Tyler Tichelaar Interviews Don Meyer
Don Meyer, author of several novels and the Vietnam War memoir The Protected Will Never Know, was recently interviewed by Tyler Tichelaar. Meyer’s latest novel, The American War, recently received the 2012 Tyler R. Tichelaar award for Best Historical Fiction. An excerpt from the interview appears below. To read the full interview see the original article.
The American War is published by Two Peas Publishing and available for purchase in both paperback and ebook editions.
Tyler: Before you wrote “The American War,” you wrote your memoir “The Protected Will Never Know.” What made you decide to write your memoir? Was it cathartic for you?
Don: The Vietnam memoir was actually written back in 1977-on an old Black Royal Manual Typewriter! Starting from a short story I did in a college English class, I had the basis for the idea. In addition, I had a bunch of letters home, notes I salvaged, and of course, my memories that were still fresh, and very raw. It was very emotional to get that all out… and down on paper. From all that material, I started to compile those pieces into what would become a working manuscript. However, as the ’70s came to a close, everyone was done with Vietnam and all the publishers and agents that I sent the manuscript to decided to reject it. I threw that manuscript into a box and forgot about it. Quite a few years later, my daughter found that manuscript and took it to school for a show and tell, and even though I was through with all that, she nagged me to “get it out there,” which I finally did about ten years ago. It was quite interesting to revisit that work so many years later.
Tyler: Do you feel like people are now no longer “past” Vietnam as you said but ready to revisit it? Do you feel the view of it has changed a lot since the 1970s?
Don: Truthfully, I think it is old news, occasionally mentioned when there is an event of some sort. Sure we may have more recognition than we did back then and I’m certainly glad that has translated into better recognition for our current soldiers, but at the end of the day, for most people, it is just a time and place in history. I think you also have to look at the events of the day-not only was there an unpopular war raging, but the county was racked with violence in protest. For many there are lingering wounds, both physically and emotionally, that is best left alone.
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