Books

Letters offer novel approach for 2 authors

“The Man in the Chimney” by Betty J. Vaughn is a historical fiction that incorporates actual people and events.
“The Man in the Chimney” by Betty J. Vaughn is a historical fiction that incorporates actual people and events. Total Recall Press

“I wanted to show the separation between people in this country and those on the front lines in Vietnam,” says Kathryn Watson Quigg of “To Any Soldier – A Novel of Vietnam Letters” (iUniverse), which she co-wrote with G.C. Hendricks. “It felt like a world away just as it does now if we have no one we are close to fighting for the United States.”

“To Any Soldier” is about a college freshman who writes to a serviceman in 1968 during the Vietnam conflict in an effort to boost morale. During that year, the two share their lives through handwritten letters, each one growing and changing as a result. “The contrast between college life and bombing runs is extreme, and to show this divide was one of my initial reasons for writing this epistolary novel,” Quigg says.

She knew she needed help with the military side, so she called on Hendricks, who authored “The Second War” (Viking Press). It took Quigg and Hendricks a year and a half to write “To Any Soldier.”

“One of us wrote a letter and the other responded, trying to keep in mind and include the rich history that occurred throughout 1968,” Quigg said. “We each reviewed and offered input to each letter and after the final letter, we read each letter to the other out loud.

“Letter writing is becoming a lost art. Letter writers reveal more of themselves in letters than they would in face-to-face encounters. … Just as the space between the notes create the music, letters and time create this story.”

Quigg, a former chair of the Wake County Board of Education, lives in Wake Forest. Hendricks, a North Carolina native, lives in Bigfork, Mont.

New titles

While wandering in North Africa as a young man, author Terry Barlow traded with a jazz musician the “Tibetan Book of the Dead” for a modern translation of the New Testament.

“Shortcut to Shekinah” (Tate Publishing) traces Barlow’s latest year-long excursion through the Bible. Barlow, a retired educator and current chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol, lives in Cary.

“The Man in the Chimney” (Total Recall Press) by Betty J. Vaughn is historical fiction that incorporates actual people and events. Set in Eastern North Carolina during the Civil War, the story centers on a forbidden love affair between a local woman and a Union officer. Vaughn, a writer and artist, lives in Raleigh.

Poetry

Poet Heidi Czerwiec has published her latest collection, “Sweet/Crude” (George Mason University). Czerwiec is a graduate of Raleigh’s Sanderson High School and UNC-Greensboro.

For writers

The Triangle Association of Freelancers is holding its ninth annual spring writing conference 8 a.m. -4 p.m. April 30 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Write Now! 2016 will feature sessions on everything from honing writing skills to getting published. For information and to register, visit tafnc.com/WriteNow.html.

Raleigh author Agnes Stevens placed third in the 2016 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition for her essay “Shelter.” Stevens’ stories, all set in and around Raleigh and Eastern North Carolina, explore the extraordinary in ordinary experiences.

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to bookbeat@newsobserver.com. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.

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