Book Giveaway & Author Interview: That Day In September by Artie Van Why

Welcome to Author Artie Van Why.


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.

During this time, he met famed actor, Richard Masur, through a mutual friend. Richard had done weeks of volunteer work at Ground Zero during the weeks of rescue and recovery. With Richard’s help, Artie put the final touches on the script and produced a staged reading of what was now a one man play called “That Day in September” in New York City. The reading was a success, a sold out evening. With Richard now involved as director, the first mounted production of “That Day In September” premiered on the campus of California Lutheran University, in Thousand Oaks, California, shortly after the one year anniversary of September 11th. The play then moved to the Celebration Theater in Los Angeles, where it opened to critical acclaim.

Back in New York, Artie mounted a workshop production of “That Day In September,” in preparation for a New York run. In August of 2003 “That Day in September” opened Off Broadway for a limited run.

After the New York production, in September of 2003, Artie moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he now resides.

Still compelled to tell his story of 9/11, Artie shared his experience of that day for churches, civic groups and as the key speaker in a series of conferences on PTSD for Drexel University.

The response garnered from those speaking opportunities encouraged Artie to do whatever he could to preserve the memory of 9/11 in people’s minds. To that end he self-published “That Day In September” as a book adaptation in 2006.


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Definitely would go back to talk to myself when I was a teenager. I would tell that young boy that it does get better and that none of the things I think are important then will matter years from now.

What is one book everyone should read?
Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate Marshmallow

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Jesus Christ.

Night owl, or early bird?
In-between bird.

One food you would never eat?
Boiled cauliflower.

Skittles or M&Ms?
Either one… depends on which I feel like at the time.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
To have a glimpse into what it was like to be standing in front of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I do think there is another book to be written; the “part two” to my story. It would be about PTSD and learning to live life after experiencing a trauma.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I never really considered myself a writer until this book. Up till then I was just “a person who likes to write”. What made me become a writer is that I felt compelled to put down into words what it was I had experienced on 9/11 and the weeks and months afterwards. It was therapeutic to be sure. But it also gave me something to hang on to that made any kind of sense after the senselessness of 9/11. It was important for me to tell my story. To do whatever I could to assure we would never forget.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
People telling me how the book has touched them.

What is your dream cast for your book?
Well, since the most significant character is myself, I’d say Brad Pitt of course!

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
The Hardy Boys books. I devoured them.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write about something you care about.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
Victorian London.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

What is your favorite Quote?
“One day at a time”

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
An actor.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Johnny Deep. He is an actor who I’m sure could convey the angst I went through for many years.

How did you know you should become an author?
I thought that more than becoming an author that I had a book that I wanted (and perhaps needed) people to read.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Usually whoever I’m reading at the time; if it’s a book I get lost in. But I’ve probably read Stephen King the most of any authors. The man does know how to tell a story!

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Live life “one day at a time.”

Favorite Food?
Almost anything Italian.

Favorite Candy?

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
“The Iron Lady”

How do you react to a bad review?
It bums me out for about a day.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
Something for my folks.

What do you do in your free time?
Read and watch movies and spend time with my significant other.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
I have a title in mind, if I ever decide to write the book myself, but will keep it to myself for now.

Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.
Trust me… it’s boring.

What’s your favorite season/weather?

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Living through, and surviving, 9/11.

That Day In September

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:
Since the 10th anniversary is fast approaching Artie is giving away 10 copies of his book That Day In September.
Paperback copies are available to the US – Ebooks are available to those not in the US
Ends 9/1/11

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