Honoring Captain John Mitchell’s “Seven Ships”

Writing Your Life client John Mitchell has enjoyed one heck of a week! He received a message all aspiring authors dream about–his book won an award. It was also selected by a book club where they invited him to join the discussion, and a noted author praised his work. Wow!

Mitchell’s book, Seven Ships: A U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer’s At-Sea Career, was just selected as a finalist in the 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA) President’s Awards, in the autobiography and memoir category.

All finalists will receive a gold, silver, or bronze medal at FAPA’s annual President’s Award Banquet in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, this August 4, 2018. We are going for the gold!

This past week, John received a fantastic review of Seven Ships from Dr. Ann Kirschner, author of Sala’s Gift and Lady at the OK Corral. Kirschner says, in part, John’s “narrative voice is wonderfully strong and clear, his conversational tone charming and direct, as if he is talking to the reader. He evoked the sights and smells, from the baking bread to the machine shop, from Hong Kong to Haifa.  John Mitchell is a gentle and nuanced teacher, never didactic or preachy.”

As if all this wasn’t enough, in the same week John and his book were the topic of conversation at his wife Rachel’s book club event. Seven Ships was selected as their July read, and they invited John to meet with them for a book discussion.

“Since I was going to be there, they included all the husbands for the evening and asked them to read the book beforehand as well.

“Unbeknownst to Rachel and me, one of the husbands is a salesman for a monogram company that does shirts and hats for military groups, among others. So, when we walked in, there were several books standing on the foyer table surrounded by ballcaps with the names and silhouettes of five of the seven ships, as well as a tee-shirt emblazoned with USS Fahrion’s name and hull number. We were blown away!


“The evening just got better. Everyone had read the book, and there were many great questions, comments, and observations. I think I learn something new about my book every time I do something like this, and boy, is it fun!”

When asked what has been most fun or enjoyable about events such as the book club meeting and speaking at local events, John said,
“Realizing that readers understand some (most) of the points I am attempting to convey regarding the fun and excitement of being in the Navy. Rachel’s eighty-five-year-old uncle told me, ‘I want to be a part of the crew of Manley,’ the ship aboard which I went around the world.”

As a bit of advice for others working toward the goal of writing a book for their families or for publication, John said, “I actually enjoyed writing the book, because I felt that it gave me an opportunity to ‘relive’ those experiences. So perhaps the advice is to choose a topic to write about that you would like to re-experience, whether in real life or just in your imagination.”

We are so proud of John and all of his hard work in creating such a praise-worthy memoir. Congratulations, Captain!





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