John H. Brown
Fifty years ago, I was drafted into the US Army and a few months later, I was provided an all-expense paid tour of Southeast Asia. I served a year in Vietnam (1969-70) as an Army enlisted man in the Americal Division. When I returned from Vietnam and was admitted to graduate school at West Virginia University, I decided that I would write about my experiences in the war. I actually wrote a couple of chapters of a novel and sent them off to a few literary agents - all of whom uniformly replied that no one would pay to read and be reminded of that awful war.
But I vowed to myself that at some point in my life, I would write about my time in Vietnam. It would be on my bucket list. But of course, life got in the way and I found it necessary to find a real day job to support my young family. And so the book was put on the back burner. A couple of years back when I decided to retire from my public relations business – Brown Communications - my wife and a few friends encouraged me write my story. And so I began a long and, at times, difficult journey to compose a novel about Vietnam, and how a young soldier was affected by the experience.
I had never harbored any illusions that my novel would be commercially published, but I knew that finishing the project would be personally rewarding. After all, it was number one on my bucket list of things to do.
John Brown was the owner of Brown Communications (now owned by his son Bryan Brown). He has also been a newspaper wine and food columnist for more than 30 years. He continues to write for the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail and for The State Journal - a statewide business weekly. He is a graduate of West Virginia University and lives in Charleston, West Virginia.