iUniverse author William R. Graser talks about his book, Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved, along with his event, iPODS for Wounded Veterans, to be held during Veterans Day Weekend.
Mr. Graser’s comments below come from his interview in The Portsmouth Review, by Rebecca Skane, from July 7 of this year, found at http://portsmouthreview.com/interview-local-author-william-r-graser/ .
Tell us a little bit about yourself . . .
I was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the second oldest of seven children. Two of my brothers and one sister served in the US Armed Forces. My oldest brother Bob, served in the US Navy; my younger brother Howard served in the US Army, and my oldest sister Doris served in the US Navy. My father served with the US Merchant Marines during World War II.
I have resided in Londonderry, New Hampshire for forty years. I am involved in veteran’s issues, enjoy horseback riding and spending time with my wife Flo, family and Kyle, my 11-year old grandson.
And about your book, and what inspired you?
Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved is the product of a nearly eight-year effort, beginning in 2007. I drew on my past experiences and assignments throughout the world as the foundation for the book.
I wrote Veterans’ Reflections to preserve a part of American military history through a collection of true firsthand accounts and personal stories. Veterans’ Reflections focuses on military service as seen through the eyes of 60 veterans set against historical context that encompasses a period that spans more than 75 years. These veterans served during all of our major conflicts from 1941 to 2004.
Several veterans stated that it was their first time anyone had taken the time to thank them for their service. Their appreciation for my thoughtfulness gave me the inspiration to record their accounts and write Veterans’ Reflections.
Writing Veterans’ Reflections was difficult at times, especially when I was listening to firsthand accounts of combat. Once a Korean War combat veteran called me at home three weeks after his story was completed. He said, “When reading my own story, those days in Korea rushed back like it was yesterday.” I listened as he wrestled with his emotions. Months later, he told me how much he appreciated his story being recorded for future generations, especially his grandchildren.
I asked each of the veterans whom I interviewed to provide a copy of his DD214 form—that is, his certificate of release or discharge from active duty. The DD214 is the official document which shows service branch, service dates, rank, awards, and decorations. Using this document, I obtained missing medals, badges, and service ribbons earned by these veterans.
Within my community, the first annual Veterans’ Day Recognition Ceremony was held in 2007, which recognized each veteran. They were presented with their earned awards. The Veterans’ Day Recognition Ceremony has been held every year since.
Ultimately, I hope the stories in Veterans’ Reflections promote a further understanding and appreciation of veterans and their sacrifices.
What is the most critical piece of advice you would give to new authors?
Keep rewriting until its perfect and employ an editor, any editor. Everyone makes typos and grammatical errors. I am no exception; it’s not a lack of skill or knowledge that’s to blame, just a tunnel vision that means glaring mistakes slip by. Always carry a note-book and keep a pencil near your favorite seat. You never know when a new line or a great idea will present itself.
Commit it to paper immediately, or it will be lost forever. Be passionate about your subject and it will show, and that is a good thing.
Are there more books coming from you in the future?
Yes, Upcoming book 2017/18, Veterans’ Reflections: The Global War on Terror. The military campaigns against Iraq in 1991, al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and the Islamic State (often still known by its old name Isis) along with al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
The Veterans Day Book Fair, at Barnes and Noble Burlington, will run from November 11-13.
Proceeds from the sale of Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved will be donated to IPODS For Wounded Veteran’s (Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan)
Address: Barnes and Noble, 98 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803, 781.273.4167, firstname.lastname@example.org (Dominic Copeland)
Proceeds from the sale of Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved will be donated to IPODS For Wounded Veteran’s (Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan).
Mr. Graser’s website can be found at www.graser-vetsreflect.com. And finally, some words about his experience with iUniverse:
My experience with iUniverse is nothing short of outstanding! The products and services available to promote Veterans’ Reflections have established me as an author. The team who assisted me with publishing Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved made the process a great experience, and I plan to publish my second book with iUniverse.