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Bestselling author J. Denison Reed talks about his book ‘Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground’

Bestselling author J. Denison Reed chatted about his book “Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground.”

J. Denison Reed
Bestselling author J. Denison Reed. Photo Credit: Jennifer James
Bestselling author J. Denison Reed. Photo Credit: Jennifer James

Bestselling author J. Denison Reed chatted about his book “Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground.”

J. Denison Reed was born in New Jersey, and he lives in Virginia with his wife, children and their cats Spencer and Guster.

Ever since he was a child, he enjoyed creating short stories and poems. He joined the Army after graduating high school which started his career as a Network Engineer.

With story-telling always on his mind, J. Denison would write very short and creative, two paragraph stories or short poems in station logs, work logs and trouble tickets purely for others amusement.

In addition to writing, J. Denison enjoys other creative outlets like photography and making candles. He even co-owns a small candle company with his wife.

Synopsis of ‘Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground’

The synopsis of this award-winning action novel is: Private investigator and military veteran Clifford Dee finds himself in deep trouble. After accepting jobs from an unrelenting local Mafia boss, Clifford is promoted from PI to hitman… without the option to refuse.

His envious arch-rival will do anything to take Clifford down a peg and earn back the favor of the mob, even if it means paying the ultimate price.

To find a way out of the Mafia’s clutches, Clifford must make friendships and alliances in the most unlikely of places, and hopefully escape with his life intact.


Every book has a story about its creation, what’s the story behind ‘Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground’?

While on the road as an IT contractor in Northern Virginia, I drove past an old church near Culpepper, VA. The Church, named the Fleetwood Church, has a bit of history and I believe it is being restored and is now listed as a historical site.

At the time, I had no idea but thought it was a very interesting landmark, so I decided to take a closer look. I had a camera with me and started snapping pictures from the side of the road. While onlooking, millions of thoughts came fluttering in.

One thought was of someone stuck inside, trapped by killers. After a while, I forgot about the pictures and the church itself. It wasn’t until I started looking through the camera again when I came across those pictures and the thoughts came fluttering back.

That church and the crazy thoughts inspired the very first chapter of Bluegrass Battleground. I photoshopped the photo to make it appear more ominous, and used it on the back cover of the book. To this day, It’s one of my favorite things about the book.

A good story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. ‘Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground’ includes all of them and more. What is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone and creating this kind of magic?

Finding a process: Being creative is not easy. You may get creative ideas, creative thoughts, or inspirations. If you don’t have a process to make those creative things happen, then you have nothing.

A process could be writing something every day or once a week. It could be taking notes, or making time for research to write about later. As long as you stick to a process that works, you will be successful in your writing.

Another key is re-writing and editing. You wrote a story, Great! Read it, Re-write to fix plot-holes and other errors, have it professionally edited. Try reading your dialog out loud. Does it sound like how your character would speak? No? Edit it.

While writing this book did you learn anything new about yourself?

Writing takes a tremendous amount of patience. I found out that I am impatient and writing is really helping me with that.

This may be hard to answer but I have to ask… Who is your favorite character in ‘Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground’? And why does this character resonate so much with you?

My Favorite (Truly) fictional character is Sara. She is funny, witty, smart, and is one of Clifford’s best friends. She is like a little sister to him and would do anything for him. I think if she were real, she would be a blast to be around.

Clifford is loosely based on a few of my former Army buddies. I like to borrow pieces of different personalities to create characters. Daniel, Bailey, and Marlon are based on real (singular) people so I am going to exclude them to avoid favoritism.

You are a rather prolific writer with a lot of fans. Do you have another book in the works you can tell us about?

My first big solo publication is an anthology of short stories and poems, only available on Amazon. It is very raw and unedited. I was thinking about doing a more polished re-release, but decided against it. I feel that it would be neat to keep it as-is to show where I started in comparison to where I am now (and going).

The sequel to “Clifford’s War: Bluegrass Battleground” is also available. It’s called “Clifford’s War: Without End.”

In this novel, Clifford is now in Northern Virginia, working out of, and around Washington D.C. This continuation of the first starts fast, with Clifford in peril, and ends with an unexpected twist. There are a few scenes in this story that will literally leave you holding your breath.

What’s your favorite drink that you like to toast with after finishing up a new book?

I am a whiskey guy, bourbon to be exact. When I am completely finished, with re-writes and final edits done, I will send the manuscript off and toast with a nice glass of high end bourbon.

His bestselling book “Clifford’s War: The Bluegrass Battleground” is available on Amazon by clicking here.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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