THE JONAH WYNCHESTER SERIES
"Absorbing ... powerful ... persuasive"
A "Prose Epic" ... The Story Behind The Story
The outline and notes for the Jonah Wynchester Series were first put down on paper in 1966. It was in February of that year when my ship, a 327-foot LST, departed the Chesapeake, transited the Panama Canal, and steamed across the vastness of the Pacific to Vietnam.
USS Caddo Parish (LST-515) in the Panama Canal, February 1966.
Note LCU on main deck with LCM nested inside. Photo Copyright RD Wall
During the 12 months aboard that ship, from snow in Virginia, to heat in the Mekong, punctuated by the fatigue of operations and a typhoon in the South China Sea, my observations and experiences were recorded in a journal.
With a book in mind, those 300-odd pages were consci-entiously filed away, until years later during the process of moving from one location to another, they were inexplicably lost.
In November of 2013 I began writing the book from memory, and soon realized that the dividing line between fact and historic fiction could be very thin. Over the years my memories had morphed into a type of fictional chimera, and what was once clear had become opaque; it was the perfect situation for a novel.
As the writing progressed, it became evident this was going to be a large book, well over 1,000 pages ... and it was then decided to structure the book in the form of a Prose Epic: a story stretching over an extended period of time with a large cast of diverse, interrelated characters. As a result the story is published in a series form with the volumes connected in a flowing, uninterrupted narrative.
I'm often asked if all the characters, ships and situations described are fact or fiction. The answer: the story is entirely apocryphal. And don't bother listening to my old shipmates if they try to tell you otherwise; they're just illusory from the passing of time and the overabundance of strong drink.