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My intention is for readers to identify, in some way, with my anti-heroine, Maggie. But I also want to give them a new perspective that reconstructs their emotional experience of what they think/thought the Vietnam War was ALL about.
I’m aware I can’t just write just from my heart because I have to bring the reader along to experience something they were never aware of.
The enticement of the story already exists with the world of the Vietnam War - it’s built-in with the secrecy of that experience - the unknown, but it’s a captivating unknown to many.
The value I see in my story is in the way I can uniquely express this idea. Vietnam has been written about in many different forms and characters. But my point of view creates my reality of what Maggie, my protagonist, experiences with her point of view, laid out in pages, but based on a true story. Mine. Instead of writing a Memoir, I found telling the story as our ancestors did, "around the fire" is a better way to have others experience it.
Maggie is initiated into this unknown without any previous knowledge of it or of ever knowing anyone who had experienced what she is involved in since none of what she thinks she’s looking for is yet visible at the beginning. But her “how” and her “why” soon reveal themselves to her, and the reader, along the way.
Maggie finds and has to deal with critics of her behavior and that she should or could have done better in her life. Eventually, she starts paying closer attention to the people who are actually in the war arena and blocks out the others at home. The people she encounters in the Pacific Theater, appear as the losers in a normal society but are the behind-the-scenes-valiant ones. They make mistakes left and right, even when they die trying. But in their quest, they experience a sense of achievement. An achievement that those back at home will never know.
Maggie’s needs and wants are to shatter whatever male-dominated bonds she faces at the beginning and, win or lose, she hopefully frees herself to make her own choices at the end.
All along, Maggie’s journey is affected by the power of the Vietnam War. That power, and her part in it may be the only way for her to break from her family and the habits that come with growing up in a small town.
With good intentions, Maggie, as an anti-heroine, struggles internally with the complex issues of being a woman in the radical age of the ’60s. A lot of her earlier actions may come from a belief in nobleness and possibly one, a lot of women like Maggie might have been taught, to stick with the idea about how the men in her life should act like, dismissing her own bad actions and her dark inner traits.
As Maggie’s journey progresses, she discovers a connection with the young men she takes over to Vietnam and also with the ones whom she brings back to the States. Should any of them ever return home?
From the Book Cover...
It’s 1968, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury is an ideal home for twenty-one-year-old, anti-war activist and newlywed, Maggie Finn… and “headquarters” for the Flower children, protestors and topless girls. Free love is everywhere.
Then, on a bitter early morning, Maggie’s three-day honeymoon dramatically sinks into a violent swamp. She fights her way out of the abusive control by her husband, Michael. Her world of smoking pot and attending free concerts in Golden Gate Park abruptly ends.
Fortunately, Maggie has secured a position, on a dare, as a flight attendant transporting American troops to and from the Vietnam war. After her training, she steps onto her first flight, escorting 250 soldiers into the war zone. She soon recognizes how the men she takes over to Vietnam contrast from the ones she brings home, writing to her mother, “As with so many of the guys I escort from Vietnam, their eyes have changed from when I take them in-country.”
Her own “initiation” into this killing field leaves Maggie with conflicting emotions, never able to escape the war within herself. With her movement in and out of the war zone, she conveys a female perspective into one of the most controversial chapters in American history.
From her flight training, she memorizes an essential rule for when she gets herself in a Maggie-mess, “Always know where the exits are.” Can something that basic sustain her?
THE INITIATED is suspenseful, tender and awash in the magic of love near the battleground. It’s based on a true story.
“THE INITIATED is a heartfelt, gritty and authentic story that definitely has the potential to be adapted into a feature film, or even a television pilot. By far, the biggest strength here is the protagonist, Maggie. She is courageous and proactive, yet the writer also makes her emotionally vulnerable. Unsung female heroes, such as Maggie and her job, have yet to make it to the screen, so perhaps this story can be the first to break through and shed light on how the war affected the women involved?” -Screen Pipeline
“A very strong element of this book is the author’s attention to detail and knowledge of this environment. Every detail that is given resonates as being very true to life. I’m convinced that the author is certainly the right one to tell this story and has full command over the subject matter, both in the time and the place. I think the author has done a spectacular job of taking the familiar and making it unfamiliar. Love and the battlefield is a familiar idea but the author adds a new element I’ve never heard before and readers will want to read more of it.”
