Sunday, September 02, 2012

THE REUNION - Dan Walsh - One Free Book

How did you come up with the idea for this story?
While researching an earlier novel set during World War II (The Homecoming), I came across an amazing story about a young man who had done some extraordinary, heroic things in battle; saving countless lives and almost losing his own. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor, then went home after the war and lived in virtual obscurity, working as a janitor in an Air Force Academy. Decades later, one of the cadets was reading an account of World War II heroes and recognized the name of this same janitor he and his fellow cadets walked by everyday and never paid attention to. Of course, life changed dramatically for this forgotten war hero after that.

It got me thinking about all of the “invisible people” we pass by every day in life, particularly the elderly, and it made me wonder what amazing stories some of them might tell if we only took the time to listen. I decided to make my forgotten hero in The Reunion a Vietnam War vet, which gave me the opportunity to honor a whole generation of forgotten war heroes. I grew up during this difficult chapter of US history and saw how terribly we treated the vets coming home from that war compared to the way we treat them now.

Of course, I’ve woven in a significant love story sub-plot into The Reunion, as well.

It wouldn't be a Dan Walsh novel without that love story. If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Karen Kingsbury – She’s the biggest seller of contemporary Christian fiction and she also did a series with Gary Smalley (like I’m doing now). Would love to listen and learn from her. I’d invite James Rubart and Dr. Harry Kraus, two good friends and great authors (we’re about to start a new blog together). Terri Blackstock and Colleen Coble, both write great suspense novels (of course, Colleen also writes historical). Both of these ladies have helped me in some wonderful ways. And finally, Deborah Raney, another friend and one of the sweetest ladies in Christian fiction, IMO.

Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Well, Lena, you’d be at the top of that list. I wouldn’t think of having such a part without you there. I’d invite Sarah Sundin, another Revell author who writes great WW2 love stories. I suppose I could invite Colleen Coble to this party, too, since she writes historical novels also. I’d have to invite Julie Lessman, who also writes for Revell, is a good friend and a funny lady. I’d also invite Davis Bunn and Francine Rivers, both legends, so much I could learn from them.

Thank you, Dan. I’d love attending that party. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
Definitely would need quite a few more readers than I have now to say I “have it made.” Hoping that happens, where my readership is large enough to sustain my writing career indefinitely. But I’m still working very hard at it and, at least for now, I’m not earning anywhere near what I was paid as a pastor. But I think my biggest challenge at the moment isn’t the money. Sadly, writing 8 books in 4 years has taken a toll on my arms and hands. It’s mostly my fault, writing with poor posture on a small laptop, but I’m recovering from both carpal tunnel and ulna nerve damage right now. I’m doing all my writing from a headset with a voice-recognition program (so grateful for that).

I’ve wondered if I should do that, too. Tell us about the featured book.
Here’s a recent review of The Reunion that summarizes the story quite well:

Aaron Miller is a hero. A fact very few know. Most wouldn’t glance twice at the aging handyman who lives in a storage room. The Vietnam vet himself doesn’t believe he’s a hero. Not after he returned home only to lose his family and everything he cared about because he couldn’t get his life together. Despite cleaning up his act and turning his life over to God years ago, his ex-wife made it clear that there is no room for him in the life of his children. They have moved on and so should he. With Christmas coming up, Aaron is resigned to spending yet another holiday alone with little more than memories and an old picture of his kids as company. But three men haven’t forgotten the one who saved their lives 40 years earlier in a far-away jungle and they are determined to find him.

Dave Russo dreams of writing a book about Vietnam veterans in an attempt to connect with the father he lost to that war. To fund his project, he undertakes the task of finding a man who may not even be alive. With little more than a name, he sets out on a practically impossible mission. Along the journey he meets people that will change his life forever.

