Short as the Watch That Ends the Night

My father introduced me to history. For him, it wasn’t a collection of boring dates. History was people.

He enthralled me with fascinating tales of hillbilly ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War in lesser known battles like Kings Mountain. He told me stories of Winston Churchill and the Battle of Britain, when England stood firm against the Nazis after they conquered most of Europe.

With that upbringing, of course the stories I write now are rooted in time and place. The space that spoke to me and that I have put into my novels is the gray area that begins with the end of World War II. A schizophrenic time period—not historical fiction, but not contemporary either in its first decades.

I examine the times, asking why my country and the world changed so drastically during that time.

The Cold War with the Soviet Union descended almost immediately following World War II, when the United States accepted the mantle of world leadership.

Americans chose to enter the Vietnamese conflict, and it has haunted us ever since. Eventually, the world saw the miraculous end of the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust.

Spiritual changes were no less profound. The age of city-wide revivals passed into today’s age of the nones, the ones with no religious affiliation.

What did we do to the times and what did the times do to us? That’s what the characters in my novels seek to find out.

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