLENT SEASON is an epic, expansive collection of heroic short stories centered on the gripping experiences of three young men and their families during the Vietnam War. The book presents a ‘coming-of-age’ narrative that begins in the lush river valleys of upstate New York and on the streets of New York City and provides an insightful perspective of youth and innocence plunged into the crucible of war.

As well, it transcends the “good guys, bad guys” portrayal of human conflict by presenting its readers with a depiction of good people, Americans and Vietnamese, caught up in unthinkably grim and difficult circumstances. THE VIOLENT SEASON celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and its ability to triumph over the horror and tragedy of war.

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Genre – Literary / Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

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