I am delighted to welcome Jess Wright; author of A Stream To Follow, to the blog to share with us an amazing guest post; Streams To Follow, plus shining a spotlight on his debut book; A Stream to Follow – which sounds amazing, I can’t wait to share it with you all.
About the Book
A Stream to Follow; A Novel.
When WWII ends, Bruce Duncan, a battlefront surgeon, returns home to a small town in Pennsylvania with plans of opening a general practice, fly fishing in his spare time, and forgetting the past. But the ravages of his war aren’t over. Haunted by images of soldiers he tried to save, his own near-death experiences, and the love he lost, Bruce has little respite before new battles grip him. His brother, a decorated fighter pilot, is sinking fast and rebels against Bruce’s attempts to help him. A former friend begins waging a vicious campaign to stop Bruce from uncovering the dangers that could shutter a local industry. And amid all this turmoil, he must decide between the slim prospect of reuniting with his former love—an Englishwoman who chose her family over him—and an ill-fated attraction to a trail-blazing woman doctor.
A riveting narrative that moves from post-WWII America to battle-sieged England to the killing fields of Alsace, A Stream to Follow plunges deep into the crucible of trauma and gives fresh vision for paths to redemption—ultimately weaving an uplifting tale of valor, resilience, and enduring love.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-stream-to-follow-jess-wright/1139997098
Streams to Follow by Jess Wright.
The story in A Stream to Follow came to me slowly, percolating up through many “streams” of my own life. I knew it was there a long time ago, but was busy doing other things—being a husband and dad, writing medical and self-help books, and tending to my career as a professor of psychiatry. When I began planning my first novel, I knew it would have to take place in the WWII era. A story of the suffering and possible healing of the kind of soldiers that I knew first-hand was calling to me. The emotional tug was compelling.
Growing up in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, an actual town featured in A Stream to Follow, I didn’t know that my father and uncle were classic “sufferers in silence”—WWII vets who stuffed all of their horrors inside and never said a word about their war experiences. We know now that this kind of stoicism can breed PTSD and prevent the healing of emotional wounds. My father died much too young, I think, at least in part, from wounds that he never showed us. And my uncle, a fighter pilot who flew from his base in England across the channel to France and Germany, only began to tell me about his harrowing traumas when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
During WWII, little was known about PTSD or how to treat it. The “shell shock” of WWI was relabeled “combat fatigue,” which was treated with a brief respite from battle and, at times, an injection of sodium amytal, a powerful sedative. In brief, the approach was “suck it up” and get back in the fight. Several wars later, and after much careful research, it’s been found that specific psychotherapies, mostly based on cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), offer great hope for most victims of PTSD.
Because I’ve been part of a world-wide movement to study and further develop CBT, have treated many patients with PTSD, and served as a military psychiatrist immediately after the Vietnam War, I thought that I could use what I’ve learned to bring a novel about WWII soldiers to vivid life. My goals were to tell a thrilling and heartwarming story while giving inspiration to readers who may have experienced traumas themselves or know those who have been marked by traumatic experiences.
In choosing a main character for A Stream to Follow, I was influenced by a searing and beautifully written memoir of a WWII battlefront surgeon. In The Other Side of Time, Brendan Phibbs wrote of the mortal danger that frontline surgeons experienced in WWII. A recent med school graduate, Dr. Phibbs was given a crash course in trauma surgery and sent to the front lines during the vicious campaign in Alsace before the American forces were able to penetrate Germany. Medical personnel were shown little if any mercy, and the toll on doctors, nurses, and corpsmen was immense. Bruce Duncan, M.D., the protagonist in A Stream to Follow, traces the footsteps of Dr. Phibbs across the killing fields of France. I believed that the story of these brave frontline surgeons had been largely forgotten and that there were lessons in their struggles for today’s world.
The post-war lives of the WWII soldiers in my family had their joys and triumphs, but I don’t believe that the pall of trauma was ever lifted from them. In A Stream to Follow, I wanted to show how the power of resilience and determination, and the warmth of enduring love, can shape a successful path to healing. At its heart, A Stream to Follow, is a celebration of the strength of the human spirit and the potential for personal transformation.
Although the title of my novel is metaphorical, real streams course through the book. The Zorn in wartime France, the Test—a legendary trout stream in England where Bruce Duncan meets Amelia, the woman who transfixes him—and the secluded waters of Spruce Creek, a pristine stream that tumbles out of the mountains in Central Pennsylvania. In each of these places, Bruce sees deep inside himself. A fly-fisherman, like the main characters in A River Runs Through It, Bruce has a spiritual connection with these waters. It is there that he is fully aware and searches for the elemental truths that are his “stream to follow.”
About the Author
Jess Wright is an internationally recognized psychiatrist who is the Kolb Endowed Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville. “Breaking Free from Depression,” one of his self-help books, has been called a “must-have for finding a way through the pain of depression.” “Good Days Ahead,” his scientifically tested online program for depression and anxiety, has helped many thousands on their path to recovery. “A Stream to Follow” is Jess Wright’s first novel.
For more information, please visit: https://jesswrightmd.com/