"A Line through the Desert" is a Gen X story of love set among
the realities of the first Gulf War.
William Stroock does an
excellent job of evoking the feeling of being there in the
desert and of being adrift and unsure like every post-high
school person must feel regardless of time and place. The late
80s cultural references will be very familiar to anyone coming
of age during this time. We had a chance to ask Will some
questions about the book and his future plans.
1. Tell us about yourself: What do
you do? Where are you from?
I live in Brigdewater, NJ with my wife,
Jenica and two daughters Meriam and Lillianna. In addition to teaching
history at Raritan Valley Community College I write history articles for
various magazines. I have also been a high school substitute teacher and
a full time middle school teacher.
2. Tell us a little about your
inspiration in writing this book.
The idea for A Line through the Desert
had been rolling around my head for a while. I began writing in March of
2003 after I had finished reading Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. He just
flipped the on switch in my brain for some reason. It combined a good
love story, Gen X culture, and an under appreciated war all in one. I
came of age reading Tom Clancy novels so I understood the importance of
getting the technical details as right as possible. I interviewed a
couple dozen veterans of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment, the unit
in A Line through the Desert. Couldn't have done it without them.
3. Did you serve in the Gulf War?
Nope. I was 17 when the war broke out.
4. The love story between Jake and
Patricia was so real. Did you pull from your own experiences in
developing their story?
You bet I did. The block I describe in A
Line through the Desert is the block I grew up on. All the characters
are real (I had to cut one out for reasons of space, sorry Antoine),
especially Patricia, and no, I never snuck into her bedroom, though
myself and the Devon character did break into her house when she was a
having a slumber party. There was a little fling but that never amounted
to much. Basically I had been chasing this girl since I was 12 but she
never really cared. I am still in touch with everyone.
5. We love all the late 80s music
and movie references in the book! What were your 80s favorites in both
movies and music?
Well, metal all the way, lots of
Zeppelin and Def Leppard, Guns n Roses, Metallica, I think Somewhere in
Time is Iron Maiden's best album. Later on classic rock, all the music
Sgt. Bloom likes in A Line through the Desert. As far as movies, we all
remember the way HBO and Cinemax ran movies over an over. My favorites
were Aliens, the Lethal Weapon series, Die Hard,
Robin Hood, Stand by Me. God I loved Bachelor
Party. I crammed "A Line Through the Desert" with as many 80's pop
culture references as I could. I wanted it to drip Gen X. I wanted
readers to open it up and get punched in the face by 1988.
6. What are you working on now? Are
there more books on the way?
I am writing numerous magazine articles.
I am also 35,000 words into my next novel, about a Captain in Burma in
World War Two. I am also putting a short story compilation together
about an alien invasion of earth-think Tom Clancy meets HG Wells; like
Independence Day, only more so.
> Purchase A Line through the Desert: The First Gulf War
> Visit William