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Best Selling Author Michael Tougias Enjoying Life in Mendon

True stories of courage, survival, and tragedy at sea are what intrigue best-selling author Michael Tougias these days, not to mention his many readers. And now, the writer of 19 books and new Mendon resident, can add another harrowing account of endurance and bravery on the waters with his latest book, Rescue of The Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy.

Co-written by Tougias and Douglas Campbell , the novel recounts the HMS Bounty, the tall ship replica used in the 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty, which sailed into the path of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The raging waters caused the ship to overturn in the middle of the night sending the crew of 16 into the raging Atlantic Ocean, and thus, launching one of the most massive rescue efforts in Coast Guard history.

For the book, the authors performed countless interviews with the crew of the HMS Bounty, their family members, and the Coast Guard. Tougias says because his stories are true accounts, there's a tremendous responsibility to the survivors and others involved in his stories to get facts accurate. "There certainly is pressure to get it exactly as it happened," he said. "I think, how am I going to keep this accurate and keep the story fast paced for the reader? But I make certain people read their parts for accuracy."

Tougias was born in Longmeadow. He attended college at St. Michael's in Vermont and majored in business. Still, it wasn't until years later that he says he began his true career. "I turned to writing a little later in life," he said. "I should have known earlier I wanted to write. The big clue was that I was a voracious reader."

Several of Tougias' earlier books focus on exploring nature in and around Massachusetts and other parts of New England. However, his most recent books recount real-life tales of survival and tragedy on the high seas. The Finest Hours, which Tougias co-wrote with Casey Sherman, tells the tale of another daring rescue by the Coast Guard off the coast of New England in 1952. While a nor'easter raged on land, two oil tankers out at sea were fighting their own horrific storm and each split in two leaving dozens of men trapped. The book details the Coast Guard's attempt to rescue those men clinging to life.

And now, Disney is making The Finest Hours into a major motion picture. "It's really exciting," said the author. The screenplay is complete and now casting for the film is underway; Robert Schwentke will take the helm as director of the film. Tougias says it's been a very interesting process watching as his book evolves into a movie. He says screenwriters continue to involve him in the project to ensure details are precise. Filming is scheduled to begin in August and Tougias added, "They'll film a little in Massachusetts."

Not long ago, the author moved from Plymouth to Mendon. "It's been great living here," he said. As an avid outdoorsman, Tougias says he loves to hike and ride his bike in his spare time. "I love that there's still a lot of open space in this town" he said. "It's one of the things that brought me here."




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