Meet Becky Van Vleet
Becky: Thank you, Linda, for inviting me to your blog. My website is all about telling our stories. I believe we all have stories to tell and they are transformational and powerful, revealing our roots, cultures, and family traditions. And I feel it’s especially important for baby boomers, like myself, to pass along stories from our parents, the Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw referred to them. The more we preserve stories from this generation, the more firsthand stories our younger people will have and be able to enjoy and learn from those who’ve gone before them. So the one story I really wanted to preserve and share with others is about my father’s experiences in WWII.
LM: You’ve also published three children’s books. How was writing adult fiction different? The same? Did the fact the story is historical make the process more challenging?
Becky: Honestly, adult fiction is not that different from children’s books. Both genres include settings,
LM: What research did you have to do for the story and was there a particularly intriguing bit?
Becky: My biggest and most important resource was a 1990 recording I made of my father sharing his experiences in WWII aboard his ship, the USS Denver. At the time, I wanted to preserve his firsthand account for our children, like a keepsake. But 30 years later, and I’m locked down in Covid, I set out to write a book, enjoying the treasure I had saved on two little cassettes. For other research, I read all the USS Denver deck logs, and I traveled to San Diego and Buffalo, NY where I could tour WWII ships. The most intriguing research was stepping foot on these ships, actually walking through the hatches, touching the hundreds of conduit lines that lined the entire interior, and seeing the racks the sailors slept upon with my own eyes. Those flimsy mattresses were only an inch thick!
LM: Tell us about your road to publication.
Becky: Elk Lake Publishing Inc had already published two of my three children’s picture books, so when I submitted a proposal for Unintended Hero, I already had a foot in the door, a true blessing. My grandson, age nine at the time, was visiting me when I got the email Elk Lake would publish this book. We went outside and we danced on our driveway! And yes, I think he was a little embarrassed. But he knew his Nana was very excited!
LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do?
LM: What is your advice to fledgling writers?
Becky: My main advice is to keep writing, and don’t give up when you receive rejections. Christ was rejected by his own people, but He never gave up. That’s His example for us to apply in our everyday lives and certainly to our writing endeavors.
LM: What is your next project?
Becky: My work in progress is a devotional book. And yes, this is my third genre—children’s picture books, an adult historical fiction, and now a devotion book. I’ve heard it said to be careful about genre hopping as it can affect your branding. But all three of these genres I’ve written in have been blessed so far, and I’m thankful God has been leading me.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Becky-Van-Vleet/e/B07WPFZ98X/
When the first bomb drops on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, Walter Troyan is a skinny seventeen-year-old California kid chock full of fear. But down deep he knows he must join the fight, so he drops out of high school and enlists.
Almost overnight, Walter is submerged into a brutal training regime and schedule. He’s homesick. Outmatched by all the other newbies. Knows he’ll never live up to his heroic brothers. And his soul shudders every time an officer shouts, “What are you made of!” Because Walter knows. But then? Hope. He performs well on an aptitude test which sends him to Gunner’s Mate School. Upon graduation, Walter is sent to the USS Denver, docked in Philadelphia. He makes friends, gains a shred of courage.
Then his ship enters the Pacific Theater and Walter enters the crucible of his life. His body, spirit, and soul are forced to fight against emotions and circumstances he’s never encountered, and he’s faced with choices that will bring life or death to men he’s come to love as brothers.
Don’t miss this epic tale—inspired by a true story—of a boy facing head on, the courage it takes to become a man.
Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3DsYssg