Thursday, February 26, 2015

Darrell Fleming, Author

Author Darrell Fleming grew up in Clintwood, Dickenson County, Virginia, USA. He graduated from Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky with majors in English, History and Political Science; The University of Virginia with a Masters of Education in Secondary School Administration. Fleming served in the US Army, stationed in Germany. After his military service, he was employed by the Fairfax County School District, Virginia, retiring in 1988.

His first book, Family, Friends and War Heroes: Reflections from World War II, was released in 2005. Fleming’s book is based upon his Dad’s diary written aboard a destroyer escort while serving in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.


Thank you for your military service.
What is the premise for 'Family, Friends and War Heroes..' ?
World War II, 1938-1945, was truly a world at war! Devastation spread from the serene green pastures of England and Ireland, to the industrial cities of Europe, to the majestic mountains of Austria and northern Italy, to the deserts of Africa, to the crowded cities of central and eastern Asia, to the beautiful, peaceful islands of the Pacific including “down under” Australia and New Zealand, to the entire western hemisphere with its vast resources and energy. All countries felt the impact and, if they were spared from the actual war machinery which killed an estimated sixty million people worldwide, they were most definitely affected indirectly through economic and social conditions beyond their control.

It seemed, even to the distant observer, that the world was either under fire, on fire or about to be set afire. Such were the dark, dim and dreary days of late 1943 when the Axis powers had marched, cruised and flown around the entire globe to wreak havoc unmercifully on the innocent as well as their targeted populations when this account begins to tell a story of how the war dramatically impacted our family’s life for at least two generations.

Please share your favorite passage from your Dad's diary...
Tuesday, June 6. We arrived in N. Y. at 11 today. Starboard had liberty.
A special note was inserted in the Diary at this point. It apparently was a note Dad had mailed to Mother and he entered it in the Diary as a reminder of their upcoming anniversary on Jun 23. It reads:

June 7, ‘44
This is to remind you of fourteen years back.
I am leaving tomorrow morning. So make the best out of life you can.
                                                          Loving yours,

What motivates you as a writer?
To preserve history in its truest form and to the best of my ability.

The aesthetics of Virginia certainly inspires your creativity. Describe your daily routine...
When I write, I establish a set schedule usually no more than four hours at a time, i. g., 8:00 am - noon and 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm. When inspired, as ideas are flowing, I continue writing until my inspirations wane. I write on my computer because of spell check, ease of corrections, and inclusion of ideas and deletions. I try to eliminate all distractions, such as not opening emails prior to beginning, no phone calls, no radio, no TV, and no door bells. I must have privacy in my office. My wife knows my schedule, and accepts it, and often quips that she feels like a widow when I’m hard at work finishing an idea, a paragraph, a chapter, or an ending. Therefore, when I take a break I make a real effort to treat her to lunch, dinner, and even a day or two off.

Also, I do not write every day. Sometimes I must get away from writing a day or two and come back refreshed. Then I read what I have written previously and often I have a new idea, word, phrase or even realize it’s too wordy and must be abbreviated to make it more effective.  We have no children at home or pets or they would have to be excluded from my office. I think all genres of writing require focus and consecration and, therefore, distractions must be eliminated as much as possible.

What author/writer has impacted your writing style/genre?
Of course, I’d like to claim David McCullough, Stephen E. Ambrose, or even James Bradley. I cannot. Instead, I believe writing is a very personal art form and people will come to know me by my writing. One of the highest compliments I’ve received from my books and short stories is, “Darrell, as I read your books I can envision you as a person.” This is to say I cannot write like someone else. I must write from my experiences, knowledge base, and my information. That’s what identifies me and my writings. However, I certainly read lots of writers in my genre because it provides me with ideas, styles, and forms to assist me confirming what and how I write.

What are you currently reading?
Carte Blanche 007 by Jeffery Deaver and just finished Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly.

Do you have advice for novice writers?
As a novice, connect with a local writing group that is presenting “How To” sessions on a regular basis. Seek advice from published authors and network with published authors. Attend writing seminars. Read, read, read in your genre and then start writing and don’t quite. Don’t expect to be perfect as you write and don’t attempt to put your final editing to every word, sentence, paragraph, or chapter as you write. Just get your ideas and thoughts down. Your editing should be limited to obvious misspelled words, word agreement, and sentence structure as you go. This happens as you read and reread your written work. Do your diligence to fact checking, make sure what you said in previous chapters agree with what you are saying in later chapters when referencing same ideas, situations, events, etc.  You should hire a qualified editor to put the final editing touches to your work. Be prepared to market your book. Carefully select an interesting title and present an attractive cover. Know your targeted audience because, in the end, there are only two things that sell your book: THE BOOK, as it catches the interests of readers, and YOU, as the seller/marketer.

Do you have advice for those seeking to enlist in the military?
Be absolutely committed to the enlistment and to the OATH you must take upon entering.

Enlist for the right reasons: loyalty to oath, to love ones at home, to fellow military personnel, and to country. In my opinion, it is the best education one can obtain and I have a post graduate degree from a major American university.

Enjoy the experience, even the “things” that are difficult and in which you might not excel.

Always be proud to serve and to have served your country and fellow citizens.

What are your thoughts on current world events?
I am a Christian and believe in Biblical prophecy. The U. S. is only the second nation in the history of nations to have been dedicated to God as a God fearing nation. The world has depended on U. S. leadership and strength for several decades. The U. S. is now a weakened nation morally, ethically, economically and militarily. There are enemies within and other ideologies and nations are rising in wrongful power. This bodes ill for the future of all peoples and nations.

Connect with Darrell…


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