Dan Walsh delivers another heart-wrenching novel with The Reunion. Honestly, I felt a bit apprehensive starting out. I absolutely loved Walsh’s The Discovery and couldn’t imagine how anything could come up to that. It didn’t take me long to realize I worried about nothing. The Reunion is a beautiful story that tugs at the heart-strings and plays with the reader’s emotions. I lost track of how many times my throat constricted and my eyes filled with tears only to have a huge smile appear on my face a few minutes later. There were moments, especially towards the end when I experienced both at the same time.

Please give us the first page of the book.
There are only a few scenes more beautiful and tranquil than a forest of live oaks. They are not like the jungle, crowded with thick tangles of foliage that slap you in the face as you walk by. That mattered to Aaron Miller.

Even forty years later, Aaron was afraid of jungles.

The ground around live oaks is mostly bare. The trees give each other plenty of space. With massive trunks rising up from the earth, often several feet in diameter, limbs as thick as trees themselves. Sprawling outward the limbs mingle with the branches of other live oaks forming an intricate network of curves and arches. Spanish moss hangs from almost every bough, whispering when gentle breezes blow.

A hundred years ago, the place where Aaron Miller lived was just such a forest, splendid and majestic, untouched by man.

Aaron thought about all this during his quiet time that morning. Maybe it was the picture he had seen the day before, taken some sixty years ago. A black and white photograph of a simple farmhouse, built between two of the largest trees in the forest. The house almost seemed to belong there, resting in the forest’s shade, enjoying its protection.

Today, that farmhouse stood where it always had. But a few more rooms had been added. The biggest addition housed pool tables, video games, pinball machines and a public restroom. Another served as a general store where any number of woodsy things could be bought. Citronella candles and mosquito spray, fuel for a Coleman stove, bags of ice.

From that sixty year mark to the present, more than half the original oak trees were gone, the majority cut down to make room for trailer hookup sites and bumpy dirt roads. All of this to create Bentley’s Trailer Park & Campground.

Aaron was the handyman at Bentley’s, lived in a storage room just across the way from the main house. Mr. Bentley only docked his pay a hundred-and-fifty dollars a month for the privilege.

I absolutely loved this book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m all over the place, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, Goodreads. But probably the best place is to come to my website. You can connect with me on most of those other places there. It’s

Thank you, Dan, for the wonderful story ... and for sharing it with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Reunion, The: A Novel - paperback
Reunion, The: A Novel - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Anonymous said...

would love to win. thanks for the chance. angela from ky

Linda Kish said...

Being of the age to remember the war and the guys coming home, I think I will spend some time with tears reading this book. I hope I get lucky.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Dan Walsh said...

Linda, Tears seem to be a consistent part of the reviews and emails I receive. But the good kind :)

Eldra said...

The first page has grabbed me -- I absolutely must read this book!

Eldra from BC

LadySaotome said...

Wow - I'll be reading this book regardless of if I win it or not. My father-in-law was a Vietnam vet. He passed away just over a year ago after a lifetime of illness stemming from his injuries suffered back then. The doctors gave him 6 months to live in 2001 but we were blessed to have him still with us when we married & when we had his granddaughter. His funeral was the one & only time my husband and his brother ever heard the military acknowledge the sacrifices their entire family made for their country due to his service. Not just his PTSD (which never faded) but his medical battles - the father they never had due to it all.

Veronica Sternberg said...

Someone I know recommended your books. It would be awesome to win one! I live in MN.

Donna Collins Tinsley said...

I am a big fan of all of Dan's books and a big fan of the Vietnam veterans; there are two in my family. I live in Port Orange, FL and would love to be a winner!

Pam K. said...

I can sympathize with Dan's struggle with carpal tunnel, as I had surgery for that years ago. I hope he can recover soon from that and the nerve damage. I enjoyed Dan's book, The Deepest Waters. The Reunion sounds like another great book.
Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


marybelle said...

My Father is a WWII veteran, but he rarely talks about his time in service. I look forward to reading THE REUNION.

Mary P


rubynreba said...

My husband is a Vietnam vet with a Purple Heart. I'd love to read this.
Beth from IA

Judy said...

