Meet a Writer who's a Soldier, Sailor, Vietnam Veteran and Much More: Jack Durish

Jack Durish is not your average guy: he's a non-conformist, he's had an amazingly varied life and defines himself as an author, soldier, sailor, Vietnam Veteran, Oath Keeper, Husband, Father, Grandfather - a little too old for a boomer perhaps, but he certainly shares in the rebellious spirit of boomers. As he says, "aging is not for the faint of heart"! I love that!

I met him by chance on the Internet as we both navigated various readers and writers' circles, he's often made some very pointed comments on my blog, and one day, to my total surprise, he emailed me telling me he'd read my book (A Hook in the Sky) and really liked it - to the point of taking the trouble to write a review (see here), something that is always a source of deep pleasure for an author: it's so nice to connect with your readers and find that you're understood and appreciated! Particularly when the appreciation is coming from someone who is himself a good writer...

Today, it’s my pleasure to interview him and he is going to tell us all about his latest book, Rebels on the Mountain, an intriguing historical novel, a spy tale of revolution and romance set in Cuba during the days of Castro's ascent to power, now available in all e-book formats on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. I’ve been on a so-called “blog hop” with him, a term I don’t particularly like but what it means is that he has interviewed me (to see that interview, click here), defining me as a "writer with a mission" - I'm flattered, the mission in question is the work I do to promote boomer lit which I'm convinced is going to be the next big literary genre...But I'm more than happy to return the favor here. Which I don’t consider a “favor” at all, but something I owe to a remarkable fellow author and I hope you’ll agree with me that his book is fun reading!

You’ll also find him on his blog (click here) where he tells you all about Cuba and its recent Fidel Castro-shaped history and gives you his own very personal opinions about the world around him and us. And if, after you've read him, you think he doesn’t quite live in the same world as you, well…that’s what makes it all the more interesting! Writers do have a special view on life or they wouldn't be writers worth reading. I highly recommend a visit to his blog, you’ll be surprised at what he has to tell you!

So now, for the so-called “blog hop” questions:

1.      Give us a one sentence synopsis.
    "Nick Andrews, a U.S. Army spy assigned to unwrap the mystery of diplomatic failures in Cuba, avoids being entrapped in Castro's Revolution until he is forced to bury his friends and fight.

2.      Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?
There are two kinds: first, the fictional characters
   Nick Andrews: A U.S. Army Ranger and Korean War Veteran who has made a career of reconnaissance patrols behind the Iron Curtain – possibly portrayed by Stephen Amell

Lucia Comas: An American-educated, island-born mulata, daughter of the second wife of don Carlos Comas, a Cuba sugar plantation owner, and love interest of Nick Andrews – possibly portrayed by Christina Milian

Emma Regan: An American socialite whose husband, a retired pediatrician operates a free clinic on the sugar plantation she inherited, and sister to the don Carlos Comas' second wife Sigourney Weaver

  Then the real Historical Characters:
    Fidel Castro: The charismatic leader of the revolution that overthrew the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista – possibly portrayed by Jsu Garcia
   Che Guevara: The Argentinian doctor who became one of Castro's most notorious lieutenants and his executioner following Fidel's rise to power – possibly portrayed by Guillermo Diaz
   Ernest Hemingway: Nobel Prize winning author and Havana resident who mingled freely in the halls of power in Havana and purportedly supported Castro's revolution – possibly portrayed by William Hurt

3.  That's quite a cast! By the way, let me say that Nick Andrews, the protagonist, is one hell of a guy! Tell us about the story, but please don't reveal too much.
    Nick Andrews uses the cover of a pleasure trip with friends, the Regans – a retired doctor and his socialite wife who own an estate in Cuba – to infiltrate the island from its halls of power in Havana to the rebel camp in the mountains at the eastern end of the island. Unexpectedly, he rekindles a childhood crush with the island-born niece of the Regans, and makes friends with a loyal Fidelista rebel. Romance, rum, rumba, and revolution layer themselves into a thrilling tale of intrigue, action, and suspense.

4.      What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?
    I was slated to pilot a vessel from Galveston Bay to the Chesapeake, with a stop in Havana, when I was a young sailor, but the trip was canceled due to several factors including the fall of the Batista government in Cuba. I suppose that I never let go of the disappointment of missing that adventure. Thus, I followed events in Cuba closely and studied the history of the island and its people during the intervening fifty years. I spent another two years cataloging and studying my research, and another year and a half to write and edit the manuscript.

5.      What other books have you written?
Dream Pirates – Fiction for young readers with impaired reading skills and new English speakers
WordPerfect: Creative Applications – Technical manual
Infantry School: A Soldier's Journal – Personal memoir
Vietnam: A Soldier's Journal – Personal memoir
Trifles: Literary Dessert – A collection of short stories to be published soon

6.  Yes, you're a techie too! Can't wait to read your short stories... Which authors inspired you?
Many including...
Ernest Hemingway: for the Voice
Mark Twain: Irony
Charles Dickens: Memorable characters

7.   The classics - I couldn't agree with you more. For good writing, you need to aim high! Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Http:// contains my personal blog as well as my biography, a synopsis of all my books and links to them, and recommended websites for anyone interested in reading.

8.      How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
9.     You're not on Facebook? Hey, I checked it and you are (click here)! You're also on Linked In...Is there anything else you would like us to know?
    I am currently working on my second novel featuring Nick Andrews as a young soldier in the Korean War. Also, I have been posting to my blog a series of articles built from my research into Cuba with special emphasis on the love-hate relationship between the island and the United States. 

    Most expect a change in US-Cuban relations when Fidel Castro dies, and Americans will begin looking forward to visiting this Caribbean paradise which has been off limits for so many years."

Thanks, Jack, it was wonderful to talk to you! And yes, Cuba is likely to become a major tourist destination - actually, it already is for many people here in Italy where I live. Anyone planning a trip to Cuba should read your book!

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