Why I Wrote MISSING?

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By Suzanne Williams

I have been a nonfiction writer for years, writing how-to articles and devotionals, so when the idea to write a fiction story came into my head, no one was more surprised than I was. After all, what did I know about writing fiction? This question became even truer the longer I pursued it. However, I was determined. I had a story in my head, and I would put it down on the page.

We hear the phrase “missing in action” all the time and never stop to consider what it means. From the Vietnam War alone there are 2,539 listed as missing. Add to this figure those from both World Wars, the Korean War, and reaching back into history the American Civil War and the figure becomes staggering. Tens of thousands of men left and never returned.

During the American Civil War, the problem was often lack of identification. There weren’t any dog tags. If you didn’t have your name pinned to you, then you were buried on the spot, unmarked. There were also the horrible prison camps. Here, prisoners were left to take care of themselves. In the Confederate South, this meant no food, no housing, and no medical care. Men died from sheer neglect to be buried in mass graves.

Yet following that war one lady, whose name most Americans recognize, Clara Barton formed an organization dedicated to locating the remains of missing soldiers. This organization fielded thousands of letters from family and friends and posted articles with lists of names in newspapers all across the country in the hope that someone might know what happened to a name listed there. This is what sparked in me my initial idea to write.

MISSING contains three stories. “Civil War” is the second story in the book and the first story I wrote. From it, I went on to write the other two stories, “Vietnam War” and “World War II.” I quickly saw that what applied in one war, applied in all the others. Along the way, I did extensive study into each war, learning about everything from gear to locations to gravesites. I watched hours of movies and read countless articles and books to get a grip on the mindset of the soldier and the families.

I admit most of the time it was heartbreaking, yet it founded in me great respect and determination to “get it right.” For what I strived to depict involved the lives of real people. It was their pain and suffering. It’s hard to write about war. War is tragic and awful on every level. Yet those who have been there deserve to have their stories told. Those who lost loved ones deserve to have their stories told. And though my stories are fiction, my greatest compliment comes when someone who’s been there reads them as says, “Yes, that’s how it was.” We as people must always honor the amazing sacrifice of so many who unselfishly gave their greatest gift–their lives.

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother. She writes a monthly column on digital photography for the Steve’s Digicams website. She is an author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She also works in graphic design and is a professional proofreader.

Author’s Blog: http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

Amazon site for the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008DFT1VS or http://www.amazon.com/Missing-The-Sanders-Saga-Volume/dp/1475294913/

Create Space site for the book: https://www.createspace.com/3867174

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSYgV1vWLYY

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