To be released July 14, 2022
Undeterred: How one determined Vietnamese orphan carved out a place for himself in America
(July 12, Newport Beach, California)
In the nine years that author Bruce Carlin worked with his CFO Long, he'd heard bits of gossip from his other employees about Long's story. An orphaned boy had come to camp Pendleton with his older brother near the end of the Vietnam War. It came to Carlin in comments like, "did you know Long had been in foster care?" or "Long started investing his junior year of high school." These snippets intrigued Carlin, but he never really had the time, nor did Long, for deeper conversations. That changed when Carlin sold his company, and the pair stayed on for a year to assist with the transition.
"We had time on our hands. Until then, our conversations were mostly about how our kids were doing in school or the weather. Ultimately we focused on work. I just wanted to get to know him better. Once we started talking every day. I knew his story was one I couldn't pass over." Carlin said of the moment he found his story.
Having never written anything except for fun, he started recording their conversations, learning of the neglect and abuse Long suffered in foster care. Ultimately, Long realized he was on his own and would have to support himself and a family one day. Teaching himself how to invest while working as a janitor in his junior year of high school, Long built himself a fortune, securing a comfortable life for himself and his family. Carlin was amazed by Long; he could have gone another way. Yet despite everything has been so successful.
"Immigration-related stories are needed more than ever. Because immigration is about resilience and trusting in a new future," Andrea Davis Pinkney, VP, executive editor, Scholastic, recently told Publishers Weekly why immigrant stories are essential.
As Carlin pulled the pieces from Long, he realized how much trust it took to tell his story. Long is a quiet man who will talk you to death about the stock market but is reserved and protective of his private life. One day Carlin asked him, "Can I write a book about you?" Long agreed, with some caveats, "You can't use my last name, and I want it called Blending In." Complying, Carlin started the biography, now called Undeterred, both deciding it was a catchier title.
In the year they spent getting to know each other better and building a real friendship, not just employer and employee, Carlin realized he was frustrated that he had known so little about Long over the last decade. He recognized early on that this was indeed a story you come across once in a lifetime.
"Immigrants make this country great," Carlin said, of why he wanted this story told. "The diversity of backgrounds, values, and talents blend to make the United States a robust society. We are not of one origin. We are a melting pot of beautiful differences. Yet, we are the same. Long is one of these immigrants, and Undeterred is his story."
Long's story had gaps, as he couldn't remember every event in exactness that had happened when he was young. However, Carlin took the opportunity to be creative, part narrative nonfiction and part biography. Undeterred: How one determined Vietnamese orphan carved out a place for himself in America weaves a captivating story through the cinematic tale of Long's life. A true coming to America story leaves the reader satisfied with the resilience and fortitude of the book's subject.