Allan Wilson Cates discusses his “Vagabond Years”!

iUniverse author Allan Wilson Cates talks about Vagabond Years, his collection of memoirs starting with his childhood in North Arkansas.

My book, Vagabond Years, is an unconnected collection of anecdotes and vignettes that tell of my life and experiences. It is autobiographical in nature. There are captioned photos from around the world which, alone, tell a story of my working years from coast to coast and border to border, as well as my travels to more than seventy countries around the globe.

I grew up in the poverty-stricken hills of North Arkansas in the 1940s and 1950s. At the age of 16, I joined the army. After completing my two-year hitch, I hitchhiked north in search of work. That was in 1956. My “vagabond years” were about to commence.

In the next 40 years, I built airports, dams, and hydroelectric, fossil and nuclear power plants from the four corners of the USA and into the Bering Sea. I had started work in Des Plaines, Illinois, as a non-skilled laborer, without a high school diploma. In the years that followed, I ended up supervising crews of degreed engineers in the construction of a giant nuclear power plant. Leading up to my retirement, I reached the apex of management in the University of Texas System, Office of Facilities Planning and Construction.

I knew that I had had an interesting life, far more so than most of my contemporaries, but never considered that I might write about it. Then I came across a memoir by President Jimmy Carter. His book described his growing up in the rural South and the experiences associated with the farming life of a young boy. As I read it, I realized that many of his experiences were similar to mine. That is when I realized that I could write my life history. Thank you, President Jimmy Carter.

I would like my readers to identify with some of my experiences. I would like them to see that one does not have to be born to wealth and comfort to find a course in life and, through hard work, rise above the beginnings that hold many people back.

Much of Vagabond Years is telling of travel experiences around the world. I have a shelf laden with daily diaries that I have faithfully kept down through the years. Within those volumes are stories that scream to be told. I write every day.

My encouragement to write comes from my friends who enjoy my daily greetings that I write on Facebook. Each greeting becomes a vignette that is worthy of inclusion as a chapter in a memoir. It might not work for everyone but it works for me.

I appreciate the book design that iUniverse has produced for my book. That is something that is far beyond my abilities. It looks great.

I cannot advise prospective authors regarding a novel, or in fact, fiction of any kind. I am not creative enough to write such as that. I can, though, offer heartfelt advice, otherwise. I strongly recommend that everyone – not just aspiring authors, but everyone, keep a daily diary and write about your experiences. Put it into a book. iUniverse will help you with that part. Your children may, or may not, be interested in your experiences, but your descendants on down the line will find the story of your life to be a treasure.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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