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I am THE NEXT BIG THING…maybe

December 13, 2012

Hey Y’all,

 

I have been forwarded a request to answer the following questions as a part of a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. My friend Erica is a writer who is a world traveler and is currently in Guam. I met her while I was participating in the writing prompts on the Writer’s Digest website. Full disclosure, she kept her gender hidden from most everyone and allowed her work to speak without the preconceptions that are usually attached to a writer. Brilliant idea because she as a talent for writing and changing voice that is unmatched. Currently, she is working on her first book called “A tent called Simba” about her journey to Africa with her sister Ro. She has a wonderful site that documents the last year of her life and her journey to learn how to be a writer. Very informative and her passion for new experiences just off the page. I would like to thank her for the opportunity to be a part of this blog hop. I hope that I am able to live up to the standards that are expected by answering these questions. Check her out at this link: http://eurekawrote.blogspot.com/

 

This is a long post so without hesitation and much fear:

 

1. What is the working title of your book?

 

SOG. The Book of Lot.

 

SOG stands for Soldiers Of God.

 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

 

There are several ideas that combined to form the story.

 

The idea of the terrorist attack came from hours of flying and talking with the crew. One day in 2003 our topic was the next terrorist attack, what would it be? I don’t remember which of my crew speculated about attacking malls during the holidays.  I have never forgotten about that conversation and I randomly think about it while eating alone in a mall food court while working. (Tuesday there was a shooting at a mall in Oregon. I am terribly sad about that event and my prayers go out to everyone affected. I write about some bad, horrible things but I never want to see anything similar ever happen in real life)

 

Another idea came from a chance meeting with a man in an undisclosed location. He and his team were doing an unmentionable job for the CIA.  One of the most impressive people I have ever met; he and his group gave me the idea of the Soldiers part. They are all bad dudes and I am glad they work for the good guys. I will be attempting to contact him in the near future because one of the characters is based on him.

 

Another random idea was Michael Jackson and the rumors that followed his through his life and death.

 

The final connector was the remake of the song “Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch.  Full of angist and passion, I was floored when I heard it on the radio and have been a huge fan ever sense. Here is a link to the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVo8g7T39A4  I don’t know if it is the attitude, the lyrics or the great shots of the mighty C-130. This single video united all these other elements in my mind into a single story.

 

3. What genre does your book fall under?

 

Thriller, Action, Christian Fiction

 

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 

There are fifteen main characters their technical skill set is in parenthesis:

Eddie: Will Smith (airline pilot) or Michael Dorn (Worf from Star Trek)will smith

michael dorn

 

Gabriel: Tom Seleck (Marine Sergeant Major) (This character is based on the guy that I met long ago)

tom selleck

 

Deborah: Lucy Lawless (Secret Service Agent) luck lawless

 

David: I think Shaquille O’Neal but my brother doesn’t agree. It has to be someone physically huge and imposing. (Marine Recon Captain) shaq

Joseph: Andy Garcia (FBI Agent) andy garcia

Andrew: Lou Diamond Phillips or Antonio Banderas (LAPD SWAT Commander) lou

antonio

Sampson: Ice Cube or Warren Sapp (Former NFL player) (Air Force commando) ice cubewarren

Adam: Jon Bon Jovi (Navy Explosive, Ordinance, Detonation-EOD. This is similar to a Navy SEAL ) bon jovi

Abraham: Jeff Goldblum or Chris Cooper (DEA Agent) jeff goldbulm

chris cooper

John: Trace Adkins  (Delta Force) trace

Luke: Forrest Whitaker (I was looking through lists of actors and came across him. I never envisioned Luke as an African-American. But I do now. Yea!) (Army Medic/Medical Doctor) forrest

Solomon: Liev Schreiber (CIA Agent) liev

Esther: Marisa Tomei (FBI Behavior analysis, love interest of John and Eddie) marisa

Noah: James Cromwell (Ship Captain)

james cromwell

Jonah:  David Morse, Burgess Meredith if he was still alive. (Ship Engineer)

david morse

 

mickey

Titus: Justin Timberlake (NSA technician) My brothers favorite actor and secret love crush. He is from Memphis so we want to keep it local.

jt

 

 

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

 

I am going to add a question before answering. What is the purpose of the book? The purpose is to honor Biblical characters by telling their story in a new and different manner and demonstrating to the world that it is possible to live with honor, dignity and God fearing life in today’s modern world.

 

Now the synopsis: Eddie, a happily married man with three children, military veteran, airline pilot and a Deacon in his church is driven to suicide following a terrorist attack that he thwarted but ended with the death of his family; Eddie’s attempt to commit suicide is stopped in the act and he is given the opportunity to serve in a super-secret counter terrorism task force that is dedicated to protecting the innocent and destroying evil where they find it. (I think technically this is a run on sentence)

 

6.  If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?       

 

Hopefully traditional publishing but I am not opposed to self-publishing.

 

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 

A little over a year. It is tough to write when you have zero experience and even less talent. I have finished the re-write and am currently editing and putting the chapters together. I first started with long chapters but have decided to go with short chapters of approximately one thousand words each.

 

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

 

I am not a big reader of Christian fiction but maybe there. I do like thriller/spy novels and it is in the genre. I do not know of any book that I could compare this with. The scope and goal are different than those in the thriller genre however there are some loose parallels with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

 

My goal has always been to write a book that I would like to read. I really don’t like to read foul language all the time and the original goal was to write a book without the sordid words.  I am not a prude but I think it is lazy writing. I also am irritated when the main character is a former Navy SEAL. I have the upmost respect for the SEALs and I know that I would not last an hour in their training course. But there is so much information about them in the public sector that an author can spend three hours of research and have enough information to write a story about the SEALs. I think that is also lazy writing. There are so many different specialties in the military that never get any recognition because there is not as much public information.

 

Being a lazy writer I will ask you to imagine the organization known as SEAL Team Six. If you thought of ninja like, silent assassins who are dispatched to eliminate the worst of the worst, you are thinking of the correct group. My dilemma was: how do you get SEAL Team Six to talk like a bunch of preachers? I want to be realistic and I have been around SEALs, other Special Forces members as well as regular military members. None of them cuss more than a C-130 Chief Loadmaster. I would not attempt to write something that wasn’t real so I, with the help of my brother developed the SOG; A group of retired military and Federal Agents who banded together to use their skills for Christians worldwide. They view themselves as Paladins, spiritual warriors operating with audacity and living by faith. Their belief and honor are only matched by their fervor to rid the world of evil.

 

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Several people:

 

My wife, Donetta. When I finally worked up the courage to tell her that I wanted to write a book. She didn’t laugh. She has been a great supporter of everything.

 

My brother, Greg. He is a writer and Editor for the Memphis Business Quarterly, an associate editor of the Memphis Magazine and frequent contributor to the Memphis Flyer. Two years ago he and I were having lunch and the story was bursting out of my soul. I worked up the courage to tell him about it and we were off and running. Because of our day/night jobs this has taken much longer than we anticipated but I believe the end is in sight and we can start the next phase of sending out submissions.

 

Bill Grimes. Some of you may remember the Bill Rimes stories. The real Bill Grimes is one of my best friends and because of a hurricane of life events he has married a lady who works in the publishing industry. I am not counting on her support in any shape, form or fashion but in long discussions with him, I am encouraged to know that the industry is always looking for new, unpublished authors. If we are good enough, then we will get signed. That I know. He has a financial interest in helping us get published. For his wedding, we gave him and his wife the first and only signed copy of the book before the re-write. The first copy is really bad fiction but he holds the only one in existence, 001/001. I hope one day he is able to turn it into a small fortune.

 

I mentioned the man I met about ten years ago. Our mission was to re-supply this group. We landed and were not supposed to shut down then engines. As the cargo was offloaded, we saw this man walking around the airplane. Bald head, sunglasses, no shirt but the hair on his body was like a sweater, running shorts and flip-flops. Around his back was a high powered machine gun (M-4 for those who care). His tanned body glistened with the sweat and his handlebar moustache had been formed over his 60 plus years of life.  The final straw was that I and the Flight Engineer had seen him on a discovery channel show.  We had to meet him so we shut the engines down and spent the rest of the day with him and his men. I later found out that he has been in more wars than our country has offically fought. His body bore the scars of those wars including missing parts of two fingers.

 

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

 

It is a character driven story where bad things happen and the characters never stop to say why me, life sucks or throw a pity party. They deal with the bad thing and move on.  I personally get excited when I read it because it is a fun, exciting read. I hope the world agrees. If not, my children will have an insight into things that excited me when I was in my early 40s.

 

It has been a blast to write. It is even better to meet new and exciting people like Erica (Egg/Eureka), Joe Schwartz (The Crossover Test, A great self-published Book), Julie Luek (A talented writer who is destined for fame), Mike Swift (A budding writer with a passion for YA novels), Alison Cook (A lady whose mind and ability to write YA fantasy, mythological characters and stories is amazing), Pastor Jack Miller (A man who has cancer but his spirit is stronger),  and so many others who are forming and shaping my life on a daily manner.

