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Local author nominated for Georgia Author of the Year
“Chariots in the Sky” author Larry Freeland is now working on a new trilogy
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Freeland stands with a Boeing CH-47 Chinook during the Vietnam War. Photo courtesy of Larry Freeland.

Dawson County author Larry Freeland has been nominated in the Georgia Author of the Year awards for his historical fiction novel “Chariots in the Sky: A Story About U.S. Assault Helicopter Pilots at War in Vietnam”. 

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Freeland's book, "Chariots in the Sky," highlights the experiences of helicopter pilots in the Vietnam War through a historical fiction lens. Photo courtesy of Larry Freeland.

Freeland, who served one tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division as an Infantry Officer and CH-47 helicopter pilot, wrote his novel as a historical fiction book based on his own personal experience and his memories from his time in Vietnam. While the characters in the book are fictional, almost everything else in the novel is based off of events that happened to Freeland or others with him during his time in Vietnam. 

Freeland completed his book in 2020, signing a contract with Publish Authority and releasing it in early 2021. Since then, he said that the novel has garnered a great deal of positive feedback from readers. 

“The book itself has been doing very well; it’s been number one on Kindle e-book off and on now since December in one of the two categories they carry it,” Freeland said. “It’s been in the top 5 going back into November of last year and then it hit one and it’s been bouncing back and forth between one and two so I’ve been very pleased with that.” 

Freeland said that he’s heard feedback on his book from dozens of readers, including fellow veterans who also served in the Vietnam war. 

“The feedback has been incredible, and there’s a lot of veterans that have responded very well to my book,” Freeland said. “I’ve had several people of various age groups saying ‘I had no idea about this stuff; I just didn’t know’, so it was kind of an eye-opener for a lot of people.” 

Recently, Freeland heard news that he had been nominated in the “First Novel” category in the Georgia Author of the Year awards for 2022. He said that he was surprised and honored to hear about the nomination, which began with his publisher submitting his novel to the contest. 

“He knew about this and he was responsible for pushing it before them and then I was notified back in December to provide them more information and was being considered for a nomination,” Freeland said. "I didn’t hear anything and then all of a sudden I got a flash bulletin from a Facebook posting of theirs that I was nominated and I said ‘wow this is terrific’.” 

Including Freeland, there are a total of 8 authors nominated in the “First Novel” category. All of the books will be judged, and the winners of each category will be announced on Facebook Live on June 11 at 10 a.m. 

Freeland said that he’s incredibly honored to be nominated for the award, and that both the nomination and seeing the response from his readers has been rewarding after all the hard work he put into writing the book. 

“I’m just amazed at how they can get the word out and just spread all over the place — it’s been a trip,” Freeland said. "It’s a story I’ve been wanting to tell; it’s very gratifying to me the response it’s received and the reviews it’s received and just the feedback. It’s a very extensive process so I was just very pleased that I was nominated.” 

Up next for Freeland, he said that he has signed a contract with Publish Authority for a trilogy, the first installment of which should be releasing this summer. 

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Freeland as a soldier during the Vietnam War, which began in 1955 and ended in 1975. Photo courtesy of Larry Freeland.

"We’re in the final stages of the editing process for the first book and if everything goes well we hope to publish it in May or June; we’ll certainly have it out this summer,” Freeland said. “‘Legacy of Honor’ I think will end up being the main title, and then book one will be ‘The Patriarch’, book two will be ‘The Son’ and book three will be ‘The Descendants’.”  

The new trilogy, Freeland said, will cover a timeline of about 100 years and follow one family’s three generations of men who fight in all of the nation’s battles and wars. 

“Book one is a man fighting in World War I, book two will be about his son who is an aviator and will serve in World War II, and then he’ll have some sons that will be in the third book and that’ll cover all the things we’ve done post-Korea and the Cold War, which will start with Vietnam,” Freeland said. “It’s looking good, I feel real good about it.” 

Freeland added that he will keep readers updated on the release date of his new book and any other announcements through his website and social media. 

For more information about the Georgia Author of the Year award including a full list of nominees and how to tune into the announcement of the winners, go to https://www.authoroftheyear.org/

To read more about Freeland and his book and to order a copy of “Chariots in the Sky: A Story About U.S. Assault Helicopter Pilots at War in Vietnam”, go to https://larryfreeland.com/.