Michael D. Durkota, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. His debut novel, Once in a Blue Year, follows two friends during the Persian Gulf War as they struggle with their navy service, adulthood, and relationships. Durkota lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his wife. He is currently working on his second novel.
“A bold debut, filled with unforgettable moments and characters.” — Kirkus Reviews
Top Medalist – Psychological Suspense – New Apple e-Book Awards
Top Medalist – Military – New Apple Book Awards
Finalist – Fiction-Military – Readers’ Favorite
Finalist – First Novel – IAN Book of the Year Awards
Finalist – General Fiction – IAN Book of the Year Awards
Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through different points of view in both present action and flashbacks, the story follows Dan, who is conflicted about receiving a medical discharge, and Trevor, who is seething with anger over the incident that forced him to miss his deployment.
With nowhere else to go, Dan moves into the home of his friends Nathan and Heather and their young son, James. Meanwhile, Trevor is furious with Nathan, who has managed to volunteer to go to battle in Trevor’s place. But Trevor’s hotheaded temperament has finally caught up to him, and regardless of his skill as a true naval warrior, he’s suddenly been ordered to “stay in.”
In Nathan’s absence, Dan is charged with looking after Heather and James as he rebuilds his life, while Trevor struggles with his anger and intimacy issues in his relationship with girlfriend Tara. But before they can move forward, they must both come to terms with the fateful event at sea that changed their lives forever.
“In this lyrical debut novel, the lives of two U.S. Navy men take dramatic turns after they’re cut from a submarine mission during the Gulf War… Debut author Durkota writes a remarkable narrative centered on the afflicted mindsets of his Navy men… And while Durkota’s work often feels like a thriller, it’s more of a psychological study in which the characters, like flashes of lightning, are wonderfully alive for a very short time.” — Kirkus Reviews