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Character Interview | Meet Sinclair from Winds of Discontent #historicalfiction #bookish #giveaway
Today on Book Heaven, we’re so thrilled to have secured an exclusive interview with the main character from Don Meyer’s award-winning novel Winds of Discontent, Sinclair Langdon.
Sinclair Langdon, in an act of youthful rebellion against his American mother and British father, arrives in Haiphong Harbour post war 1945. He meets a Frenchman, who recruits him for a delivery, a drunken British newspaper reporter, who offers him a job as an investigative reporter and finally, Yvonne, an exotic beauty of French Vietnamese mix he begins a forbidden love affair with.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To make it on my own and spend the rest of my life with Yvonne.
What is your greatest fear?
Never seeing Yvonne again. And dying in this god-forsaken war.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Insecurity. Will I see Yvonne again? Will I make it as a reporter? Will I die helping Frenchy?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance. Why do these French officers believe they are better than the natives they are ruling.
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother. She married a British diplomat who believes he is above everybody, but she makes sure he knows his place, especially with her.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I have none. I live in a seedy hotel and barely cover my expenses. I survive day-to-day.
What is your current state of mind?
Good. I do have work which pays well, and I am hopelessly in love with Yvonne.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Honesty. No one I encounter has it. Maybe Frenchy, who has always been up front.
On what occasion do you lie?
Mostly when I need to find out information, I tend to stretch the truth. And to survive the war.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Too skinny. I wish I was stronger, more muscular, burly like Frenchy.
Which living person do you most despise?
Lieutenant Claude Blanchet. Not only is he arrogant, but cruel, mean spirited.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I question everything.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
When I was with Yvonne.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Social graces. This life has made me hard and distrusting, cold.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What I wanted in life.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming a reporter.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Who knows. Who cares. Next question.
Where would you most like to live?
Paris with Yvonne.
What is your most treasured possession?
The Colt .32 Auto given me on my first run.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
What is your favorite occupation?
I’d have to say reporter.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
I have none.
Who is your hero of fiction?
What? No one.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mom and dad. Frenchy and Edward.
What are your favorite names?
What is it that you most dislike?
All these questions. Continue.
What is your greatest regret?
Letting Yvonne go.
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
Motto? Stay alive. That is my motto. Be honest with me. I don’t know.
Thank you, Sinclair, for the fascinating interview. Readers, scroll down to read all about Sinclair and adventures.
Title: Winds of Discontent
Author: Don Meyer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: D.P. Meyer Publishing
A coming-of-age saga set against the backdrop of the French Indochina War years that follows the chaos of their defeat up to the American take-over and the creation of South Vietnam. Sinclair Langdon, in an act of youthful rebellion against his American mother and British father, arrives in Haiphong Harbour post war 1945. Langdon is quickly recruited to make a delivery only to find out afterwards that he has delivered a load of guns to a rebel force. He is introduced to a besotted British newspaperman who offers him a job as an investigative reporter hoping to get stories from his gun running adventures. In a chance encounter, he meets Yvonne, an exotic beauty of French Vietnamese mix, who sets in motion a torrid forbidden love affair that will entangle Langdon on his journey. Initially running guns to survive, he slowly hones his skills as an investigative reporter covering the historical events of the times, right up to those fateful days in November 1963 when everything changed forever…
“If I did die last night, this surely isn’t Heaven.”
The smell of the harbour coupled with the diesel fumes further engulfed Sinclair Langdon as he lay there suffering from the night before. The ship no longer swayed in the waves, but still rocked against the dock. The pain in his gut caused him to double up before subsiding and letting him stretch back out. The crew always has a toast to the last night out. Shipboard alcohol concocted below deck somewhere. And no doubt the cause of the pain in his gut this morning.
“Hey kid,” the man said gruffly, “time to get off this ship, you’re here.”
Sinclair felt the kick to his side and tried to open his eyes, but the sun burned into them and forced his eyelids to quickly close. His parched throat struggled to get the words out and offered a dry garbled retort.
“Here? Where’s here?”
“Haiphong Harbor. Near Hanoi. Up north. Tonkin area. French Indochina. Late October 1945. Early morning.”
“Right, okay got it.” Sinclair blurted out to stop the man’s cadence and tried to clear his throat. He raised his hand in the air to block the sun and again tried to fully open his eyes.
“C’mon kid get up, last stop.”