 

I am going to forward this to two writers:

 

The first is Harrison Jones. He is a retired Captain for Delta airlines. He has self-published two books, Shadow Flight and Equal Time Point. His blog has great insight to the world of aviation. I first met him through the community section of the Writer’s Digest website.  http://harrisonjones.org/

 

The second is Robert C. Deming who is a retired Air Force pilot. He has written his first novel that is about to be released. AWOL 21 is the story of Tom a T-38 FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot) and his exploits as an Instructor in UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training).  I found him doing a blog search during a hub turn.  http://robertcdeming.me/

 

Finally I have received an unusual request and I need some help from my buddies. Aaron Provost is a budding artist. He specializes in artwork that honors and recognizes the military. He served in Iraq in 2003 and was blown up riding in a HUMVEE in September 03.Medically retired he is now following his passion, art. I found him doing a blog search on night during a hub turn as well. One of his most memorable moments was riding in the back of a C-130 from Kuwait to “Whose Your Baghdady?” He asked if I have a picture of the cargo section of the C-130 with troops. I do not and if any of my Guard buddies have one, I bet we can get it immortalized in art. Send me an e-mail or contact him directly at his blog. http://provostart.wordpress.com/

 

Until next time, thank you all for the support and encouraging words.

 

rob

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10 Comments
  1. Rob, I knew your book was great– I’ve known that from all your writing samples at WD and your blog, but truly, after reading this, I am more sure than ever that you will see this to publication. I love the depth of the story and the valor of the characters. Thanks for giving those of us in your original fan-base a deeper glimpse into your story. Julie

    • Julie,

      Thanks for the compliments, but I must urge caution. Let’s not get the horse in front of the cart or was that cart in front of the horse. I don’t know…I am a city boy.

      An idea does not make a novel and a amateur writer does not get published. Only professionals get published and I have a long way to go.

      I am considering throwing out chapter 1 again but don’t hold your breath…

  2. Egg permalink

    Firstly, thanks for the kind words and I’m thrilled (as a reader) that you’ve tackled this challenge with so much gusto.

    Nextly, ‘zero experience and even less talent.’ What are you smoking, Shady A??

    I never knew about the biblical angle, in fact, I don’t recall seeing an Eddie in the bible, but Christian based or not, that is one cool idea. I’ve always been fascinated by the Crusaders. I look forward to reading about what you (and your characters) consider and tackle as modern threats.

    The cast is unreal. You’ve picked some of my favourite actors, (but I did wonder about Jon Bon Jovi). It’s a fun exercise.

    I’m with Julie on this one. You’ve got the characters, the plot, and the biblical hook. It sounds like a recipe for publication – and happy readers – to me.

    Cheers for keeping us nosy-parkers satisfied. You go you next big thing!

    • Egg Roll,

      Thanks again for the chance to talk about the book. I would talk about my kids with just as much gusto or hopefully more.

      It is true that I have zero experience and talent. I was voted least likely to read and write by my Senior class…

      You are right there is not an Eddie in the Bible. That is by design. With so many characters, Greg and I thought it would be easier for the reader if the good guys were named after Biblical characters and everyone else has a non-Biblical name. (Spoiler Alert) Eddie starts out as Eddie but will get his nickname/call sign when he is inducted into the group. If you read the title you might figure out what his new name will be.

      IF this were to be successful and IF someone in Hollywood wanted to give us money to make the movie and IF we still have control of the project …I would like to have an true ensemble cast as opposed to one mega star. I chose Jon Bon Jovi because the character of Adam is a hippy/rock star type. That is the vibe I envision and until the Hollywood big shots get control of it. Adam is Bon Jovi in my mind.

      You are right it is fun and helps break up the mind-numbing exercise of editing and re-writing.

  3. emma permalink

    This is so cool, just this week I was shopping amazon to download a book to read and was so disappointed. To make it short they were either too fluffy. Or the non christian ones mis used our Lords name. Can’t wait

  4. Love the concept! Love it, Rob! To relate Biblical storylines in modern times is wonderful, and a thought I’ve had for a young children’s books series. I also draw in ink and pastels and on the back burner of my mind are updates on the parables.

    What a cast! If you can pull that together, you have a blockbuster. One thought I had…which might be what’s giving you difficulties…you mentioned 15 main characters. I know this is a group (SOG), but there should only be one main story…one MC…the rest are individual character arcs and support staff. Eddie seems to be the MC, with the rest as supporting his story (while meanwhile having small stories of their growth).

    For instance, in X-Men, we’re essentially following Wolverine’s storyline, because everybody else is someone he meets along the way. They each have lesser stories that lend to the main story, which is Wolverine’s – his story involves the group, they face Magneto, he moves on. We’re able to get invested in each person, though, through the various glimpses we see of them throughout the story.

