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Phyllis Zimbler Miller's Guest Post on BACKSTORY

Today, Memorial Day (Observed), seems a fitting occasion to share the backstory of MRS. LIEUTENANT. Here is an excerpt from my guest post that appears today on the blog BACKSTORY:

Where authors share secrets, truths, logical and illogical moments that sparked their fiction or memoirs. Brought to you by M.J. Rose and Jessica Keener.

May 26, 2008
Phyllis Zimbler Miller's Backstory

May 4, 1970 – Ohio National Guard shoot and kill four Kent State University Vietnam War protesters and wound nine others.

Two days later, newly married, I am on my way to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for my husband to start Armor Officers Basic training.

To this day, while I remember everything else and have all my original army documents (some of which can be seen on my website at, I can't remember how I got the four other members of my committee: a Southern Baptist, a black (the correct term in those days), and two Puerto Ricans – one of whom couldn't speak English.

The five of us spent the next few weeks together learning how to be a Mrs. Lieutenant. And from that day onward until now, I've wanted to tell the story of what being a new officer's wife in the U.S. Army was like during the Vietnam War.

MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL is the result 38 years later. I mashed up characters and incidents (some things I included at Ft. Knox really took place when we were stationed in Munich, Germany, the scene of the sequel I'm now writing – MRS. LIEUTENANT IN EUROPE), and I invented backstories for the main characters. Yet the overall story is an accurate depiction.

The story of MRS. LIEUTENANT may seem like ancient history. But today the U.S. is again involved in another unpopular war. And race issues, which are a theme in MRS. LIEUTENANT, are again in the news. Maybe I was destined to wait 38 years before publishing the book – until the time was ripe for this specific past to shed light on this specific present.

Please visit the author's website ( for more about her life and work.

If you want to see the complete post with photos on the BACKSTORY blog, click on

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