BLANDFORD – Al Hague enjoys the process of telling a story – spending “a lot of time” thinking about direction, characters, and their relationships.
On May 11, Hague will return to his childhood hometown – Blandford – and visit the Porter Memorial Library at 2 p.m. to discuss his new novel, “A Marine’s Daughter.” He will also have a few copies of the book available for signing. Books and ebooks are also available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
The novel depicts the struggles of a Marine in his later years trying to deal with the issues from the past. Also, the story is about the relationship between father and daughter and how they work together to find the answers they both seek not only about the past but about the future.
“I took very heavy pains that the novel would be an easy read,” said Hague, noting it is “OK” for anyone to read beginning at age 10.
Hague grew up in Blandford, first residing in an old farmhouse on the Kinsman Farm on Russell Road, and later his family built a home on North Street. He graduated from Westfield High School in 1963, and after graduation joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam during the mid-1960s. After his stint with the Marines, he attended Holyoke Community College and then joined the Hartford Police Department.
Throughout the years, Hague has also enjoyed a career in business in multiple leadership positions and most recently has been a freelance photojournalist for sports and travel magazines. He also had a weekly “outdoor” column for the Westfield Evening News during the 1970s, writing about fishing, hunting and camping.
“The inspiration for my novel is certainly many of my own experiences but also conversations with other Vietnam veterans,” said Hague in a phone interview from his home outside of Phoenix, AZ. Hague is married, has two grown daughters, and a service dog named Brady.
Hague, who is 100% disabled from Agent Orange exposure while serving in Vietnam, has spent “a lot of time in and out of VA hospitals.”
A Marine’s Daughter, which took Hague just over a year to write, has a simple message.
“The message I want to provide to the readers is that the vets of that time still suffer in a variety of ways and some of that suffering is common to most,” said Hague. “It is my hope that this story illustrates to family members and perhaps even vets that the memories of the past must be and can be dealt with through understanding forgiveness and the healing process needs to be understood.”
Al Hague is seen at age 19 in a territory northwest of Da Nang in central Vietnam. (Submitted photo)
As a member of the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Hague noted he has committed to donating a portion of the proceeds of the sales of the novel to the Arizona chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America with the hope “help will be provided to vets of all wars that have the need.”
Currently, Hague has scheduled a Barnes & Noble book signing in Holyoke on May 12 from 2 to 4 p.m., as well as Barnes & Noble book signings on May 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Enfield, Conn., and from 3 to 6 p.m. in West Hartford, Conn.
“The one common thread in the lives of Vietnam vets is the memory of how they were treated when returning home,” said Hague. “Now, for many the time has come for retirement and we have too much time on our hands and with that, days and nights to recall those past horrors or troubling feelings that we have kept hidden for so long.”
Hague noted that it is “gratifying” for the veterans to see how well the vets of today are respected and admired for their service.
“It is my hope that this story will be a catalyst for vets and their families to support the vets in whatever way they need and bring about a healing of old wounds,” said Hague, adding, “it is time!”