Anthony Sardina spent 22 years in the Army as an infantryman and served during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, but it was a lifelong love of English, poetry and drama that set the Richmond Hill resident on a mission to write a novel.
Sardina, who retired from the military in 2013, recently self-published a thriller, “Manifest” and called the effort as much about finishing what one starts as anything else.
“My overall objective in this endeavor has never been fame or fortune, but to complete what I started out to do,” he said. “My only true goal in the process is to see if I was capable of seeing it all the way through.”
The novel, which is available for download from a number of websites, is a murder mystery and thriller set in Savannah over a three-day period.
As an avid reader himself, Sardina hopes readers will give it a try.
“I love to read. I always have,” he said. “There are several books that I have even reread over the years since it has been decades since I read them the first time.”
As for genres, Sardina seems to be a fan of thrillers.
“I enjoy short, fast chapters that end in a fashion that makes the reader absolutely have to read the next one,” he said. “My all-time favorite author is Stephen King, with James Patterson a very close second. I would often complete a good James Patterson ‘Alex Cross’ novel in one sitting. As I worked on ‘Manifest,’ I tried to use Patterson’s short, fast-chapter concept, mixed with the eeriness and creepiness of some of Stephen King’s greatest novels.”
With Sardina’s first book complete, he already has a second book in the works. Writing seems almost therapeutic for the former infantryman.
“I (write) basically as a hobby or a coping mechanism,” Sardina said. “I found that when I was dealing with long, lonely times away from my family, I found solace in my writing. I would use it to escape.”
Sardina said he did most of his work on “Manifest” during his transition from active duty to retirement and then a job with Caesarstone.
Most of “Manifest” was done here.
“I did 90 percent of my writing at my home in Richmond Hill,” he said. “While I was on vacation, I would wake every day when my wife got up for work. I would get to ‘work.’ It was a bit challenging forcing myself to focus, since I was also seeking employment during this same timeframe.”
The book is just the latest in a long line of achievements for Sardina, who grew up in Ashland, Massachusetts, near Boston, and joined the Army in 1991. After high school, he enlisted in the infantry. Duty stations around the globe followed over a career that included a number of deployments with combat units as part of the war on terror.
“The most rewarding assignment of my career was when I served as a drill sergeant, having been given the responsibility of training young men to become infantrymen at Fort Benning,” Sardina said.
He retired in February 2013 after finishing his career as first sergeant of Operations Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division on Fort Stewart. It was then that he, his wife and sons Alexander and Adrian decided to call Bryan County home.
“My wife, Maria, and I immediately fell in love with the Richmond Hill area … we decided to stay,” Sardina said.
“She stood by my side and continued to give me strength during the most challenging of assignments.”