Author Victor Merkel grew up near the coal mining town of Tamaqua, PA. It didn't seem out of the ordinary to see haggard old miners traipsing the street at the end of the day, back from the coal fields. Many were uneducated and trapped in that way of life. My father, a bricklayer, built some of the coal processing plants still in operation today. He sensed the exodus of the area's people and pushed me to get an education and find my way in the world. Away from Tamaqua. I served in the Army at the beginning of the Vietnam war, used my GI Benefits to secure a degree in Business Marketing and rose through the ranks of sales to president of an agency near Chicago. Over the last 20+ years, I have written numerous short stories and published Misery Mountain in 2009. I always wanted to write a novel based on my teen years because the late 1950s were an innocent time, yet filled with rich characters and its own brand of chaos.