John Fox - BookFox Editor
“ This book is filled with one riveting story after the next, each one of them precisely placed in context and perfectly narrated by the author for maximum punch. The author has a real knack for focusing on exactly the right details to fill out each story tightly and succinctly, with no unneeded fluff. This compels and powerfully holds the reader’s attention. In addition, the stories have intensely satisfying outcomes that easily and effortlessly evoke strong emotional reactions in the reader.”
- BookBaby, Editor
“Congrats on THE INITIATED. A poignant and heart-wrenching story centered on a dramatic event in the life of a flight attendant whose job it is to travel alongside soldiers coming to and from the war in Vietnam. Being that Maggie’s job is different from all the other positions we’ve come accustomed to seeing and reading about, she offers a unique perspective of the war. She literally sees the before and after of the young men she escorts, making for a really interesting journey. This is a wonderful concept and the writer’s knack for the craft really shines.”
Screencraft Cinematic Story Contest
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Initiated is a work of dramatic historical ﬁction penned by author Micki Voisard. Set in the harrowing and fascinating time of the Vietnam War, we see the perspective and world view change for young Maggie Finn from 1968 onwards. From her hippie and free love roots, Maggie’s faith in her fellow man is dashed and she secures her escape as a ﬂight attendant for the soldiers going to and from the war. So begins her induction into the dangerous conﬂict and her connection to so many survivors who are forever damaged by what they have seen and done. Maggie’s own damage begins to seep through the cracks as the novel continues.
Author Micki Voisard writes with powerful descriptive quality to bring the recent historical past back to life in vivid and almost painful living color. Maggie begins in a tragic situation before her true adventure starts, endearing readers to a young woman with dashed ideals, but without mocking the peaceful life she was trying to live. The reality check comes in hard and harsh with a powerful impact and solid writing that lays bare the facts of the situation, then leaves room to breathe as Maggie takes in the truth of what she’s seeing. The narrative around her perceptions is intelligent and emotive without being overly dramatic, keeping a nice balance for fans of wartime ﬁction, plus those who want a more in-depth personal drama story. Overall, The Initiated is a highly recommended read for its broad appeal and excellent writing quality.
Comments/Suggestions for Adaptation From
Adapting the book The Initiated would allow a
studio to at once feature a strong female protagonist, a compassionate tale of veteran care, and art direction that would not look like anything else on the market: being nostalgic to some and “new” to others.
For all these reasons, it has good potential to be a profitable contender, particularly among women aged 40 and up that would require far less
marketing and could well aid in word-of-mouth advertising efforts for free if the appropriate campaign and social media tools were employed. A secondary marketing effort should absolutely be attempted with veterans of all ages, focusing on the ravages of war and the understanding and compassion these flight attendants offered.
The book showcases a type of person and patriot little discussed in most films and television shows. Maggie and her coworkers are not military, yet
serve a vital military function and, even more importantly, provide caregiving and peace of mind to those who have been shattered by experiencing war. This is a fascinating opportunity and it should speak directly to those that consider themselves to have experienced something similar, even if only partially.
The scenes involving Maggie fighting for her job provide the plot’s climax and are thus a requisite inclusion, though they should not be presented as
the heart of the piece. This should be a secondary exploration where she is forced to endure this unfair treatment, despite all of her nobility in handling the soldiers. Doing so will help emphasize to the audience exactly how
unfair it is, as the rules of screenwriting usually favor karma and this can be bent to the story’s advantage by a capable screenwriter skilled at subverting expectations.
The Initiated truly is a refreshing take on a well-explored historical moment: one that is novel enough to pique interest, but familiar enough to
pique curiosity at what should be billed as a missing piece of the historical puzzle. It is a fine candidate for adaptation, assuming a studio gives it the proper budget and treats it with the reverence it and its core audience is due.
"Your book tells a side of the Vietnam War that (as far as I know) has not been told before. I think it SHOULD be made into a movie and I truly hope it WILL be. It is a great coming-of-age tale for our generation, as well. When I meet up with friends of my youth I am always struck by the emphasis of the Vietnam War on their lives (one way or another). Your story line embraces so many different angles of the general and specific human experience, as well as the author's perspective. It totally held my reading eye & interest."
Lynn Galvin - Author, Republic Of Dog Mountain
"Just wanted you to know part of your book made me smile , part of it made me depressed, part of it made me mad and some of it made me happy. I wasn't drafted so I cannot relate to the ones coming home. I lost quite a few friends in the war...some came home some didn't and some came home but didn't. It was a great read of part of your life...I really liked it."