Spotlight, Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: As Good As Can Be by William A Glass

Book Blurb & Info

As Good As Can Be is a novel about the wayward son of an alcoholic army officer. As his dysfunctional family moves from one military base to the next, Dave Knight develops a give-a-damn attitude that goes well with his ironic sense of humor. In high school he joins other delinquents in a series of escapades, some dangerous, others funny, and a few that would be worthy of jail time should the troublemakers be caught.

After barely graduating Dave gets drafted into the army and sent to guard a nuclear weapons depot in Korea. There he runs afoul of his sergeant and must scramble to avoid dishonorable discharge.

‘As Good As Can Be’ draws on the author’s experiences growing up in an out-of-control military family during the 1950’s and his own military experience.

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Guest Post

Though ‘As Good As Can Be’ is a work of fiction, it draws from your experiences growing up.  Can you tell us about one or two experiences that are not in the book?  Also, why did you decide to write fiction rather than a memoir?
Quite a few real-life episodes didn’t get used in the book. One that came close occurred in 1955 when my family traveled to Europe on the SS United States. On the last night of the voyage, my parents were invited to dine with the captain. They left my sister, then 11, in charge of her four younger siblings.  We played nicely until eleven or so when the fighting started. After a storm of complaints from neighboring cabins, the deck steward tried but couldn’t stop the mayhem.  He called on a ship’s officer who also failed to halt the effusion of blood.  The officer reluctantly went up to the first-class dining room for a word with the captain, who then asked Lt. Colonel Glass to restore order in his cabin.  My father had been charming the socks off of a Duchess (or so he claimed) and was so irate at being interrupted that he kept us children up for the rest of the night which meant we were all asleep that morning when the ship made a brief stop to let passengers off in Liverpool. Dad was still awake, however, and went ashore.  Later he rubbed it in that he saw England and we didn’t.  The ship landed in Bremerhaven that evening, and the Glass family spent the next four years in Germany.
Another episode that occurred in real life and almost made it into the book is when I went to visit my older sister after she trapped a boy from college into marrying her. She was living with him, his mother, and her child on a beautiful stretch of the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern shore of Maryland. The mother-in-law was a cold, blue-blood. The son was a spoiled rich kid who seemed more interested in his toys (airplane, sport-fishing boat, and race car) then the child. The three of them were living in an antebellum plantation house complete with African American servants.  In the morning, I went up in the plane with my brother-in-law, who tried mightily to get me to throw up. When that failed, he took to dive-bombing the house to wake my sister up.  I had a private chat with my sister before I left. She admitted that things were very tense in the house, and she felt completely isolated. However, anything was better than being a home dependent on our father!
My decision to make my story into a novel was a long time coming. I started off to write a memoir and got half-way through before realizing that I hated it. Writing in the first person, past tense with me as the narrator was tedious.  I didn’t feel that I could leave things out, so it was one move after another with a never-ending series of knock-down-drag-out fights. For the novel, I switched to third person present tense and had an omniscient narrator, which meant that I could relate scenes that I (my character) wasn’t in. Also, I could imagine dialogue and make it a voice-driven book complete with humor to leaven the pathos.  The objective was to keep As Good As Can Be light and make it entertaining. I believe the novel succeeds at that. The memoir was a bore!

Toot's Review by Betty Bee

As Good As Can Be by William A. Glass

A coming of age novel for the ages! A lot of secret and misunderstood things can go on in a young boy's head and heart. I've always been one to say that rebellious and rambunctious boys are usually just misunderstood and begging for attention. This book is about one such boy who becomes a man and then a soldier. Dave Knight grew up with an Army officer father in the 1950's, living in many places all over the world and leaving a reputation wherever he went.

At the beginning of the book, Dave's family live in Iran until his mother accidentally hits and kills an Iranian man with her car. In order to protect the family and avoid retribution from the local people, the Knight's leave Iran and return to America, upending 5 year old Dave's life. Whether or not this or other contributing factors (like his father's alcoholism) led to Dave's rebelliousness as a teenager is up in the air. Either way the boy goes through quite a phase as a young adult. Stealing cars, getting into fights and getting in trouble with his high school teachers, Dave has more than one run in with police and only begins to mend his wicked ways when he is drafted into the Vietnam War.

As I am sure happened with many real life young men during that time, Dave finds that the life of a soldier grounds him and he soon finds a wife and settles down. Without spoiling anything, the ending gave me a warm feeling in my chest and a little tear in my eye. I really felt like I got to know and appreciate Dave as a character who was just crying out for love in all the wrong ways. 'As Good As Can Be' is as good as it gets! I give it 5 stars.

Author Info

William A. Glass, formerly a VP at Gallup, now coaches soccer at a small college in South Carolina and writes. He lives with wife, Bettina, who is a high school German teacher. They have three sons who have all moved away to pursue careers.

Author Links


This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of print or ebook however, print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends July 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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