Cape Henry House
Jolly Walker Bittick
Independently Published (2021)
Jolly Walker Bittick grew up in Sequim, Washington and served in the U.S. Navy from 2005 to 2009. He is a freelance writer, avid historian, and passionate outdoorsman who has traveled extensively over the course of his life. He draws inspiration and literary prowess from his experiences in numerous career fields and a multitude of social environments. From his time in retail, military, sales, and civil service, as well as his time living in rural, suburban, and urban environments, Jolly has developed a unique literary brand that encompasses numerous aspects of contemporary society.
Hi Jolly, welcome to Reader Views! What is Cape Henry House about?
Cape Henry House is based on a true story and details the wild parties thrown by a group of sailors during three weeks in early 2008. It begins when two sailors of a notorious group at a naval aircraft squadron are invited to move into the house to help a newly married couple (sailors themselves) with rent. Friends, and friends of friends, are invited to join them in relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere off of base. What happens instead is beyond anyone’s imagination, and in the end the wild events at the house and at various other places in town form lifelong friendships and memories. It’s a messy tale for good reason, but with an ending the reader can appreciate.
What inspired you to sit down and write this book?
Many of us who were a part of the actual story have stayed in touch over the years. About five years ago I suggested to a few of them at a get together that someone should write a book about the ordeal. As my occupation involves writing and I write in my free time, it was natural that everyone looked to me to write the story. I wrote a ten page opening draft last year, and sat down during January of this year to finally finish it. It was published on April 30, 2021.
Cape Henry House is based on true events. To what extent did you fictionalize the story? Why did you choose to fictionalize your experiences?
In fact, very little of the story is fictional. The people who were at the actual house and have read the book are pleased with the story’s accuracy. In cases where something is fictionalized, it was done so to protect the identities of people or businesses from the characters and establishments in the book. A few of the real locations are no longer in existence and in those cases I named them as they were at the time the story takes place.
Are there certain parts of the story where you took more creative liberties than others?
I took almost all creative liberties when writing the dialogue between the characters. I have a terrific memory and I was confident in my ability to portray almost everyone in the manner that they behaved at the time. I also took creative liberty to portray things in great detail, and as I mostly remember it, to project just how wild of a place Cape Henry House really was.
Who are the key players in Cape Henry House and what motivates them?
The house is the key player! Really. As far as the people, it’s easily the narrator Bosner along with B-man, Zick, and Dolvar. No other characters are showcased more frequently than them. B-man and Dolvar are motivated to have the time of their lives, and Zick is the character that holds those two and Bosner together.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
How much fun writing it was! Writing it ultimately became the easiest part as the editing and the design of the cover and every other element of the publication was somewhat painstaking.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started out?
How much work everything beyond the writing would be. Editing was hard enough, but getting the book out there for people to read has been no easy task either.
What do you like to read and which authors have inspired your own work as a writer?
I like to read history, but westerns and horror are good as well. One of my favorite books is “Brules” by Harry Combs. Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Stephen King have been my literary inspirations.
Being an author is a full-time job these days. What do you enjoy most about the process? And the least?
I enjoy the act of writing, and the point when the mind is flowing and you almost feel alive in the story as it unfolds–not as a reader, but its creator! It’s such a neat process in my mind at least. I’m not fond of the editing beyond the proofread, nor am I fond of the marketing process.
Describe how you felt when you first held a copy of your novel in your hands.
I felt special. I had never done it before, and I knew right then and there that I would like to do it again!
How does your family support your writing? Were they surprised when you told them you were writing a book? (Or did you keep it a secret until it was finished)?
My family supported my writing by buying a copy of the book and enjoying it! It’s a pleasure to hear them talk about the story in a manner that proves they read it because it was addicting. As I have been writing for many years, I don’t believe they were surprised at all.
What do you like to do outside of writing?
I love the outdoors, and traveling. I like studying history and partaking in cultural exchanges.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, as a writer or regarding life in general?
If you have an idea that inspires you, roll with it. Enjoy the ride it takes you on! With writing, write the idea down immediately, and don’t stop until it’s all there. An idea put on hold fades. Once it’s on paper you can tweak it however you wish.
Cape Henry House occurred over a three-week period so I suspect you have more stories in your arsenal. Are there more novels in your future?
Absolutely. There will also be more that revolve around this very theme!
What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
You got to start somewhere! If you want to write and you have ideas, put them down on paper or on your screen! Visualize where you want the idea to go, and off you are.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I have many more books upcoming. Cape Henry House is ultimately special for two reasons: 1) it’s my first publication; 2) as each year passes, memory of the actual house, and memory of the people that made it the boisterous place it was all those years ago, becomes more important to the understanding of what makes experiences and those you share them with special.
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