Today’s special guest is Rusty Smith. He’s here chatting with me about his novel Longworth.
Prize: Kindle Fire 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus e-book or paperback copy of Longworth
Amazon Gift Card and e-book or paperback copy of Longworth
or paperback copy of Longworth
J. Russell Smith has spent a
lifetime fighting for a sense of moral justice, on both a personal level and on
a broader stage. His experiences in the Vietnam War and his graduate
studies in intellectual history and political theory allow him to bring both an
intimate perspective and a scholar’s analysis to the writing of Longworth.
Smith is currently at work on his next two novels.
Rusty. Please tell us about your current release.
young man who is caught up in circumstances beyond his control. The 60s, and
the Vietnam War that defined it, was an unsettling time. Most of the young men
and women who lived through that life-altering period had little idea what was
going on, beyond what was reported in the newspapers. Even then, most did not
even bother to read the newspaper. Yes, there were some who recognized the
situation for what it was and responded accordingly, but most were just ambling
along trying to figure it all out. Carson Longworth was not atypical of those
individuals who had, heretofore, not been involved in politics to any great
degree. He had emerged, like his contemporaries, from the stifling conformity
that was the 1950s.
from that era was as creative, mainly as a response to the political atmosphere
and the War, as at any time in US history. It was a reflection of who we were
and what we were doing. As events unfolded during that period, folks began to gradually
understand and respond accordingly, particularly to the political folly that
was unfolding. This, of course, would lead to the very real, but unnecessary,
deaths and injuries in a conflict in which we had no business being involved. And,
it will turn out; many of our future political leaders would learn little from
that disastrous encounter. The ill-conceived wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two
egregious examples, are a direct result of our hubris.
inspired you to write this book?
than this, it essentially boils down to two things: It was a cathartic
experience for me in the sense that I needed to put down on paper the pent up
feelings I had from that experience. I needed to fully understand what had
happened to me and others in that exercise in futility; second, because I
had/have strong feelings about the conduct of the Vietnam War and just how
powerful the 60s were, I felt the need to educate the public. Some who lived
through that time will hopefully conjure up some memories. Others, who did not,
will, hopefully, receive both a message and an education.
exciting story are you working on next?
fiction novel set in the Pacific Northwest. The notion came to me in a
did you first consider yourself a writer?
of any sort where I woke up and decided I was a writer. It was more of a
metamorphosis. Clearly, though, I decided in the last decade or so that I would
like to write. When I finished Longworth I decided that I would not be bored in
my dotage; that I wanted to write more.
you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do
other than write and how do you find time to write?
full-time. I own my company, thus my time is not my own. About the only time I
can write at present is when I steal moments here and there. It is not to my
liking. I intend to change that in the near future. In the interim, I play golf
or ride motorcycles to change the scenery somewhat.
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
this, except to say that the entirety of Longworth was written between the hours
of midnight and 6:00am. Late night seems to be when I do my best work.
a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
ambition to be anything in particular. It was not until I was in the Marine
Corps that I decided that I would like to be a college history professor. That,
of course, did not happen.
additional you want to share with the readers?
and volatile period, most do not realize how much that period changed our
country and, by extension, the world. With this novel, my hope was to enlighten
the reader. If he/she lived during that era, then perhaps this would conjure up
some memories. Many who have read the book have told me it brought back
memories both good and bad. For those who did not live through the 60s, and the
Vietnam War that defined it, I would hope they would receive an education and
realize the import of the message.