That’s the exact time last Thursday when I hit the Send button for the final edit of Loved Honor More to wing its electronic way to the publisher.
In case life has gotten away from you and you’d like a refresher, LHM is the fifth and final book in my Vietnam veterans mystery series.
The plot runs something like this:
If the first casualty of war is truth, the last is hope. Soldiers die even on the last day of a war. For Elizabeth Pepperhawk, one of those soldiers is her lover, Darby Baxter, a West Point graduate who loved honor more than life. Reeling from the emotional fallout created by the disastrous US withdrawal from Saigon, three Vietnam veterans are certain of one thing: people are lying about the Vietnamese infant Darby saddled them with. Whose child is it? Whose honor is at stake? Has Vietnam finally invaded Pepper’s North Carolina homestead?
This book was the most fun of the five to write, which is odd, considering that the time frame—the weeks immediately following the fall of Saigon—were some of the toughest I remember. The sense of having lost the war alternated, sometimes momentarily, with a relief that it was finally over, and an all-consuming anger that we had abandoned individuals who had worked with us and for us for the better part of two decades.
At least, unlike Pepper, I wasn’t saddled with personal grief and infant care.
What made this book fun was that all constraints were off. I could do anything that I wanted to my characters because I didn’t have to hold something back for the next book. At one point my husband asked, “Is the ending going to be like Hamlet?” I assured him that enough characters likely would be left standing to tidy up loose ends without intercession by a Norwegian crown prince.
Was it hard to say good-bye to the characters? Not really. I choked up at a couple of lines of dialog towards the end, but otherwise I’m happy to get on with my life without them. They seem to feel the same way about me.
Nothing official yet, but I suspect the fall of this year. November would be nice as it would tie in to Remembrance Day.
And now, onward, upward, and here’s to brand new characters.
Quote for the week:
Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.
~General William Westmoreland, Time magazine, Apr. 5, 1982