“What’s it to you?”
Sinclair looked up at the man who stood over him. Tall, six feet maybe, bearish, but firm like someone who spent time in the sun doing manual labor. He stood there dressed in a wrinkled khaki shirt, open three buttons down and faded dark pants.
“I’m currently in need of a man to help me deliver a load. Captain said you got on last minute and might be in need of some francs. I need to deliver a load. Could use the help.”
Sinclair looked at the man silhouetted in the sun, sat up, shook his head and tried to focus. The pain in his gut returned. He used both arms to hold on.
“What’s the pay?” Sinclair asked.
“How much do you have in your pocket?” The man laughed.
Sinclair reached in and removed a Dix franc and Cinquante francs.
“Sixty-francs? I believe I can do better.” The man laughed again.
“Drank the crews’ rot gut last night.” Sinclair said. “My head’s not real clear. Load of what exactly?”
“Does it matter?” The man said.
“What do I need to do?” Sinclair responded.
“Ride along, maybe help unload, watch my back.”
Sinclair looked at him for a long minute then surrendered.
“Yes, I could use some work right about now. Yeah, sure.”
“Name’s Frenchy.” The man pointed down to the dock. “See the truck? Grab your gear. Meet me there.”
Gathering his wits, Sinclair stood and made his way down to his bunk. His gear consisted of a beat-up old grip. A quick search through his clothes found the least offensive shirt and a passable pair of pants to put on, but noticed the clothes hung loose. Now quite sure he lost some weight due to the rancid food on the ship over the last ten days and tucked the shirt into his trousers believing it would help. He stuffed everything else into the ancient grip and took one last look around before he quickly made his way off the ship.
Two burly men loaded the back of the truck as he approached. Six large wooden crates were stamped Machine Parts. They loaded the last crate onto the truck as Frenchy walked up. The bigger man waited while Frenchy handed him several francs, grunted and walked away. The second man fell in behind him.
“Yeah, and don’t call me kid, name’s Sinclair Langdon.”
“St. Clair Langdon? You British?”
“Sin-clair, not the British St. Clair, like the American author. My American mother liked the name, my British father had no choice.”
They both climbed into the truck, Frenchy in the driver’s seat and Sinclair on the passenger side. Both doors closed simultaneously.
“Look kid, not that I mind, but those clothes. I mean, well, they could use a good wash and maybe some that fit. You look like you stole those from a man twice your size.”
“Yeah, they’re mine. I lost some weight.” Sinclair said. “Food’s not real edible on the ship. Neither was laundry available. Rotating last couple of days, but once we got close, the heat. Well, no chance to do anything about it, maybe after I get some francs.”
“So how old are you, kid? Ah, sorry, I mean Sin-clair.” Frenchy asked.
“Nineteen. Why, how old are you? And you got a real name?”
“Thirty something. Yes, Frenchy.”
“Seriously, a French guy wants to be called Frenchy?”
The truck pulled out slowly as Frenchy ground through the gears.
“So, ah Frenchy, you know how to drive this truck?” Sinclair said.
“Good enough. Why, you do better?” Frenchy said.
“Well, at least I know how to shift using a clutch. You might want to try.”
“You mean like this?” Frenchy slid the gear into second, pushed forward, and smoothly shifted into third as they hit the street.
They both sat silent as the truck lumbered along and passed through the streets of the city, past a block of homes, most in need of repair and after, a newer section of well-kept homes before beginning the journey into the countryside. Before long Frenchy slowed and turned the truck onto a rough dirt road. The truck bounced along, which caused Frenchy to say a string of words in French Sinclair didn’t understand, nor did he want to ask. The next two bounces caused Sinclair to hold on. The truck took some violent ups and downs, but Frenchy held fast and moved the truck along. About when Sinclair thought the truck couldn’t withstand another bounce they pulled into an opening.
As the dust settled, Sinclair could see men standing there amidst the haze. Frenchy, already out of the truck walked toward those men. Sinclair opened his door and cautiously stepped out.
I’m one of the authors participating in the Curl Up With a Book Month Giveaway and you can win a print copy of The Winds of Discontent by Don Meyer (US/Canada only).
Runs December 1 - 31 and is open internationally for many prizes.
Winners will be drawn on January 3, 2023.
Don Is the author of six novels, A Vietnam Memoir, several short stories, a number of essays and a couple of articles.
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