Monday, June 3, 2013

Author Interview – Maj. Ray Gleason Ph.D.

at 5:30 AM

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Mike, Diana, KC and Mallory… my children.

What is your favorite color? Blue (not politically).

What is your favorite food? The four basic food groups: Pizza, Beer, Red Wine and Chocolate.

What inspired you to write your first book? Graduating… my first book was my dissertation.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? Other writers and personal experiences… the Vietnam War, writ large.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? So, boys, priests and brothers all took the game seriously. On the day of the game, all classes were of course cancelled. The entire congregation of each school, students and faculty, even the alumni, attended a special mass at nine a.m., St. Xavier in its auditorium, St Agnes in the parish church next to the school. There, each school asked Jesus, the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, especially Saints Patrick and Michael the Archangel, to intercede for them, to give them victory, and to smite their cross-town, cross-cultural rivals, who on that day were no better than a bunch of snotty-nosed, shifty-eyed Prots and heretics. After mass, faculty, students and alumni en masse got on the subway, the Eastside IRT for St. Agnes, the Independent Line for St. Xavier, and travelled to a ball field up in the Bronx for the annual game between the two Manhattan schools.

The Bishop’s Cup itself was carried up by the previous year’s winner, and prominently displayed behind home plate on a table, covered in rich, shining, red fabric, bordered in gold, for that year’s winners to take back to their school in triumph after the game. The crowd, after a few nips of the sacramental water of life from silver flasks on the St. Xavier side, and pint bottles in brown paper bags on the St. Agnes side, got quite vociferously involved in the game. Even a few fights were known to break out, now and again. But, with a crowd full of cops, firemen, city politicians, and clergy, the fights never lasted long or amounted to much of anything more than some mussed hair, a rug or two askew, a torn shirt or an occasional bloody-nose. After all, the day was for the boys, baseball and the greater glory of God (From, The Violent Season).

THE VIOLENT SEASON is an epic, expansive collection of heroic short stories centered on the gripping experiences of three young men and their families during the Vietnam War. The book presents a ‘coming-of-age’ narrative that begins in the lush river valleys of upstate New York and on the streets of New York City and provides an insightful perspective of youth and innocence plunged into the crucible of war.

As well, it transcends the “good guys, bad guys” portrayal of human conflict by presenting its readers with a depiction of good people, Americans and Vietnamese, caught up in unthinkably grim and difficult circumstances. THE VIOLENT SEASON celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and its ability to triumph over the horror and tragedy of war.

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Genre – Literary / Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

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