Today I would like to introduce American Civil War author Don Kean.
Hello Don, please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Don Kean. I was a practicing General Dentist for 25 very long years. Many like to think that I retired from the profession, but in actuality I got fed up and quit. The story behind that chapter of my life could be a future book in and of itself. I currently work in retail management. I love to fish and I also enjoy automobile racing and University of Kentucky sports.
How did you begin writing?
I have always liked to write, but I never considered it seriously until a few years ago. In 2008 I was remarried and my new bride and I wished to spend a week at my favorite place in the entire world, Kentucky Lake in far Western Kentucky. I am admittedly a very overzealous fisherman, but I did manage to break from it often enough for my wife and I to do some sightseeing in The Land Between The Lakes. In our travels we happened upon Fort Donelson Military Park in Tennessee. It was there that I was forever stirred deeply in soul. While always being interested in military history throughout my life, I had never delved deeply into the study of The American Civil War. That would abruptly change as I realized that the bloodiest war in the history of mankind was fought in this country and in my home state. For he next two years I read everything I could get my hands on about the conflict. I was astounded at the caliber of individuals who participated in that war. The duty and conviction of so many who served on both sides of the conflict is in my opinion unmatched in depth. I grew to admire so many for their dedication and unmatched courage.
What inspires you to write?
That fateful sightseeing journey led me to write and self publish my first book; Great Men??? At The Worst Time. It is a brief introductory read about several individuals who served in the Union and the Confederacy. While I made many boo boos in the process of writing and publishing that book I learned a whole lot, I still feel that the book has some excellent information for the reader not very familiar with The American Civil War. It is a good starter book for readers to get acquainted with these incredible individuals.
What book are you promoting right now? What is it about?
My latest release: “I Didn’t Sign Up For This” is a Historical Fiction set during The American Civil War . It is the story of a very well rounded young man of faith from Western Kentucky, (what is now the Land Between The lakes area), who logically yet naively joins the Confederate army at the Civil Wars outbreak. Joshua David Sims is the main character of the story. The book’s beginnings tell of his upbringing, his faith, and his love for his culture and homeland. Like so many young people he has rather utopian ideals about life. The war changes all that. He is soon challenged terribly to doubt his faith and even himself after doing what he had to to survive the war. He returns home very reluctantly knowing that he is a changed man. Once there he begins to have recurrent nightmares about being stuck in battle forever and being haunted by those he killed and wounded. He suffers terrible self loathing and cannot find forgiveness for himself. In addition, certain “triggers” lead him into terrifying flashbacks from his war days. As his sanity and faith in God are tested, he is all the time being guarded by mysterious angelic beings. He is also rescued by the persistent love and romantic overtures of a beautiful and strong woman of faith. It is a love that he stubbornly refuses and feels he is not worthy of. But no amount of stubborn refusal can deter God’s plans nor the love of an even more stubborn woman.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
While Joshua is a fictional character in this story, the geography of the region, the cultural backdrop, and the war history are quite accurate chronologically throughout the narrative. The love story is a very pure 19th century style romance. There is also a spiritual mystery that slowly unravels throughout the narrative. This is not a book only of war. In fact the book really has five main parts. First: the background and cultural setting for the story, Second: The war and its travails. Third: The struggle of Joshua’s returning home from war and his struggle with a strange P.T.S.D. like illness. Fourth: The love of a wonderful woman and its nurturing affect on a very downcast soul. Fifth: and ultimately, the unconditional love of God for the fallen that he loves. It is a story of tragedy and triumph and of love and hope and blessing.
What is your favourite scene in your book?
I have a few scenes that I really hung on while writing the book. But the scene where Joshua awakens at night at a Civil War barn hospital after the Battle of Shiloh may be the most riveting. In the wee hours of the morning once the wounded’s Morphine wears off, he recounts the chorus of the sounds of the suffering. He likens it to what hell might be like. A place of only suffering, great fear, and no hope.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
I would hope readers would see that this is just a story about life. It is about youthful choices that may yield very traumatic and unintended consequences. It is ultimately a story of Love, Deliverance and Redemption.
Thank you Don for being here today and sharing your love of the American Civil War with us.
I also did a fun character interview with the protagonist of I Didn’t Sign Up For This, which you can read here.
Places you can find Dr. Don Kean:
Author Page: authorpage.co/donckean