Carrie has written a powerful book, The Road Back From Broken, about a deployment’s impact on a military family. I had the pleasure to interview her.
YC: Tell us about your book.
CM: The Road Back From Broken tells the story of a military family in turmoil after the husband/father, Fitz, is wounded in an IED attack that took the life of another soldier on his unit. Road examines not only the soldier’s psychological recovery, but the impact of his trauma on his wife and son, and shows them struggling as a family to heal themselves.
YC: This is an emotional topic, jarring to many, it’s a risk to write to such a tight-knit community. What experiences/qualifications do you have that you feel helps you connect and identify with your readers?
CM: I didn’t actually write Road solely for a military audience. I dedicated the book to my two grandfathers, one of whom was a Marine who spent four years in combat in the Pacific during World War II, and the other who was a Jewish refugee who joined the Army intelligence branch after escaping Nazi Germany and spent two years interrogating German POWs. Their experiences during WWII affected them deeply, and affected their relationships with their wives and children (my parents) for the rest of their lives. Though neither of my parents served in the military, their childhoods were very much influenced by what happened to their fathers in WWII.
Road shows how a single person’s experience at war has a rippling effect on their friends and family. And so far, most of my readers have not been affiliated with the military themselves, though many have parents, siblings, uncles, and friends who did serve. It’s my hope that my readers, both civilian and military, will get something out of the journey of Fitz and his family.
My husband is an Army infantry veteran who served in the late 1980s, and so his experience and his stories about the men he served with—many of whom were Vietnam veterans—definitely informed my approach to Fitz’s story. Because Fitz is an Army master sergeant, it was interesting to hear my husband, a former Army drill corporal, talk about some of the crusty E-8s and E-9s he met at Fort Benning and during his sixteen-month tour in South Korea.
YC: Tell us more about you and your writing process. How did you go from having an idea for a book to writing one?
CM: The story that became Road started percolating in my mind about five years ago, and really started taking shape in the summer of 2013. What really crystallized the story, and the theme of war’s transgenerational impacts, was a trip I took to Ireland and Northern Ireland in late November 2013. Visiting the Somme Heritage Centre in Newtownards, County Down and the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum on Waring Street in Belfast was ultimately what lit the fuse for me. I sat down and began to write Road on New Year’s Day 2014, just six weeks after returning from Ireland.
YC: Any projects on deck? What’s next for you?
CM: I’m going to hit NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) hard in November with the hope of completing a first draft of What Fury Left Behind, the sequel to Road. I’ve got a couple of other novel projects in the hopper, all of which deal with military families and/or military folk coping with life during the ongoing Global War on Terror. With the World War I centenary upon us, I may write some short stories on the Great War.
YC: Anything else you’d like us to know?
CM: Absolutely. The Road Back From Broken won a Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association and is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. Readers can find me on Twitter, where I tweet as @C_T_Morgan.