Leo Aime LaBrie of Grass Valley and The Union columnist Theresa McLaughlin of Nevada City have co-authored a new military biography.
The book, “A Double Dose of Hard Luck,” was written following a chance meeting between McLaughlin, LaBrie and the book’s subject, Charlie Harrison, at Paulette’s restaurant in Grass Valley.
At the restaurant, Harrison was wearing a ball cap that said he was a veteran. LaBrie and McLaughlin were interested and started a conversation, wherein they learned about Harrison’s history.
Harrison told them he is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, where he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and a prisoner of war in two different conflicts. He is one of two Marines to ever endure that hardship. He gave LaBrie access to 10 hours of interviews. The book is based on those interviews.
Harrison was a POW for 45 months in World War II and again in the Korean War for six months.
He was captured by the Japanese after the attack on Wake Island, spending nearly the whole war as a prisoner. He was later captured by the Chinese during the Korean War.
LaBrie enlisted McLaughlin’s assistance to write and research the biography. McLaughlin says her research included the book “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, along with many other influential titles.
“A Double Dose of Hard Luck” is available on Amazon, Apple iTunes, Google Play and Barnes and Noble. It is also available locally at the SPD Market in Nevada City.
As being an author is a first experience for LaBrie, he says it is still an education for him.
McLaughlin advises that those who want to be writers should write, “preferably every day,” she said.
“[Potential writers] also need to be passionate about [their] subject in order to remain motivated,” says McLaughlin.
McLaughlin says her family includes three generations of military veterans and active duty members, including her son, she said the writing process really showed her and LaBrie the “experiences of our soldiers, sailors and Marines and given us a much greater appreciation of the hardships both they and their families deal with everyday.”
Email student intern Bjorn Johnson at NCPCintern@theunion.com.