In many ways, Tori Eversmann’s debut novel, The Immortals, reflects her own life. As the wife of retired First Sargent Matt Eversmann, whose story was told in the book and movie Black Hawk Down, Tori lived the unsettling and often lonely life of an army wife. Her husband, young daughter and she were uprooted from Tori’s childhood home in Baltimore to live on an army base in upstate New York. There, she discovered a world so foreign to her own, dictated by the unwritten rules of the military and shadowed by the post 9/11 threat of war. It was also there, however, among a group of unfamiliar women and customs, that Tori learned so much about resilience, friendship, and most importantly, herself.
Her story parallels the story of Calli Coleman, the protagonist in The Immortals. Tori emphasizes, however, that The Immortals is a work of fiction. By deviating from her own story, she was able to tell so much more.
Like Tori’s journey, the journey to The Immortals was not an easy one. She spent nine years crafting her story and was intimately involved in every phase of the book’s creation.
Tori initially set out to write a memoir revealing the dichotomy between her sheltered Baltimore upbringing, her red carpet appearance with her husband, her life on a military base in Sackets Harbor, New York and more. She relied on the journal she kept during Matt’s deployment as well as the detailed emails he sent to family and friends from Iraq, and the many letters they exchanged. Her hope was to preserve the correspondence and use it to tell her own story.
Three years ago, she came to the realization that by divorcing herself of her own story, she could capture the broader experience of so many women whose husbands are deployed to battle. By weaving the stories of Army wives she met and befriended in New York, she could create a story of self-discovery and empowerment for all women.
This is the essence of The Immortals: Calli Coleman’s journey to better herself through her own self-discovery. The novel is set within a Sackets Harbor Army base where Calli struggles to raise her three-year old daughter in a military culture about which she knows nothing. Shedding her preconceived notions and fears, she connects to her fellow Army wives and finds a network of support and love. Calli is able to save herself by opening up to their friendship. In the process, she understands that she is the key to her own destiny, not the trappings of her old life and privileged upbringing.
Certainly, the themes hit very close to home for Tori. When their husbands were deployed to active duty in Iraq, Tori and her fellow Army wives banned together and collectively supported each other and their larger military family, sharing correspondence from the front lines and visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center. They faced the day-to-day uncertainties of war – whether it was losing a spouse or dealing with his possible physical, emotional, or spiritual wounds. Despite similarities to Tori’s real life experiences, she insists that The Immortals is really a book about self-discovery and finding strength you never thought existed.
The book’s publication has also been a journey of self-discovery for Tori. Despite wanting to be a writer since she was 13, Tori faced challenges writing The Immortals. The most significant hurdle was her own doubts. The reward, however, is not just seeing it in print, but seeing it through to fruition. Tori has had a hand in every process of the book, including self-publishing it. Along the way, like her protagonist, she has found an army of supporters to assist in the editing, promotion and distribution.
The Immortals will launch on November 11. Advanced copies can be purchased through the Seattle Book Company and major booksellers. Tori’s hometown fans can also see the author when she visits Baltimore on December 20th for an event at the newly opened Waverly Brewing Company in Woodberry. Further information is available at www.torieversmann.com
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