I heard this book is a real page turner and tear jerker. I'd love to win a copy of The Reunion. I can't wait to read more about Aaron Miller's life.

Please enter me.

Judy B from Indiana

apple blossom said...

thanks for chance to win
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Cindy W. said...

Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I have already read The Reunion. I just wanted to say The Reunion is one of Dan's best so far. I am a big fan of his books and I always wait patiently for his next to come out. Anyone lucky enough to win The Reunion, will most likely need a box of Kleenex by there side especially near the end of the book.

Dan, thank you for paying tribute to our troops that served during the Vietnam war. My brother was in the Navy and use to take small boats up the Mekong Delta to drop off points for supplies to our troops. He waited until after the war to let us know that he dodges many a snipers bullet.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W. from Indiana

Anonymous said...

Sounds really intriguing!

Monica Ontario

Ladette Kerr said...

This one is definitely on my TBR list!! Thanks for the giveaway!

Ladette in GA

Nancee said...

I've read several of Dan's books, and they're wonderful. Thank you for offering this giveaway!
Nancee in Michigan

Amy Campbell said...

I've read so many great reviews for The Reunion. Looks like I'm going to have to add it to my to be read list.


Dan Walsh said...

Lady Sataome, by all means get a copy of this. I've had numerous Vietnam vets say it deeply touched them and even helped their families to understand things they found hard to talk about.

Thanks Donna, great to hear from you.

Marybelle, most vets do struggle to open up about what they went through. The Vietnam vets had it even rougher in some ways than the WW2 ones. There were often in combat danger for over a year vs a few months for WW2 vets, and WW2 vets came home to a heroes welcome while the Nam vets were treated badly.

Ruby, tell your husband he has my deep respect.

Cindy, in my research I watched shows about what those Navy guys faced going up those rivers. It was a VERY scary assignment, ambushes potentially around every turn.


Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Sarah said...

Enter me!

Jackie Tessnair said...

Please enter me...would love to win this book.Thanks...Jackie Tessnair from N.C.

Melody said...

I was a little girl during the Viet Nam war. My Uncle Bill was in the Air Force and would mail me dolls, a lamp, a jewelry box from there. I've since given them to his grandaughter. Looking forward to reading this book.

live in Donna, TX, do mission work in Mexico & Nicaragua.

Nancee said...

Dan is such a wonderful writer! I've loved reading and rereading his books. Thank you for offering this giveaway!
Nancee in Michigan

Patty said...

I always think it is so sad when one parent tries to totally cut the other parent out of their children's lives. Sometimes it is necessary, but still very sad.

Would love to win a copy of this book.

Patty in SC

Dan Walsh said...

Patty, it is sad when that happens. In the book, you can kind of see why it happened at first. The sad part was how she kept him from them years later, after he'd gotten his life on track. But God had other plans...

EJ said...

Looking forward to reading "The Reunion" - I grew up in the 60's I remember sadly how our military was treated. Elaine in Iowa

Merry said...

The Reunion sounds wonderful, I enjoyed the first page. I will be putting this on my "must have" list.
Please add me to the drawing. Thanks!
Merry in TX

Mary Hawkins said...

The first Australian officer killed in Vietname was my brother's best friend. My brother's name was not drawn out of the barrel.
I love your books, Dan, and your The Homecoming really blessed a dear elderly gentleman of ours who had been an RAF bomber navigator in WWII

Veronica Sternberg said...

This author has been recommended to me. I would love to win this! I live in MN.

Liz R said...

Please enter me, I've never read any Dan Walsh novels (though I've been meaning to) and I've read really great reviews for this one!

Liz R in AL

Cathy said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for the chance to win it!
Cathy from BC

Abigail Richmond said...

Enter me!
Thanks and God Bless!

Blanch, N.C.

Diana Gardner said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks! Portsmouth, VA

Kristie said...

I think that Dan kinda sounds like a Christian Nicholas Sparks. Gee, I hope that's not offensive to him or anyone else. His books just got pushed WAY up on my "to read" list. Maybe I can win this one. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.