KIRKUK, Iraq – Many Soldiers write as part of their daily assigned duties, but for one Human Resources specialist assigned to Forward Operating Base Warrior, writing became a hobby and then a profession.
SPC Leonard Brunk, San Jose, Cal. native assigned to the 1st Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Riley, Kan. and attached to the Personnel office, Casualty Reports, 1st Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne,” 101st Airborne Division, published Between Shadow and Light in October of 2005. The fictional story, printed by Publish America, is his first published work.
“I wrote the book just to write, like a hobby, I did not think about getting published,” reflected Brunk, who said that writing the book took him the better part of two years. “I would work all day and then write all night, sometimes late into the night.”
The book is about the balance between good and evil and the perceptions people have on the topic.
Brunk began writing the book because of his own questions about faith and the definitions of absolute good and evil. He was also going through a tough personal time and used writing as a positive outlet. “Writing helped me to clear my mind, and also helped me maintain a good focus and performance for my job.”
A fellow Soldier, who was an English teacher prior to entering the Army, read the manuscript and convinced Brunk to try and have the story published. His friend edited his writing and gave him some constructive criticism. “The criticism helped, helped me to focus and make it a better book,” said Brunk.
Brunk sent a summary to the publisher who liked what they read and wanted to see the whole book.
“The publisher was not sure what genre to put the book in, maybe horror, but I would place it more in philosophy,” explained Brunk, who prior to joining the Army had studied philosophy and world religions in junior college.
“People are drawn to read about the weird,” said Brunk, citing the popularity of Stephen King, and one of Brunk’s favorite authors, Dean Koontz. “He [Koontz] has excellent character development, his characters come alive.”
However, Brunk said he was inspired to find his own voice. “I wanted to focus on being different from other writers,” said Brunk, who sees how being a published writer has made a difference in his Army job.
“Because some other Soldiers knew that I was a published writer, they thought I could start a unit newsletter, and so I do a monthly review,” said Brunk, who has received good comments from the Soldiers’ friends and families regarding the Family Readiness Group publication.
Reviews of Between Shadow and Light have also been favorable. On Barnes&Noble.com, one reviewer said, “I feel that this story examines the philosophy of moral structure in an inventive and fun way. The story is dark and exciting but also very philosophical, it makes you think.”