It's Christmas in the killing fields of Vietnam, and Corporal Scott Taylor calls his men together and hands out mail from a school back home, unaware the card he opens will change his life forever. 'I heard about the mail from school students that got sent to the soldiers serving in Vietnam,' shares Carole. 'I realised there was a story I wanted to tell and Loving Summer was born!'
Loving Summer is Carole Brungar's fourth Vietnam-themed novel. She believes there are many more Vietnam stories yet to be told. 'I'm enjoying doing my small part to help keep the memories of our participation in this war alive. There are just as many stories to come out of Vietnam as there are from previous world wars, and very few New Zealanders are writing about them.'
As an ex-journalist Brungar spends many hours researching to make sure her novels are historically accurate. 'I spent some time researching the communes and communities in New Zealand in the 60s and 70s and found there were quite a large number. They all ran a little differently, but with similar ideologies. I also found that the lifestyle of those living in communities was transient, people moved from community to community whenever they wanted and many only had what they could fit in a bag or car. That seemed like the perfect lifestyle for my heroine.'
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