- GUEST AUTHOR & VETERAN -
Today, I interview a very enterprising author and Veteran.
Welcome, Scott ....
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I am the son of missionary parents who grew up traveling across the country and through Latin America. Having attended thirteen schools in twelve years in places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chicago, and in East Tennessee, my experience with diverse cultures engaged early and continued on.
The journey continued for another twenty-five years when I joined the U.S. Army in 1980 and retired in 2005. Under five Presidents, I served in Berlin when the wall still stood, was deployed during Operation Desert Storm, and was deployed three times to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Everything I mentioned above (the journey) provided the backdrop for my interest in telling my stories through writing.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I started writing shortly after retiring from the Army in 2007. I began by self-publishing on CreateSpace with another experienced author. After that book, I began my solo journey.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
The story idea begins in my head. Then, I’ll gather some research material to have at my side for reference and then I dive right in, “shooting from the hip” as I go along.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Developing characters that otherwise do not exist or, exist in a mixture of real people. Taking them through exciting experiences and giving them different options as to how they will respond.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Sometimes I’ll get to a certain point in a story when I come up with a “better idea”. So, I’ll put that story aside and begin another. Currently, I am writing one that excites me. The down side is that I have three others partially written…sitting on the shelf.
6. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I wrote a short non-fiction coming-of-age devotional that won first place in the non-fiction category with “Turning The Pages” in 2017. I’ve also had a couple of letters published in Time magazine.
7. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
An Apocalyptic novel. Here’s the blurb:
“Devastation comes to planet earth. A neutron bomb hits Budapest and releases a deadly virus that instantly wipes out the entire human population of its three million inhabitants. This was only the beginning. Besides this new kind of virus spreading its destructive force across Europe, destroying humans in its path, record hailstorms, violent earthquakes, and massive wildfires ravage the continents across the globe. In the middle of the turmoil, are the three superpowers’ and one mysterious nation’s secret army of humanoids-immune to the fatal virus-and Asha Hawkins, the American who was biologically rebuilt with the same cybernetic attributes as the humanoids. Making immediate plans for food and shelter to protect herself from natural animals and artificial cyborgs, Asha searches the one humanoid she can trust…the one she helped re-create. Her name is Cyrix. Cut off from human contact, Asha struggles for survival and seeks God for divine deliverance. Is she the last human on earth?”
8. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
For life in general, my faith in God, family, and the purpose. I’d like to think that my purpose includes sharing the words through extraordinary stories, some of which are based on my personal experiences and God’s revelation.
9. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I have written most all genres, with a caveat. For example, although I have written a romance novel, it was not erotica. I tend to stay away from areas I know very little about, such as LBGT topics.
10. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Begin with your platform, have a mission statement and purpose, and write what you know, what you are comfortable with, or what you are passionate about. And finally, never give up.
11. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Nope, whenever I can find the time.
12. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
No, not really. Wherever I can find the appropriate place at the appropriate time.
13. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Putting down thoughts in writing and having others compliment what you wrote. It is an affirmation from others that what I am doing is acceptable and approved.
14. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
No one particular author is my favorite although Alistair MacLean was one who wrote books that I was digesting one after another as a high schooler. So, maybe he’s an early favorite.
15. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I have received many compliments such as those written in reviews, such as: “This book is an interesting trip through the life of a man who has served his country and his God in a meaningful way. Each encounter seemed to express the joy of submitting to God and watching the adventure unfold.”
16. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I have received one critique like this one: “I was expecting a little more excitement from the hype of the premis “A solder who did three combat tours”. It should have read” A soldier who constantly prays that God will intervene in his favor in every single life decision and who worked in pogue rear echelon jobs while deployed to Iraq” It was a boring read, but thankfully a short one.”
He sounded bitter as well as clueless to me.
17. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Definitely. See the response to #1. I left details out, such as, my time in Berlin with the KGB; and the time in Iraq behind the capture of Saddam Hussein, for example.
18. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Spending time with family. I go to my grandsons’ baseball and soccer games and enjoy trips with all my grandkids whenever we go to Disney World, which is often since we are annual members.
19. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Some of them yes and some of them no. However, I would highly recommend it. It is the best idea. Be careful though. Sometimes the “professionals” are not all that great…but are costly.
20. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
A nice, cool, sunny day that allots for time with the family, and then time alone with my wife.
21. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My wife, Trena. We’ve been together for 38 years now. She has stuck by me through thick and thin.
22. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
“You all can do whatever you plan to do with your schemes, but the bottom line is that God will have the final say and all of your plans will come to nothing. Only God can bring true peace to the world.”
23. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Generate enough income to survive these days and leave a legacy to my children and grandchildren. How I go about this is yet to be determined.
24. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
My book trailers have not made any difference in sales. I think the video is the future though.
25. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes, partially. A little in each, a mixture. Vulnerable but an overcomer through grit, determination, and faith.
26. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Very much so. I have had bad experiences with self-publishing companies that mostly want their “hands in my pockets”.
27. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Oh yes, many times because of poor ROI’s. However, I keep going simply for the love of writing.
28. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
My favorite completed one was Love In The House Of War, a story of a Green Beret rescuing an Afghan girl from the Taliban. The girl was fathered by a Soviet officer. The two fall in love and escape through the Hindu Kush while the Al-Qaeda led forces hunt them down.
The one I am working on now might be my new favorite.
29. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
That definition will vary from writer to writer. Having a steady income would certainly be nice, but rare. Although revenue is a good metric (Observe J.K. Rowling and Stephen King) it is highly unlikely to obtain such a status, at least for me anyway.
30. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
They should walk away feeling confident that good will always triumph over evil no matter what the circumstances. You can overcome and your story matters.
31. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
I would love for many of my books to be on movies. I have not written any screenplays.
32. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
For me, quite a bit because I am attracted to a book at a book store initially by its cover. I have gone back and forth with many book cover artists. I have also experimented with a couple of my own.
33. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
As far as books are concerned, having a book on the NY Times Best seller list. For life in general, leaving a solid legacy, spiritually and financially to my kids and grandkids.
34. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I wish I knew the secret to marketing and branding. I have tried it all but have not been successful in this area. I’ll keep trying though.
35. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Yes they are. I have used CreateSpace, Draft2Digital, iUniverse, Tate, Creativia, and am currently with Indie United Publishing House (IUPH). My experiences with all but the latest one (IUPH) has been mostly a bust.
36. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
I’m a man of integrity. (I wrote “I am” first, but that was six words).
37. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Any organization (political, media, educational, religion, entertainment, etc.) that tries to force their point of view onto another person or group of people. Too much of this going on today in the world, including in our own country.
38. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
D-Day Girls. I gave it a 3-Star. The idea behind it was great, however, there were some missing pieces that fell short of impact.
39. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Besides, “And they lived happily ever after”? How about, “He was faithful, and he held firm to the end.”
40. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Personally, I cannot think of too much. I am very blessed. There are some elements that could make life easier, but for now, I am very happy and content. For our nation—unity.
41. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Thank you for the opportunity to let me share, Clancy. I love connecting with readers.
Clancy's comments: Well done, Scott. Man, you sure have a few books. Keep going, and thanks for being my guest.