Thank a Veteran for your Freedom on this Veteran's Day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm not a Veteran, but back in 1991, I was approached by then 2nd Lt. Dianah Kwiatkowski, and asked to write her memoirs about serving in the Persian Gulf War. The phone call came mid-afternoon one day while I was working on an educational book for young children.

"Whoa, wait a minute," I said. "I don't do biographies. I write for children." But Dianah persisted and so, without a clue as to what I was doing, I began the process of recording her story.

I learned that Dianah was a 47-year old wife, mother to five children and grandmother to four when she joined the Army Reserves. Three months later, having only worn her uniform once, she was deployed to the Persian Gulf War. Needless to say, the experience changed her life.

A few months into the process, Dianah called to tell me about another soldier, a woman in her troop that also had a story to tell. This story was a little different. It involved a custody battle that ensued as a result of the war; a battle that would change the way the military deals with single parents. Intrigued, after meeting Sgt. Sara Raye (not her real name), I began to write her story also.

For the next several years, I worked on both stories writing about similar experiences from different points of view. 2nd Lt. Dianah Kwiatkowski was Sgt. Sara Raye's officer.

And so, after many, many months of recording, compiling, writing, editing, and many more months trying to find a publisher, When Duty Called: Even Grandma Had to Go, and, Hidden Casualties: Battles on the Home Front, came out in paperback. Published by Silk Label, Inc a division of Royal Fireworks Press, both books came out at the same time. They can be seen at www.sandrawarren.com.

I'm not a Veteran but after writing about these two brave women, I felt like I served. It's difficult to listen to day-by-day accounts about experiences that were both fulfilling and frightening, bouts of loneliness and extreme camaraderie, acts of kindness and unspeakable terrorism, without feeling like you'd been there.

Saying, "yes," to writing these two memoirs pushed me out of my comfort zone, changed my life and made me a better writer. These memoirs taught me that I really enjoy telling someone else's story, something I had never considered writing before.

From these two brave female Persian Gulf War Veterans, I learned to respect all those that served and continue to serve our country so that our great nation can remain free.

Has your writing career been challenged in anyway? I'd love to hear from you.




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About Me

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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