Carlsbad military wife releases novel on PTSD


A Carlsbad author who was married to a Purple Heart Vietnam veteran fighting post-traumatic stress disorder shares her story in a novel, “Keep Forever,” released earlier this year.

“The book was inspired by my Vietnam veteran who took his own life in 2011 after an auto accident we were involved in triggered a PTSD episode,” said author Alexa Kingaard.

In the novel, Kingaard gives an up-close account of a family dealing with the unseen wounds of a Vietnam veteran and his decadeslong battle with PTSD.

Although the story is fictional, it is based on Kingaard’s experience seeing her husband’s emotional turmoil after returning from the Vietnam War.

“He had suffered for years, and like most who fought this war kept his feelings well below the surface and spoke infrequently of his anguish,” said Kingaard, who was subsequently divorced from her husband.

The history for the book began in 1969, six months after his return from Vietnam and covers the years of raising their two children and watching them share their father’s burden during their childhood and decades beyond.

After the suicide of her ex-husband, Kingaard joined the Veterans Writing Group, which meets the first Saturday of the month at the Veterans Association of North County resource center in Oceanside.

The group, mostly Vietnam veterans, got together to open up about their painful stories.

“They watched over me in a sense while I struggled to write a novel that would be worthy of the bravery and valor of all our servicemen and women,” Kingaard said.

Kingaard said she felt compelled to tell the story for others who could relate to the battle combat veterans and families face on the homefront.

“This story is not just about Vietnam, or PTSD, or struggles of a wounded warrior,” Kingaard said. “It is also about the next generation who experience this conflict through the eyes of their father and it is about a fierce loyalty to family values, and love that endures a lifetime no matter what the challenges.”

Kingaard will hold a book signing from 3 to 5 p.m. May 20 at the Green Dragon Tavern and Museum in the Book Store and Coffee Shop, 6115 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad.