Guest Authors

Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates Book Tour & Giveaway!

Finding Billy Battles Banner

Finding Billy Battles

Title:  Finding Billy Battles

Author:  Ronald E. Yates

Published:  November 26th, 2013

Publisher:  Xlibris

Word Count:  127,000

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Adventure

Recommended Age:  17+

Synopsis: Western Kansas 1860. Billy Battles is born on a remote homestead just off the storied Santa Fe Trail. More than one hundred years later a great-grandson inherits two trunks filled with Billy’s personal effects.

In those trunks are several secret journals that reveal an astonishing life of adventure and violence that until now was obscured by the haze of time and Billy’s desire for secrecy. The journals tell of a man both haunted and hunted who, in a desperate search for peace and redemption, journeys far from the untamed American West to the Far East, South America, and Europe. In amazing detail they describe Billy’s interaction with a wide assortment of men and women–some legendary, a few iniquitous, and many lost to history. They also recount his participation in such cataclysmic events as the Spanish-American War, turmoil in French Indochina, and violent revolutions in Mexico and South America.

Complying with Billy’s last request the great-grandson assembles the journals into a compelling trilogy that reveals a man often trapped and overwhelmed by circumstances beyond his control, but who nevertheless manages to persevere for ten decades.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Ronald E Yates

About the Author:

Ronald E. Yates is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Dean Emeritus of the College of Media at the University of Illinois where he was also a Professor of Journalism.

He is the author of Finding Billy Battles, the first in a trilogy of novels published Nov. 2013 and The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. His books also include Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey Through Japan, a collection of columns translated into Japanese, as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a Global Economy.

Yates lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in Japan, Southeast Asia and Latin America where he covered several major stories including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia in 1975, the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy in Beijing, and revolutions in Nicaragua, El Salvador an Guatemala. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.


Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • Two print copies of Finding Billy Battles (US & Canada only)
  • Three eBook copies of Finding Billy Battles (INT)

Rafflecopter Widget Code:

<a id=”rc-28b5da81″ href=”” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

<script src=”//”></script>

Rafflecopter Widget Link:

Keep Calm and Answer These Twenty-Three Question

1. Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been? I do. During my 27 years as a foreign correspondent I acquired a great respect for the English language and how to use it. If the computer is the hammer for a writer then words are the nails. It took me a while to understand words and to cultivate a love for them. But now there is no greater satisfaction for me than finding just the right word or phrase to make a scene special.

2. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in N.E. Kansas and I grew up on a farm and in a small town called Greenleaf.

3. What is your favorite football team? The Kansas City Chiefs

4. Who is your favorite author? A toss-up between John Steinbeck and Evelyn Waugh

5. What is your favorite book? Once again, a toss-up between The Grapes of Wrath and Scoop.

6. What do you do when you are not writing? I read. I do research for my books. I read. I take long introspective walks. I read. I swim. I read.

7. Do you have a day job as well? Writing is my day job. Now that I have left professional journalism and academia for Southern California I finally have the time to write as much and as long as I want each day. What a blessing!

 8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?  Don’t let anybody discourage you from pursuing this work if it is really what you want to do. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. You must believe in yourself, your ideas, your stories. If you don’t, who will? Certainly not that dense editor who couldn’t see your potential or grasp your book’s storyline

9. Is being a writer a curse or a gift? It is a wonderful gift if you allow the process to come to you and don’t force it. However, don’t let anybody tell you it is not damned hard work. It is. The joy of writing for me is telling a good story. I don’t care about any “message.” I don’t care about creating any hidden “meanings” that some literature professor will profess to discern before a creative writing class someday when I am no longer around to rebut him/her. I just want to tell a good story. That, to me, is the ultimate gift of writing.

10. Where do you write? I have taken over the upstairs bonus room in our house. It is about 500 square feet. In it I have my rather prodigious library, a good sound system for playing classical music, a large screen TV for watching sports, the Discovery, History, and National Geographic channels when I need a break from writing. My window looks out onto a plant and boulder-strewn foothill that rises in front of my house. Another window looks down onto the Temecula valley some 2,000 feet below. It is quiet and soothing. Couldn’t have a better place to write.

11. Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write? I listen to Mozart, Haydn, Telemann, William Boyce, and Beethoven. Classical music brings out the muse in me.

12. What do you typically drink while writing? Very cold iced tea.

13. What challenges have you had in regards to your writing life? When I was a working journalist for the Chicago Tribune and then a Dean and professor of journalism at the University of Illinois, I could never find large enough blocks of time to write consistently. Writing requires HUGE amounts of time and long periods of seclusion–things most of us don’t have.

14. When did you first start and when did you finish your book? I started the first book in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy in 2010, but I wasn’t consistent in working on it. I really buckled down in the spring of 2013 and probably wrote 60% of it in about five months.

15. If your book is made into a movie, which actors/actresses do you envision playing the parts? Clint Eastwood as the elderly Billy Battles; Clive Owen as the middle aged Billy Battles and Ashton Kutcher as the young Billy Battles. I would pick Saffron Burrows for Billy’s first love, Mallie McNab and Famke Janssen for the widow Katarina Schreiber who Billy meets on the boat to the Far East. (Why these choices? They are all tall and Billy is 6’3″ and Mallie is about 5’10,” as is the statuesque widow Schreiber).

 16. What does your protagonist think of you? Would he/she want to hang out with you? I think Billy Battles and I would be good friends. We are both journalists and we both like going to new places and experiencing new challenges. And we both enjoy a good cold beer after a long hard day.

17. How do you market your book? What avenues work best? I am still learning how to use the vast universe of social media to market my book. In addition to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, of course, my book is on Goodreads, Smashwords, Google Books, Createspace, NetGalley, Independent Book Publishers Association, as well as the Historical Novel Society, by blog, my author page on Facebook and the book’s website. Jaidis and Juniper Grove marks the first time I have ever done a Virtual Book Tour. I am eager to see how that goes.

18. What has been the toughest criticism so far? None, so far. Though it is still early in the process.

19. What has been the best compliment? “Ever have a book that takes over your days and nights – that’s what Finding Billy Battles did for me.” From an Amazon review by author Martin Henley

20. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? That’s tricky. I call my work “Faction,” because it is both fact and fiction. Some of the events in the book–especially those dealing with real people, did happen. Was my character directly involved in them? No. But members of my family were native Kansans and some of the experiences I write about did happen. Of course, I have woven some of my own experiences into the story line also.

 21.  How did you come up with the title? I had been trying to think of a title for years. I didn’t like any of them. Then one day, this one just jumped out of my brain and into the computer and Finding Billy Battles was born.

22. Will there be a sequel? This is the first book in a trilogy of books that deal with Billy Battles life story. Book One is centered in Kansas, Colorado and other places in the American West. Book Two takes Billy to the Far East–French Indochina, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.–places I spent a lot of my life.

23. What project are you working on now? Book #2 in the Finding Billy Battles series AND I am getting together reams of notes for when I finally decide to write about own life as war correspondent.

Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and Laugh–a lot! It’s good for the mind and body.


The following two tabs change content below.


  1. Pingback: LIVE Book Tour – Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates

  2. Ronald,
    Great interview! I like your QB since I’m a 49ers fan.
    That’s a great compliment you received from Martin Henley!
    Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie recently posted…Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates Book Tour & Giveaway!My Profile

    • Thank you Kristy….the Chiefs got a great QB in Smith. Now if the team can only make it to the Super Bowl!

      Yes, that review from Martin Henley was uplifting to say the least. So far all Amazon reviews have been good and only two are from people I actually know.

      I appreciate your support!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge
Follow Me


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: