World War II has been on my mind and in my fiction a lot of late.
I’m presently finishing up the last book in The Cairo Deception, my WWII-era suspense/drama series. The most recent installment in The Rockland Horror, my historical horror series, takes place in 1945. The plot of The Rockland Horror 4 is intimately bound to the events of World War II.
To be clear about the title of this post: no, I do not have firsthand childhood memories of World War II. I was born in 1968, twenty-three years after the war ended. By the time I became aware of names like Pearl Harbor, Hitler, and Hirohito, the war was at least thirty years in the past.
My grandfather, however (pictured above) was a WWII combat veteran. He served in the Atlantic in the US Navy. His experiences were roughly similar to those depicted in the 2020 Tom Hanks movie, Greyhound.
From a very young age, I was captivated by history. And what better way to learn about history, than by listening to the stories of a relative who actually took part in it?
My grandfather regaled me with his accounts of Egypt, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Syria. He also told me stories about fighting the German U-boats and Messerschmidts.
My grandfather was, in many ways, my first “action hero”. His experiences, though, were very common among men of that generation, who have been called (for good reason) the Greatest Generation.
I don’t remember a thing about World War II. But some of my fondest childhood memories involve listening, with rapt attention, while my grandfather told me about it. He has been gone for decades now, but I still miss him, and I miss his stories. He gave me an enduring interest in World War II, and it isn’t surprising that the war should show up in some of my stories.