    This is quite an exciting read. And I do have to agree with everyone…I think the mind of the man who created this is very talented indeed.

    One other thing…Julie’s talented but I’m only budding? LOL! Thanks! 😀 Just joking. Julie is about to break-out, I can feel it.

    And you, too – you next big thing, you.

  5. Thanks Mike,

    It didn’t start out as a book that related to the Bible, but has certainly evolved towards that. Like many people, I try to like a life as a “good” person, take care of my family and allow others the freedom to live life on their terms. As Greg and I started down this path, the story was going to take on this same concept. But as it grew and evolved, it changed. Each twist or turn would change everything and if was at times frustrating or scary. I would write something and think that was “too crazy.” One scene, Eddie makes a decision based on a feeling he gets and it is implied that his “Guardian Angel” encourages him to act. I debated about that scene for weeks because I thought it might be too much. Greg assured me it was good and to write more scenes like it.

    As an aside, I had experience in Iraq where I did something that I had never done before. Looked out the side window during a landing, instead of looking at the runway. I saw that we were not lined up on a runway, but a taxi way. I yelled for the other pilot to go around and we all lived. If I had not looked out that window, approximately 120 people on two separate airplanes would have died. But here is the thing, I did not look out that window, it felt as if my head was twisted by an outside force. I remember the event like a dream not an action or deliberate thought that I did. I believe I did not look out that window but God, Buddha, Karma, instinct or sheer luck forced me to look out that window. You chose based on your belief system, but I believe that there was an Angel in Iraq that night. I get nervous every time I think about that event and my hands are shaking right now or maybe it is the caffeine.

    With the number of characters, yes that did give me some problems at first until I worked out the story. This isn’t a story about Eddie, this is a story about the SOG. The first part of the story focuses on Eddie and his recruitment into the SOG. Once he is a part of the team, the story is the team. Fifteen men and women operating as one, with one purpose, one goal, and one mission. Think of it like one character, he has his five senses, a brain to think, a heartbeat, legs to run and so on. But they all belong to the same person and work towards one goal. The reader will see the story as the teams sees it. It might be through John in one scene and Gabriel in another but they are all considered the same character.

    Again in Iraq, my crew was six separate individuals but we were as one. We did not do anything unless the other five were there. We worked, slept, ate, showered, laughed, and cried together. As one, all the time. We were as different as you could imagine but we put aside our differences and egos to get along. My crew wasn’t the only crew like that. In fact of the sixteen crews from my unit, only one or two crews were not united in all things. It might be hard to believe, but people can work together without difficulty. The SOG, will be the same. There will be some minor conflict and frustrations but they will focus on others.

    I agree that Julie is talented. Now hear me now and listen later…I am not a writer, I am not a preacher, teacher, speaker, and I have never been called brilliant. I am a dumb pilot standing just one step above a monkey.

    In the 1950s, scientists taught monkeys to fly. They were surprisingly easy to teach: light comes on, monkey flips a switch, light goes out, monkey gets a banana. The program was ditched because the monkeys were eating too many bananas. I don’t like bananas so I get to be a pilot.

    When I wrote that you are a budding writer. I meant that it is springtime and you are a flower that is about to bloom into a beautiful rose for the world to enjoy. If I was a writer I could have chosen: promising, gifted, exceptional, incomparable, unmatched, supreme, or simply outstanding. You may choose the term that bests fits you but I still think you’re great!

    I look forward to the writer’s conference where you guys get to hold court. (Big) Joe, Erica (Egg Roll), Julie Luek (What I just wrote), Allison Cook (It up and fry it in a pan), and you Mike Swift (Boat Captain). I will be in the front row learning at the feet of the masters and learning to like bananas!

  6. Robo Rob,

    You had me at Marisa Tomei.

    “I first started with long chapters but have decided to go with short chapters of approximately one thousand words each.”

    I think this is a good idea, and I will be considering shortening the chapters for my WIP. It quickens the pace of the book and makes the reader feel good about finishing a chapter.

    “we saw this man walking around the airplane”

    Fascinating character. I can see why you were drawn to him.

    “approximately 120 people on two separate airplanes would have died”

    Thank you for being there.

    Thanks again for the compliments, but that chair next to me, at this Writer’s Conference? It has your butt on it.

  7. Big Joe,

    Thanks for leading the way on the writing trail. I feel that I have learned so much in the last year just by watching you navigate the streets to publication.

    I will sit in the chair next to you as long as I dont have to eat bananas.

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