Friday, October 7, 2011

Interview with John Koelsch, author of MICKEY 6

Please welcome John Koelsch to the blog. He's the author of Mickey 6 and a fellow Valley Writers author.

How long did it take you from idea to publishing your novel?

I first conceived the idea a decade after my service, around 1979. I had several false starts but life kept intervening. In 2000 I moved to South Carolina, joined the “Twisted Scribes” writers group and waded in. I completed the initial draft of the work in 2005. Over the next 2 years I worked on editing and finding a publisher. In 2009 MilSpeak Books offered me a contract. They are a small House and progress has been slow but publication as an e-book is scheduled for October 1, 2011.

That's quite a journey your novel has taken. Are you a plotter or pantser?

For Mickey 6 I was a plotter. In preparing for a Veterans Administration compensation review for P.T.S.D., I filled out a questionnaire regarding my experiences. The third question was “What was the triggering event?” After I stopped laughing I began listing the traumatic experiences. I listed 28 for the questionnaire. When I began writing the novel, I realized I already had an outline of the story and was able to focus on the characters and their reactions. I generally write with a story in mind and focus on presenting the people involved in as real a fashion as I can.

What are you writing now or have forthcoming?

I am currently working on a novel with the working title of “Ezra Adams”. It is both a story about some of the people from the Vietnam War forty years later and an exploration of life issues – love, hate, war, love, etc. - and how we deal with them. I’m also working on a short story about military life tentatively titled “Of Vanishing Tanks and Other Phenomena.”

I always find it interesting to learn what other authors are reading. If you could recommend a book—not your own—what book would that be?

“The Naked Ghost” by Jay Gross. Jay was the leader of “The Twisted Scribes” and enabled my journey in writing to go much further than I imagined it would. He is an excellent writer and this book is a hilarious ghost story - about gay ghosts among other things. He was working on it the same time I was writing Mickey 6. The Amazon paper edition is The Kindle edition’s ASIN is B00522VEME.

Such an interesting book to recommend. I have it on my to-be-bought-and-read list. Congratulations on your novel release, and I look forward to reading more work--and critiquing it at Valley Writers--from you!

What if your country started a war and when you answered the call to duty you discovered that not all of your enemies wore a uniform different from your own? What if your knowledge of enemies-among-friendlies increased ten thousand-fold the basic insanity already instilled by diametrically opposed priorities to “accomplish the mission” and “protect the troops”? Welcome to the Vietnam War and the conflicts of leadership experienced by Mickey 6, young 2nd Lieutenant and protagonist of the novel bearing his callsign as its title.

Readers of MICKEY 6 will journey with combat platoon leader Mickey through an incomprehensible war made more devastating by the unnecessary stresses of a power struggle between leaders within the hierarchy of combat command.

MICKEY 6 provides a rare view of war as examined in the stream of consciousness dialog between Mickey and Problem Solving Central, or PSC, his callsign for his conscience. Through detailed combat scenes and exquisite storytelling prowess, novelist John Koelsch brings the Vietnam War and all of its conflicts and glory to life as no author has done since Ernest Hemingway wrote about World War I.

In MICKEY 6, Vietnam Veteran John Koelsch’s carefully wrought characters, torn between duty and personal ethos, tread deeply into the circumstances that force payment of an eternal price from the souls and minds of those who serve, and from those who lead, as they fight for their country. With themes as applicable to the 21st Century warrior as to warriors from all eras, MICKEY 6 chronicles the struggles of leadership in war, of loss of humanity, and of the enduring spirit of those who must return to life from the ravages of war.

Novelist John Koelsch served as a Combat Platoon Leader in Vietnam. He was awarded a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star with “V” Device for Valor, and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. In 2009, 2010, and 2011 he placed in the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition.