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AOTW- Artie Van Why

Artie Van Why

About the Author:

Originally from Maryland, Artie Van Why moved to New York City in November of 1977 to pursue an acting career; albeit a slightly successful one.

Artie left show business in 1988 to enter the corporate world; as a word processor. He worked for the same law firm in midtown Manhattan for thirteen years. In June of 2001, his firm moved to other quarters downtown, across from the World Trade Center. Artie was at work the morning of September 11th, and witnessed the horror of that day from the streets.

He quit his job after three weeks of being back at his office's building near what was now called Ground Zero. He began writing about his experience of that day and the days and weeks following, giving a vivid accounting of what it was like to be in New York City on that day in September, and afterwards. He sent some of his writings to friends and family via emails, and they, in turn, forwarded them to their friends and family. In a short period of time people across the country were reading Artie's emails. He began receiving emails from people expressing their gratitude in being given a glimpse of what it was like to be in New York City during that time. He was encouraged to keep writing, and he did. Led by a personal conviction to tell his story of 9/11, Artie returned to his theatrical beginnings and began adapting his writings into a script. Laboring over draft after draft, Artie wanted to create a work he could share with people across the country.

*For more about this author you can read the full bio at Goodreads.

Interview with Artie Van Why

Artie Van Why is author of the book, That Day In September. A novel about his account of the attack on the World Trade Center and the time following afterwards.

HP: Hello, Artie! Would you care to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Artie Van Why: I am 58; living now in Lancaster PA since September of 2003.  I moved here to be closer to my folks (who had retired here).  That move was directly a result of having lived through 9/11.  Before that, I lived in NYC for 26 years; having moved there originally to be an actor.  I ultimately stopped chasing that dream and joined the professional world as a word processor for a law firm.  Had I not made that move I probably wouldn’t have been downtown the morning of 9/11.

HP: I have to ask, before your novel That Day In September, have you ever had interest in writing or having a novel published?

Artie Van Why: Though I’d always liked to write my first serious writing assignment was to adapt a well-known children’s book/record/TV special, of the 80’s.  I spent a year on the project only to have it canned after a very successful backer’s audition; from which we had gotten a company interested in financing it.  I was young… still somewhat na├»ve… and terribly discouraged from that experience.  I didn’t really write seriously after that.

HP: Can you tell us a little about, That Day In September?

Artie Van Why: It started out as an email that I wrote to family and friends the morning of 9/12/2001.  I had received so many phone messages and emails from people there was no way I could contact everyone individually.  So I sat down to write just a brief “I’m okay” email to send and ended up describing in detail what I had witnessed the day before.

I continued writing about that day and the weeks following.  In January of 2002 I took all I had written and adapted it into a one man theater piece (also titled That Day In September) which I performed in LA and Off Broadway in NYC.

HP: Why did you feel the need to publish this novel?

Artie Van Why: I was hoping to be able to continue doing the play across the country for at least 5 years, but after the New York run in August of 2003 all the doors, that might have opened to that possibility, closed.  That’s when I moved to Lancaster.

I still felt it was important for me to continue to tell my story and I was able to through various speaking opportunities.  When those offers stopped coming I still wanted my story out there.  That’s when I thought of adapting the play into the book That Day In September.

HP: What was it like writing this novel, reliving your experiences of that day and the ones that followed?

Artie Van Why: Well the writing of the book was very easy.  The book is basically the script of the play; with some added material.  Now when I was initially writing, the months after 9/11, it was actually very cathartic; a very helpful way of dealing with PTSD.

HP: What do you hope the readers glean from reading your account of the events on and following September 11th 2001?

Artie Van Why: The book, for me, is my tribute to those who died that day.  I always regard it as my small contribution to assure that we never forget.  I hope the book might give its readers an idea of what it was like to be in NY during that time.  I hope it might also help those who are old enough to remember to reflect on their own experience of that day.  The one thing I have come to realize after the past years is that we all have a story of 9/11; no matter where we were.  We were all affected.

HP: How is your life today and how do you think the events of September 11th affected your future?

Artie Van Why: The person I was on Monday, September 10, 2001, no longer is.  My life changed forever that day.  The way I look at life, the decisions I’ve made, my relationships; everything about me was affected because of that day in September.  I left the city I loved to be with the parents I love.  It has only been since the beginning of this year that I have become to move past the isolation of grief and mourning; into once again living life.  But that is for another book…….

HP: Where can we purchase That Day In September?

Artie Van Why: It’s available on, Barnes and Noble’s website and

HP: Do you have anything to say to readers?

Artie Van Why: Only to please never forget.

HP: Is there anything you wish you could change or add to, That Day In September, if you could today?

Artie Van Why: Nothing I would change or add to it.  But I do believe there’s another book to be written about the years since 9/11.

HP: Thank you so much for being here with us today, Artie and talking about your novel.

Books by Artie Van Why
That Day In September

Commercial on YouTube

Also find Artie at:

Artie Van Why has offered to giveaway a copy of, That Day In September in either paperback or eBook (mobi, ePub, PDF, Word) to one (1) winner.

Book Description:

"We all have our stories to tell of where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. This is one of them. In "That Day In September" Artie Van Why gives an eyewitness account of that fateful morning. From the moment he heard "a loud boom" in his office across from the World Trade Center, to stepping out onto the street, Artie vividly transports the reader back to the day that changed our lives and our country forever. "That Day In September" takes you beyond the events of that morning. By sharing his thoughts, fears and hopes, Artie expresses what it was like to be in New York City in the weeks and months following. The reader comes away from "That Day In September" with not only a more intimate understanding of the events of that day but also with a personal glimpse of how one person's life was dramatically changed forever."

Giveaway Details:
  • Giveaway is open to US & Canada
  • Giveaway will run from August 29th 2011 - September 11th 2011
  • The winner will be chosen randomly on September 12th 2011
  • The winner will have 48 hours to contact back before another winner will be chosen.
  • One entry per-person please!
  • If you enter, you are acknowledging that you read and accept the giveaway/contest policy.
  • Giveaway is provided by the author. 

To Enter:


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