Sam Wesst likes his books to be short reads, action packed, filled with adventure.
Wesst, with a speaking voice like Johnny Cash and the persona of a gentle cowboy, recently celebrated the nationwide release of his new fiction novel “Wounded Warriors.”
The story centers on an elite special force of Marines stripped of their identify and sent into enemy territories in Vietnam. Willing to die for their country, they never dreamed of the betrayal that awaited them back home. They never dreamed they would be hunted because of their knowledge of the ugly truth.
“It’s action all the way,” Wesst said.
Jack Monroe is the main character… a big guy, martial artist and special weapons technician, recruited for the special force.
“He’s one tough SOB,” Wesst said.
Although this is his first novel, Wesst has been writing for about 20 years. He already has penned 10 manuscripts. “Wounded Warriors” is the first book in a trilogy with the focus on Vietnam War veterans and their adventures after the war circa 1975.
The name never left him
Wesst, who asked not to be identified by his real name, takes his pen name (Wesst) from a Vietnam War veteran, a trucker and real-life cowboy and rodeo rider, he met out west while on the road years ago.
“The name never left me,” he said.
A resident of Oak Grove for 30 years, Wesst grew up in Coon Rapids. He never finished high school, but earned a GED and enrolled in trade school to become an electrician. He later attended Cardinal Stritch University in Eden Prairie, where he earned a certificate in management.
For his job, Wesst worked on classified and unclassified government projects, including U.S. government advanced weapons testing programs. He worked and traveled for years in the engineering and construction fields, where he met many interesting people, people who inspired his writings.
Now semi-retired, he is employed part time as a consultant for a Wisconsin engineering firm.
‘Amazing things’ can happen
Wesst particularly enjoys writing because “you can make amazing things happen, which you won’t be able to do in real life.”
In the process, Wesst has learned much about taking the book from manuscript to publishing. With the help of publisher Tate Publishing and Enterprises out of Oklahoma, he worked on the rewrite for about a year, paring the book down from what was originally 500 pages to 237.
His job continues to take him on the road. After he’s done with a day’s work, he retires to his hotel room where he writes.
“It gives me peace of mind,” he said.
Wesst said he’s grateful to his wife of 31 years, Holly Hanson, for encouraging him to publish his books.
In addition to writing, Wesst sings and plays guitar and writes music.
Wesst has received positive feedback on his new book from readers. He hopes it will sell well. Partial proceeds will go to the Wounded Warriors Foundation.
Beyond hopes for a big seller, Wesst would like to see the book made into a screenplay and pitched to Hollywood for a future movie.
“That would be good,” he said.
To see a 15-second trailer of “Wounded Warriors,” look up Sam Wesst on Facebook.
“Wounded Warriors” by Sam Wesst is available in bookstores nationwide. Soft cover, about $12. Tate Publishing and Enterprises. Also available from www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore and www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.
Elyse Kaner is at firstname.lastname@example.org