by AMY LEHRER | photos by Soul of Photography

Sharing insights

Six years after leaving Leucadia to pursue jobs, Dan Sheehan and his wife reprioritized their lives and returned. Leucadia’s child friendly atmosphere, compact community and ocean life beckoned. They love bumping into their son’s classmates around town, walking everywhere, smelling the sea breeze and watching the sun disappear behind the Pacific.

Dan graduated from Penn State University with a B.A. in International Politics, spent twelve years as a Marine Corps officer flying helicopter gunships and served as a forward air controller with a special operations unit. After two tours in Iraq, he left active duty and flew airplanes for a civilian company. Now Dan writes books and takes care of his two children as a stay-at-home dad.

Dan’s first book, After Action, which he self-published via CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, grew from a desire to organize, process and understand jumbled memories. Dan explained, “Processing my experiences through writing gave me a deeper understanding of a warrior’s burdens and put my own reactions into perspective.” After completing his fourth draft and volunteering with Semper Fi Odyssey, a nonprofit camp for wounded veterans transitioning from the service, he decided to publish his book. He revealed, “Once I recognized how common my experiences were among veterans and how my book’s message could help others, I decided to share it with as wide an audience as possible.” He also hopes his exploration of the veteran costs of war will help future leaders determine if impending conflicts are worth it.

After Action has been well received. “The feedback I’ve gotten from readers of After Action and my blog,” Dan disclosed, “has been immensely rewarding.” In addition, After Action received a “Starred Review” from Publisher’s Weekly, Dan was a guest on the NPR show Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, and appeared on U-T TV’s The Roger Hedgecock Show. Recently, After Action was selected as one of the five finalists for the 2013 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition For Best Indie Book.

Dan’s greatest challenge is staying balanced. Finding time to write is difficult, especially when his wife of eight years, also a former Marine helicopter pilot, travels for work. However, he doesn’t want to miss his kid’s childhood or forego fun activities like free diving, surfing, rock climbing and hiking either. He’s grateful for his wife’s help and the fact that she can refinish furniture, fix plumbing, lay flooring and install crown molding so he can pursue his own passions, including cooking.