Open Book Society’s reviewer JoAnne is back with an all new interview, in which she sits down to chat with ‘Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse’ author Robin Hutton. Here they talk about the story behind Sgt. Reckless, the difficulty when writing it, favorite parts, finishing the book, and more. Enjoy!
- Read our review for Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse here at OBS.
Robin Hutton: When I discovered the story of Reckless eight years ago in Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul, I thought this is indeed the GREATEST horse story I had ever read – so why had I never hear of her before? I googled her name, and only 4 – FOUR! – items came up on the internet. I thought that was a travesty, especially as I researched her story I discovered how iconic she had been in the 50’s, and that she had sadly disappeared from the pages of history. She had become another forgotten hero from the Forgotten War known as the Korean War. As I interviewed the Marines that served with her and learned their stories, and understood the love that they had for this horse, I made it my mission that she, and they, would NEVER be forgotten again. Her spirit lived through them, and I was determined to tell this story. She deserves her rightful place in history – and with my book, the monuments, and hopefully a movie, I know that will happen.
JoAnne: There were passages that were difficult to read. In fact, I spent a lot of time with tissues in my hand. Was it difficult to write passages of this book and were you crying at times as I was?
Robin Hutton: I have cried many, many, many times throughout the writing of this book. Some were difficult tears, some were incredibly joyful tears. I’m so glad you did too! That means I did my job! Her story just does that to you, doesn’t it?
JoAnne: What was your favorite part of the book and why?
Robin Hutton: My favorite part of the book was interviewing and incorporating the wonderful stories of all of the Marines and other people whose lives have been touched by Reckless – especially when they sent me their personal pictures! I just loved it when I opened my mail and would see a different image of Reckless! She came to life for me. Most of them have become my “forever friends,” because of the bond we have developed over the years. To hear them describe their experiences, even though most were interviewed over the phone, you could HEAR the emotion in their voices as they talked about this wonderful horse. There is one Marine who still calls me on occasion to tell me how proud he is of me and thanks me for all that I’ve done to bring her story out to the masses, and every time he has to hang up because he is choking back his tears. You can hear it in his voice, and that makes me cry too!
JoAnne: How do you feel now that this book and memorial has become a reality?
Robin Hutton: It is difficult to put into words the gratitude that is in my heart. TRULY. The book turned out better than I ever could have imagined! It is STUNNING! And I feel that it does Reckless justice, and I am so PROUD of that! I am so incredibly excited to finally get it out there and spread the word even better now because I have the book that I can give to people and say, “Here … here is a story you will never forget. Here is a hero you will never forget. Here is a book you will want to share with everyone you know.” And my publisher, Regnery History, understood and loved this story from the get-go, and they have done everything in their power to make it the MAGNIFICENT book that it is – including the exclusive trading cards in the back! As I said – so grateful!
The dedication of the monument at the National Museum of the Marine Corps will be a day that is etched in my head and heart forever. There is no way to describe the emotions that overwhelmed me as I would look out across the sea of people who were there to honor this horse and see the beaming faces of those Marines that were able to attend the dedication ceremony of the monument . With tear-filled eyes they gazed upon this magnificent sculpture – it was as if their comrade-in-arms had come back to life and was with them in the flesh. Their tears made me cry because I understood the emotions they were feeling. To see the highest levels of the Marine Corps (the Commandant, General James Amos and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Micheal Barrett) turn out to honor Reckless that day — well, I think I was having an out of body experience at some point because it was just beyond anything even my mind could have imagined – and I had imagined a pretty awesome event! It was just a GLORIOUS day for all of us to experience, and I tried to capture some of that in the book in the last chapter entitled, “Operation: Reckless.”
And now we get to continue the honors with another monument to Reckless at Camp Pendleton, where she lived out her days and is buried. That will most likely be dedicated next spring. And I’m excited to announce that there is also the possibility of putting a third monument in South Korea, in an area where the hills are stained with the blood of so many heroic Americans. So there’s still much to do!
And don’t even get me started on the movie – which obviously will be the icing on the cake!
JoAnne: Finally, a question just for fun (and to let readers connect with you a little) are you a morning person or a nightowl?
Robin Hutton: Back “in the day” (and if I told you how many days ago that was, I’d have to shoot you ) I was a night owl because I loved to go out and dance! (still do – dance, that is!) But now I’ve become a morning person, and I do love it. I find that if I can get up early in the morning and hit the ground running (with coffee cup in hand, of course!), I can get stuff done by noon, if I’m lucky. I still work all day long and into the night because I have lots to do, but I LOVE what I do, so I really don’t consider it work. And now I’m excited because the hard work of writing the book is done, and the FUN work of selling the book is upon me! Woo hoo!!!
Thanks so much!! JoAnne
- For more information about the book and the author visit him at his Official Website here.
Thank you to author Robin Hutton for an amazing interview!