Kimberly: Will you tell us a bit about your background?
Mr Mixter: I have been writing since I was a teenager. I have had my poetry and other writings published locally. I have also written articles for a local paper and have won an award for creative writing. My first published book consisted of short stories about growing up in Baltimore City in the 1960s, titled The Boys of Northwood. My second novel, Sarah Of The Moon, is a fictional love story, with a touch of mystery, that takes place in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love. I recently completed and published Letters From Long Binh: Memoirs of a Military Policeman in Vietnam. That book is based on the letters I wrote home to my wife during a 1967 tour of duty in Vietnam. My short story, Eternal, will be published this spring by Sleeping Cat Books in the book anthology, The Storm Is Coming.
Since my retirement from a security position with local government, I have been able to devote more time to my wife, five cats and, of course, my writing.
Kimberly: How did your novel Sarah Of The Moon happen to evolve? Was it inspired by a true story? There are a lot of factual details, so if your novel is not based on what you personally experienced, how did you do your research?
Mr. Mixter: Several years ago I wrote a prologue and a epilogue to a book I called Sarah Of The Moon. The handwritten papers went into a desk drawer. In the autumn of 2010 I was recovering from heart surgery. I had just published my first book, The Boys Of Northwood, and thought this to be the perfect time to revisit Sarah. I began to write without any plot outline. I knew the beginning and the ending, but that was all. Luckily as I developed my characters the story came to me, a chapter at a time. Many readers have asked me if I've ever been to San Francisco. I have not. During the 1967 summer of love, I was military policeman in Vietnam. I researched the time and the place, then allowed my imagination to fill in the blanks.
Kimberly: As I read your novel, the one thing that kept coming back to me was how uninformed people were about the “Hippy” movement. Yes, there were those who were a part of it because they were into drugs more than cause, however the premise of the movement was heartfelt. Do you feel the movement had an impact on the future? How?
Mr. Mixter: I have always been fascinated with the so-called 'Hippie' culture and the music that came from it. I believe that shows throughout the book. I wanted to write a story that focused on their lifestyle and would hopefully depict these free spirits as more than druggies. I personally feel the majority of those young people believed in the tenants of peace and love and were trying to change the world for the better. It was also important to me that my three main characters, Sarah, Alex, and Matt were drug free throughout most of the novel. Although drugs played a significant role in the culture, I wanted my main characters to be enlightened without the use of drugs. In my book, I separated the true hippie from his weekend counterpart. It's significant to note the difference between the two factions in that the first group wanted to make change and the second just wanted to get high.
I would like to think the peace protests of the 1970's, which in some ways helped to end the war in Vietnam, and the protests of today can be traced back to the hippies of the '60s, and, of course, the summer of love. I also believe the movement was instrumental in passing anti-racism laws in the late 1960s and 1970s and undoubtedly was responsible for generating an interest in environmental concerns such as clean air and water, organic farming, and recycling.