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:

goodreadsamazon

Recent Posts

I Don’t Write Sergeant Rock Comic Books!

That’s right. I don’t write Sergeant Rock comic books. Let me explain further. This is a recent unrated review I posted on the Goodreads site about my novel Raeford’s MVP:

“This is a love story and a story of finding one’s self and a future after facing the death and carnage of war–the Vietnam War. Billy Coker’s wild high school years led him down the primrose path to the war in Vietnam, and when it was over, he was left staring into the black abyss of PTSS and a futureless life. Little does he realize his redemption may depend on two women: a little six-year-old girl who has lost her father to that same war and a little fat girl he shunned in high school. It is the third book in the Vietnam War Series and one of my favorites.”

(https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard)

A novel about love, war and redemption.

You may ask why I would review my own book. The purpose is simple, but first let me begin by saying: There is no rating attached to the review nor is there a recommendation—only a story summary. The reason for the review is to clarify my purpose and style of writing in the Vietnam War Series. I have received a few review comments for Raeford’s MVP and my other works whereby an extremely limited number of readers express disappointment that my stories are not purely “war” stories.

 

Here are a couple of comments: “Is this a War Novel or a Romantic Novel?” (Valley of The Purple Hearts) and “This author…has a tendency to morph a Nam novel into a romance novel.” (Raeford’s MVP). I believe the problem lies with reader expectations. Some want nothing more than stories of combat and its immediate results. The problem with this is two-fold: wars and combat do not happen in a vacuum whereby they affect only the combatants, and the effects of war and combat seldom end when a soldier returns home.

Soldiers have lives before and after they are soldiers, and soldiers have families, wives, and lovers who are just as much a part of their lives as are their combat experiences. And while most soldiers return from combat to civilian lives and move on without outwardly displaying the effects of that experience, most all are changed in some way by it. Frankly, I write my novels to fit these realities and not the voyeuristic pleasures of readers who believe war games like “Call of Duty” or comic books such as “Sergeant Rock” reflect the horrific reality of combat and its aftermath.

With that said, I must caution readers that all these novels do in fact contain very real and graphic descriptions of combat. Many readers have said my stories seemingly place them in such a state of mind that they feel they have participated in the actual combat scenes. These accolades are deeply appreciated, because to understand the entirety of the experience is to better understand the combat veteran, but I stand by my opening statement: I don’t write Sergeant Rock comic books!

Send me your comments, and check out all my novels available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover editions on Amazon.com at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00H2YO2SS.

Rick DeStefanis

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