buy the ebookAmazonAppleB&NGoogleKoboOverDriveSonyshare Gone South by Robert R. McCammon Book details Making of... A moment of madness forces a Vietnam veteran to run for his life Two decades after he finished serving his country in the jungles of Southeast Asia, Dan Lambert still pays the price. As he hustles for construction work in the heat of a brutal Louisiana summer, Dan tries to ignore the pounding in his head—a constant reminder of the Agent Orange–caused leukemia which will soon end his life. And now the bank wants to repossess his truck. His attempt to reason with the loan officer does not get him far. Dan loses himself in rage, and for a moment is back in the jungle again. When he comes out of his bloodlust, he has shot the banker through the chest. There is nothing to do but run. On his trail are two peculiar bounty hunters: a onetime Siamese twin and a heavyset Elvis impersonator. To save his own life, Dan is going to have to remember why it was worth living in the first place. Dear Reader, One of the questions a writer hears a lot is, "How did you come up with that idea?" Many people seem to believe you can find the point in time where an idea for a book was born, but the truth of it is that most times you've been gathering bits and pieces of events and characters and slowly circling in on the idea that will bring them all to life. So it was with Gone South. I think the idea began five or six years ago, the first time I saw a man standing on the street, holding a sign that said "Will Work For Food." Sometime after that, I read a magazine account of Vietnam veterans who had been contaminated by Agent Orange and were dying. I walked into a bookstore in New Orleans maybe a year after that and found a fascinating and very strange tome about freaks that included an old sepia-tone photo of a man with three arms. Also on that same trip, I took a tour of the swamp---not for any particular book, but for my own education. Later on, I watched an interesting TV show on PBS about Elvis Presley impersonators. One night on CNN, I saw a report on a Vietnam veteran who'd gone berserk and shot a couple of people, and the newscaster said that the man had been out of work for several months. And this is how it happens. Gone South was starting to come together. Gone South is on one level the story of a man on the run from a tragic mistake, but on another level it's the story of a man moving toward something that he doesn't fully understand. Its basic premise is that you can start out in one direction, and life and circumstances take you another way entirely, and sometimes all you can do is hang on for the ride. Gone South is about the pressures and uncertainties of life, the unfairness of it all; but it's also about toughness, and faith, and finding a way through the thorniest maze to find some kind of answer. All the main characters in Gone South are searchers. They are moving into the unknown, on dark and twisty roads that gradually converge. They are linked by longing, by the hope that somewhere ahead lies a sanctuary from the rough wilderness of life. But, as in every journey, there's a price to be paid. The world has become a hard place. There are difficult choices to be made, and things happen to people that knock them off the tracks. But Gone South is about fighting the good fight, no matter how tough the adversity. It's about not giving up in the face of crippling problems, of finding a way from darkness into light against all odds. So that's where Gone South has come from. The man with the "Work For Food" sign, the dying Vietnam veterans who followed orders because they were good soldiers, the freak with three arms, the sultry Louisiana swamp, the Elvis Presley impersonators, the veteran who cracked under pressure and picked up a gun; all those are the foundation upon which Gone South is built.It's a strange trip, into a strange place. The dark and twisty roads are waiting, and I hope you enjoy the ride. Robert R. McCammon Copyright © 1992 by Robert R. McCammon. This letter originally appeared in the Pocket Books paperback edition of Boy's Life, first printed in May 1992. Reprinted with permission of the author.