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West Point Determined my Career

Eddie had received a small scholarship to the University of Washington and was debating whether to go there or enlist into the army where he would apply to a preparatory school, study for a year and then apply again for the academy.

You would expect that Eddie Mitchell, West Point Graduate, award-winning author, a RAND fellow who served in the U.S. Space Command before and during Desert Shield was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Quite the contrary as Eddie actually lived through an abusive childhood, sent to Juvenile Hall and later became a foster child living on welfare on a dairy farm. And what does Eddie say about those times. "Juvenile Hall has a bad rep, but sometimes it really does some good. It was the best thing that happened to me at age 14."

"When I was living in the foster home, I made up my mind that I didn't want to be poor and that education was my only way out. I got the best grades I could and learned that a military academy might be my best bet for a good college education and it would be all paid for. When I was a sophomore in high school, I began reading etiquette books and went out for track cross country because in my research on being selected to the military academies, I learned that being an athlete and how I conducted myself in different social and/or academic events would be scrutinized." It took Eddie three attempts to be accepted to West Point. Eddie had received a small scholarship to the University of Washington and was debating whether to go there or enlist into the army where he would apply to a preparatory school, study for a year and then apply again for the academy. After Eddie graduated from high school with honors, he enlisted and completed a year at the Army preparatory school, improved his SAT score and came out third in the State. An opening came up, he was accepted and graduated from West Point as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Eddie went on to Airborne and Ranger schools and received orders for an assignment in Alaska in 1972 and later served overseas in Korea. He graduated from the Defense Department's Program Management School and worked within the "Star Wars" Program. He retired as a Lt. Colonel after 21 1/2 years of service.

He admits doors opened up for him after graduating from West Point. He says that it made him realize that he could "take what is given to me, maximize what I could do with it and be happy." Eddie believes in giving back to society and has been a guest speaker to "Kids at Risk" in Prunedale, California.

Around 1980, Eddie got an idea while sitting on a beach in Monterey, California "With today's technology, what if there was a gold rush today?" Since he was an amateur prospector, he drew on that experience to include it in his first book. He also took a lot from his growing up years, military and engineering experience as background for his characters. It took 14
years for him to feel satisfied that his book was worth publishing. When he was into his book about 3 months, he realized his dialogue was bad and completely rewrote it. "I'm in the country of Steinbeck," he told himself. "I'll stop when I can write as I remember how I felt reading
'The Grapes of Wrath' when I was thirteen in the foster home. I need to touch someone with my words, then I'll quit." It took 6 more years before his book got published. Eddie recalls a number of author workshops he attended, one especially that was an author retreat with
face to face editing. He got feedback on his words and sentences. One of the "book doctors" told him to leave this first book and count it as training and start another. But this wasn't an option for Eddie, he was determined to get it published.

The Hardback edition of Eddie's first novel was called "Gold Rush 2000." The paperback edition is called "Gold Lust." Winner of the National Publishers Freedom Award as the Best New Fiction in the USA and Canada, as well as a Regional Award for best mystery by an independent publisher. This mystery thriller was published by California Coast Publishing in Salinas, California.

Because Steinbeck was an inspiration to Eddie as a youngster, it was especially moving and thrilling to have the Steinbeck Museum in Salinas accept "Gold Lust" as the first (other than Steinbeck) book into their resource center.

An exciting Epilogue to this story is at the time of this interview, CW Productions and Creative Artists Agency from the Paramount Lot in Hollywood had called Eddie and relayed their interest in pursuing the possibility of purchasing film and TV rights to his story.

Currently, Eddie is working on the sequel and second of a trilogy called "Gold Raid" that continues with his characters and ongoing adventures of a gold rush in modern times.

His book can be purchased online at www.booksbymitchell.com for $15.95. Check out his website for more information on his books and if you have an interest in writing, he is starting a newsletter that will be journalizing his own struggles and highlights on the life of an author. END

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