Friday, November 13, 2015

Guest Post: J. Russell Smith, Author of Longworth

Today I have a wonderful guest post by J. Russell Smith, author of Longworth, to share with all of you! In it Mr. Smith gives us his inspiration for writing Longworth, a novel about one man's transformative journey during the Vietnam War. Please enjoy and be sure to read on for more about Longworth and Mr. Smith. There is also a tour-wide giveaway so be sure to check out that information below as well!

I have been asked what inspired me to write Longworth. While there was more than one reason, I would suggest that the primary reason was my desire to try to understand the Vietnam War and our involvement in it. That, along with trying to comprehend just what was happening during that vibrant, exciting, transitional period that we refer to as the 60s, drove me to examine other conflicts and historical periods in US history. What was happening during the 1960s that led to our involvement in Vietnam and how the reaction of the commonweal was so stratified? Why was that conflict so different from other major conflicts in which we, as a nation, had fought? How did Carson’s generation differ so dramatically from that of his parents? How, exactly, did we arrive at this transitional period in our history? What were some of the causes and why did it tear families apart?

As I began to explore the reasons for and the ramifications of our involvement in Vietnam, it occurred to me, in a subliminal fashion I suppose, that I simply did not possess the knowledge necessary to understand not just our involvement in Vietnam, but how we engage in all sorts of martial conflicts. In trying to grasp how I fit into the big picture, I began to study and learn as much as I could about the Vietnam War. That led, over the course of many years, to my insatiable thirst for knowledge in general, but also a quest to learn as much history as I possibly could. Because the war in Vietnam was such a seminal event and because of the impact it had on me, I had to know why. As I began searching, researching, and exploring how we arrived at that point in history, it became clear to me that beyond my quest for general knowledge, I needed to find an outlet to express my feelings.

It was not clear to me ab initio that I should put pen to paper. That really did not unfold until I found myself enduring sleepless nights, experiencing all sorts of bizarre nightmares. It was at that point that I quite reflexively decided to sit down and express my thoughts in the form of a novel. The entirety of this novel was written between the hours of midnight and 6:00am. That seemed to me the best time to coalesce my thoughts and to try to explain, as much for me as for the reader, just what it was I had to say, especially since I could not sleep. And, yes, there was a great deal of my own experiences that went into the body of this work. I am not certain how anyone could write such a personal tome and not refer to one’s own experiences.

I am unaware of how others approach a work such as this, though I have, over the years, heard various versions of how one approaches writing of any sort. Margaret Mitchell, in writing Gone with the Wind, for example, wrote the ending first, then filled things in as she felt the need. Others write an outline first then go from there. In my case, for better or worse, I just sit down and the words flow. I suspect all of my future endeavors will be in that format. I also suspect that the urgency to express myself around a particular event or era has greatly diminished since the completion of Longworth. My future writings, though they may be biting or political, will be written with less urgency and, hopefully, during the daylight hours.
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: October 7th, 2013
Pages: 386

Carson Longworth seem to have been born under a lucky star. Handsome and athletic, with a certain mystique that both intrigues the people around him and keeps them at a distance, he drifts through his high school years, focusing on music, dancing, dating, and having a good time. But while he is pursuing these easy pleasures, the world around him is changing. Carson leaves the warm cocoon of his family to go to college where he gets his initial dose of reality along with his first realizations that his peripatetic childhood has left him unprepared to relate deeply to the people around him. As the Vietnam begins to escalate, Carson is drafted into the Army, but instead decides to join the Marines. His experiences in the Marine Corps will begin to provide both the discipline he so desperately needs and the framework of domestic and international politics against which he will begin to rebel, defining and shaping his character in ways he could not have imagined.

While traveling form one duty station to another before leaving for Vietnam, Carson meets Kathy Wilkerson, a brilliant and beautiful young woman whose devotion provides the support and grounding that Carson needs in order to find his version of the truth. As a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Carson will witness atrocities and absurdities that will reveal who he truly is: a formidably intelligent and ethical man with a need to understand the world and to stand up for what is right. Longworth is a unique coming-of-age story with a strong educational component, as well as a tender and inspiring love story. Broad in scope and beautifully detailed, Longworth is a deeply satisfying novel with thought-provoking themes that continue to resonate long after the last page is turned.

Buy the Book


About the Author


J. Russell Smith has spent a lifetime fighting for a sense of moral justice, on both a personal level and on a broader stage. His experiences in the Vietnam War and his graduate studies in intellectual history and political theory allow him to bring both an intimate perspective and a scholar’s analysis to the writing of Longworth. Smith is currently at work on his next two novels.
You can find out more about Mr. Smith on his website, and connect with him on both Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway Time!!!

There is a tour-wide giveaway of the following:

1st Prize: Kindle Fire 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of Longworth

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of Longworth

3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of Longworth
Go HERE to enter the giveaway.
Good Luck!!


  1. Hi Colleen,
    On behalf of Rusty Smith and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting Rusty on A Literary Vacation and for the wonderful introduction. If anyone has any questions and/or comments they would like to Rusty answer, please leave them in the comment box. Rusty will be by later in the day to respond.
    Rusty is having a giveaway during his tour. 1st prize: Kindle Fire HD 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of Longworth; 2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of Longworth; 3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of Longworth. Click here to enter:
    Please join Rusty on Monday, November 16, 2015 on MorgEn Bailey's Writing Blog for her interview with Rusty.
    We invite your readers to follow Rusty’s 10 day virtual book blog tour. Direct links for each day of the tour can be found on Rusty’s Facebook page
    Best regards, Della

  2. I also want to thank you, Colleen, for hosting this blog. It is very much appreciated.

    Rusty Smith