Along The Watchtower

A powerful, original story about quintessential Army brat Lucinda Collins—a bold, spirited girl who must come face to face with the sacrifices of her military family.

Set against the closing years of the Cold War, Constance Squires’s debut novel introduces the family of Army Major Jack Collins, through the eyes of his headstrong eldest daughter Lucinda. While Major Collins defends his country from its foreign enemies, Lucinda must learn to steel herself against the chasms in her family, the strict regiments of life on a base, and her growing feelings of displacement and isolation. Finding her own tribe through rock and roll, she meets fellow Army brats, GI’s, a Nazi ghost, and Syd, who knows how it goes. But after her father’s final shocking betrayal, the only world she’s ever believed in falls like the Berlin Wall, leaving Lucinda to chart a new path.

In spare, heart-wrenchingly beautiful prose, Constance Squires offers us a rare glimpse into the experiences and sacrifices of an American military family. Along the Watchtower is a powerful story, vibrant and soaring, that reveals what it truly means to fight for the things we believe in and to defend the ones we love.

artwork by Liza Corbett, used with permission

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July 7 Book Release: Full Circle Books, 50 Penn Place, Oklahoma City 7:00 Map It
July 8 Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Arkansas 7:30 Map It
July 15 Leslie Powell Gallery, Lawton, Oklahoma 7:00 Map It
July 21 Pomagranate Books, Wilmington, North Carolina 7:00 Map It
July 19 Hub City Books, Spartanburg, South Carolina 5:30 Map It
July 20, 2011 WTKF “Viewpoints” Wilmington, NC 8:00 AM Map It
August 30, 2011 AMARILLO READS: A Conversation with Constance Squires 7:00 PM Map It
September 29, 2011 NPR Snap Judgment 8:00 PM Map It
October 22, 2011 Texas Book Fair 12:00-2:00 Map It
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I loved this book.  It made me laugh.  It made me cry.  I wanted to throw my arms around that hard-headed little military brat searching for roots in her rootless world.  In the end, she realizes what every survivor eventually does–no one is going to save you, you have to do it yourself.

Donna Musil, writer/director of the award-winning documentary "Brats: Our Journey Home"

In her debut novel, Squires, having grown up in a military family, provides an inside look at the life of an army brat. Teenaged Lucinda Collins lives on an army base in Germany in the post-Vietnam era. Her parents entered into a hasty marriage, and the ongoing strife of military life has eroded their fragile bond. Lucinda loves her father, but she detests the way he neglects his family. At school, all of the kids are constantly in transition; Lucinda meets a boy, Sydney, and falls in love within a few hours, but his family moves away three days later. Unable to form lasting ties, she discovers that rock ’n’ roll provides her with a context that can be transported anywhere. Though her family eventually splinters, her emotional toughness serves her well as she moves into adulthood. VERDICT A unique, compelling perspective on the dynamics of a military family, springing from the experience of someone who has been there.

Susanne Wells, The Library Journal

“Smart, funny, and beautifully written, Constance Squires’ wonderful first novel Along the Watchtower chronicles the untethered life of army brat Lucinda Collins and her on-the-brink military family. With muscular prose and richly observed detail, Squires recreates the era between two wars in an American military haunted by Vietnam, based in a resurgent Germany haunted by World War II.  Lucinda’s sassy, sometimes aching, always observant sensibility cuts to the heart of this rocketing, ricocheting, rollercoaster-ride discovery of self, the powerful forces that rock music holds, and the truth about where ‘home’ lies.  It’s a gripping, magical, swiftly compelling read. You’re going to love this book.”

Rilla Askew, award-winning author of The Mercy Seat, Fire In Beulah and Harpsong

“Set in 1980s West Germany and Lawton, Oklahoma, Constance Squires’s compelling debut novel takes both ghost story and soldier’s story and remyths these into a unique and fascinating hybrid.  With unforgettable characters and a well-crafted plot, Along the Watchtower puts the screws to the reader and turns them tighter and tighter.  Beautiful, brilliant, terrifying.”


Aaron Gwyn, author of Dog on the Cross and The World Beneath

“Constance Squires’ Along the Watchtower is an often-poignant rite-de-passage story of a daughter growing up in an Army family. Beginning on a military base in Germany in the early 1980s, Lucinda’s peripatetic tale closes during the Desert Storm era, in Oklahoma, where the family–splintered over time–is in a sense restored. Lucinda’s trajectory is accented with music and with acts of derring-do, but is also rife with ghosts and lost souls.”


Toni Graham, award-winning author of Daiquiri Girls and Waiting for Elvis

“…a debut novel that deftly uses fiction to tell an engaging tale of transient youth that no doubt is very close to her own…[Squires’s] tough heroine is likable and the epiphanies that bring Lucinda into adulthood…are satisfyingly real.”

Shelf Awareness

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Constance Squires is an Army brat born at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Dublin Quarterly, Identity Theory, New Delta Review, The Gingko Tree Review, Bayou, The Briar Cliff Review, The Arkansas Review, the Chiron Review and Eclectica and has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, named among storySouth’s Million Writers Award Notable Stories, and twice nominated for Best New American Voices. She was awarded the 2007 Matt Clark Prize for Fiction by the New Delta Review, the 2004 Bob Shacochis Award for the Short Story, The Briar Cliff Review 2004 Fiction Award, among others. Recent nonfiction has appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, Largehearted Boy, and on the NPR program “Snap Judgment.” Scholarly work has appeared in The Philological Review, and she has also published a textbook for English Composition and Research. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Oklahoma State University and teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma. She lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and daughter.