About The Word Hunter-Rick DeStefanis

Mississippi Author/Writer Rick DeStefanis writes below about the motivation behind his award-winning Vietnam War Series.

Rick DeStefanis, The Word Hunter

Rick DeStefanis, The Word Hunter

A military veteran and former paratrooper who served with the 82nd Airborne Division from 1970 to 1972, Rick brings a wide variety of life experiences to his writing. While his Southern Fiction, such as his novel Tallahatchie, is qualified by his lifelong residence in the South, it is his military training and expertise that informs his Vietnam War Series. These novels include Melody Hill, the award-winning novel The Gomorrah Principle, Raeford’s MVP and the latest, the 2018 Best Indie Book Award winner for Literary/Mainstream Fiction, The Valley of the Purple Hearts. An avid outdoorsman, Rick lives in rural Mississippi with his wife Janet, five cats and three dogs. And when he’s not photographing wildlife, he writes. Learn more at his Amazon Author Page.

Rick DeStefanis Writes About The Word Hunter and his Vietnam War Series

I grew up in the South, and though I write fiction, my stories are true reflections of my experiences and the people I know. Writing southern fiction without denying the truth requires care inasmuch as it can easily offend neighbors and friends. Southern writers seldom cross that line with cheap exhibitionism, while mimics from other parts of the country do so with relish in cliché-filled creations that come off like a Hollywood actor imitating a Southern accent. When I laugh and cry, it is not at or about my fellow southerners, but with them. We are a proud people, and because we speak slowly and appreciate a less chaotic lifestyle does not mean we are not intelligent or self-driven.

I served as a paratrooper in the military, and although I am not a combat veteran, I know the Vietnam era and have many personal friends who served in that war. After jump school at Fort Benning I was separated from most of my classmates and friends who went either to the 173rd Airborne Brigade or the 101st Airborne in the Republic of Vietnam while I was ordered to the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg. Paratroop Drop 82nd Airborne scan0014

Upon their return, many of my buddies rejoined me at Fort Bragg where I had gone through extensive and continuous training while they had stared the beast in the eye for a year. Most of them would talk about their experiences only after a few glasses of bourbon, but none would speak about them to anyone outside the military. And when I offered to write their stories as nonfiction accounts, each one to a man refused. They did not want to relive those horrific experiences and also because they were humble heroes who had left behind some of our buddies in those mountainous jungles. The “fiction” I write is closely based on the stories these men shared with me in bars around Fayetteville, North Carolina and during reunions years afterward.

With these men in mind, as well as all veterans who have given of themselves for their country, I attempt to produce the best Vietnam War Stories possible. And as with my southern fiction, when I write Vietnam War fiction, it is with the knowledge that I am telling the stories of these men with an unvarnished truth that reflects their experiences. These combat veterans have earned that along with my unfailing respect.

Rick DeStefanis books can be purchased at Amazon.com or ordered through a bookstore near you.

Please enjoy these articles about my books

Valley of the Purple Hearts

Rawlins: No Longer Young

Tallahatchie

 Connect with Rick on:

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VETERANS DAY WISHES

Shoulder Patch 82nd Airborne Division

To all my fellow American veterans, my sincerest best wishes. To those who have supported my writing through your contributions and readership, I also extend my thanks. Although written as novels, my books contain your stories and this makes them truly yours as much as they are mine. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00H2YO2SS

I recently had a veteran tell me that today’s social/political landscape is reminiscent of the years after he returned from Vietnam. It is indeed as Tom Hanks’ character Captain Miller said in the movie Saving Private Ryan: “Sergeant, we have crossed some strange boundary here. The world has taken a turn for the surreal….”

Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore in Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Of all I have seen and heard, one of the most vivid examples of this paradigm was a clip I viewed on a news site when two ANTIFA thugs were outed. They wore the prototypical outfits of total head-to-toe black, with hoods and masks, and they carried big clubs no doubt intended for clubbing some “woke” into the ignorant masses.  Yes, I know: Adolf Hitler’s Brown Shirts did the same thing prior to his coming to power in Nazi Germany, but good luck finding meaningful history in the modern American school curriculum.

So, anyway: When some local residents and business owners brought two of these fearsome black-clad monsters to bay and ripped away their hoods and masks, I found myself as a vet in that same surreal world–much as it was in the sixties and seventies. The first thug was a boy no more than nineteen or twenty years old. Lying on the ground with silver dollar-size eyes as he stared up in stark terror as several men holding him there with raised fists. The kid couldn’t grow a beard if he had a week, and he probably still lived at home with mama and daddy. So much for lessons on “consequences for one’s actions.”

A moment later the second thug, although fighting madly, was throttled and unmasked. It was a girl with a bouncy little blond ponytail and an equally youthful face. At that moment, I actually thought of Jane Fonda sitting with the North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gunners in Hanoi. Yes, the surreal world of the sixties flashed back for me.

So, what are my thoughts on this?

These little rebel pawns have latched themselves to a counter-culture cause that may well change our country, diminish our Constitution, and take away our rights, but there are masses of veterans from all walks of life who may at some point make their voices heard. Therefore, don’t give up. Stand proud and be counted. Let’s lookout for one another. Give a fellow vet your best wishes on this our day.

Rick DeStefanis

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