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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Recent Posts

Raindrops Keep Falling on my head….Yea!!

Rain–Rain at Last…

YES! I admit it. That was me you heard yelling. I was out there in the yard this morning near dawn with arms outstretched, facing heavenward, and turning in circles in the glorious rainfall. It’s been thirty-something days here in this part of Mississippi without a drop. One gulf hurricane went left, two went right. The only thing hanging over us was that big blue “H” on the weather map. The grass had turned brown and the trees were shedding crinkly dead brown leaves. The only things that hadn’t turned brown were my wife Janet’s artificial ferns. They were just a little dusty.

Me after the rain.

Well, sort of…

And, before, I go further: I really don’t want to hear from you my friends living out west where this drought thing is considered normal. Really. Yes, I know. I am spoilt. We get on average nearly an inch a week—roughly four and a half inches a month down here in Mississippi. We may curse the summer humidity and this our often jungle-rainforest environment, but our grass, our trees, and our critters expect it, and when that doesn’t happen…well, it gets ugly. Even the hummingbirds were doing barrel-rolls this morning.

Hummingbird doing a barrel roll

It began thundering and booming a little after nightfall yesterday evening. It sounded very much like a major artillery barrage, which is why I actually showed good-judgment for once and did not do my “thank you” rain dance last night. But it wasn’t the thunder and lightning that kept me awake last night. No.

It was that slurping sound coming from the grass and trees. Those of which hadn’t already succumbed to this “Death Valley” drought were sounding like a dehydrated camel at a desert oasis.

Even now, I walk in the grass, and it’s not squishy. Rather, it cracks like water-gorged celery beneath my feet. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but at least if it isn’t, it’s dying a happy death with its last drink of water. Reckon I’ll go out and check the battery on the lawnmower later.

Oh, and by the way, many of you have asked me if I was ever going to produce any of my novels as audiobooks. The answer was always, that I “might” consider it. Well, I am now moving ahead on an experimental basis to do one. Whether or not I choose to do more will depend on the results of this first project. That’s where your reader comments—or in this case, “listener” comments—will become a critical part of the decision. A more formal announcement and progress-update will be made in a few months.

Check this out: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00H2YO2SS

And, as always, please send me your comments.

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