LSBBT PROMO AUTHOR INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Tarnished Brass by Max L. Knight (Historical Fiction)

 Genre: Historical Fiction / Novella / War 
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: September 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 114

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The war in El Salvador as seen through the eyes of a U.S. Army officer, a guerrilla leader, and a refugee turned gang member.

Patrick Michael Moynihan finds himself returning to the small Central American country where, as a young impressionistic junior officer, he was thrust into the middle of a brutal civil war. Miguel Alejandro Xenias, once a member of the ruling elite in El Salvador, recalls his change of heart, advancement within the guerrilla movement, and his new-found hope for the country now that the FMLN is in power. Antonio Cruz, seeking a new life in America, finds only a different kind of hatred and conflict, joins the street gang MS-13, and returns home bringing with him a new kind of warfare. These perspectives spotlight an ongoing struggle in El Salvador that continues to impact the immigration crisis on our southern border and the spread of gang violence throughout the United States.

More than just a history of the war in El Salvador, a conflict that ended almost thirty years ago, Tarnished Brass gives voice to those who fought and those who only wanted to escape the violence.

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Interview with Max L. Knight

Why did you choose to write Tarnished Brass?
Again and again, we hear the faint echoes of the past. The immigration crisis on our southern border and the rise of the violent street gang MS-13 have their origins in El Salvador’s civil war.  And, since I write under the mantra “Life is History. Our Past is Prologue,” I was encouraged by colleagues to put my experiences during and after the conflict into a story that might shed light on the legacies of U.S. economic, political, and military involvement in that country.

What is the significance of the book’s title?
In military parlance, “Brass” denotes senior military leadership. “Tarnished” implies actions taken by those leaders that sullied, stained, or disgraced their reputation. During the war countless innocent civilians were killed or went missing, and targeted assassinations were carried out by Death Squads on the orders of senior officers in the El Salvador Armed Forces. In the American military, certain officers were involved in clandestine support to the Nicaraguan rebels that resulted in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Why was it necessary to add a Glossary to the book?
Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces will be familiar with the jargon, acronyms, and weapons systems that are mentioned throughout the story. However, for those readers who have never served in the military, the terminology, abbreviations, and weaponry are probably foreign to them, and a ready reference guide should prove helpful.

What character in your book is most like you?
Like me, Patrick Michael Moynihan was assigned to USSOUTHCOM, with special duty in El Salvador during the war, and finds himself once again working with the American Embassy some thirty years later. His memories and actions are similar to my own thoughts and experience. 

Why did you give voice to perspectives other than your own?
Each of us identifies with our own reality, and that is particularly true of war. However, what we know or believe to be true is based on what we saw or experienced and may not take into consideration every facet or nuance that might put a different spin or context to the way we think about something.  History, in my view, can only be understood and judged by looking at the whole picture, so I wanted to include the guerrilla faction perspective as well as that of refugees fleeing the violence.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A flood of memories washed over me, to include the loss of a very close friend during the conflict. I think anyone who has ever been involved in a war, any war, looks back on that experience and asks what it all meant. What was actually accomplished, and was it worth the cost in human lives? My thoughts on those questions are in the Afterword and In Memoriam sections at the end of the book.

Why did you choose a Short Fiction format to tell your story?
As a writer I continue to try different formats. Prior to this book I had written a memoir and a novel. With Tarnished Brass I chose to write a novella to try something different, but also because I’ve heard or read comments from individuals stating that they simply can’t find the time to read lengthy books. The novella’s concise nature allows readers to complete a story in as little as one or two sittings, but it still permits the writer to explore detailed or complicated subject matter with more fully developed characters and plot than would a short story.

Max Knight was born in Panama and grew up in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in English. A Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and served twenty-four years in the Air Defense Artillery retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In addition to assignments within his basic branch, Max also specialized as a Foreign Area Officer in both the European Theatre of Operations (Germany and Greece) and within USSOUTHCOM (Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador). He received the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service in El Salvador during that country’s civil war. Max earned his master’s degree in government from Campbell University, and retired from the Army in 1997. Upon retirement Max was hired by RCI Technologies in San Antonio and became its Director of Internal Operations. He also was the first volunteer docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department. However, following the tragic events of 9/11, he became an Independent Contractor and spent the next ten years as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America before cancer forced him to quit. Max has since published a memoir, Silver Taps, and a novel of westward expansion, Palo Duro. He resides in San Antonio with his wife, Janet “Gray.” They have three surviving children; Lisa, Brian, and Sean, and three grandchildren; Tony, Nicholas, and Cecilia Marie.


One Winner: Signed copy of Tarnished Brass + $25 Amazon Gift CardOCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 8, 2019
(U.S. Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck!

Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author! It was a pleasure hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!


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