I am THE NEXT BIG THING…maybe
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:
Gabriel: Tom Seleck (Marine Sergeant Major) (This character is based on the guy that I met long ago)
Noah: James Cromwell (Ship Captain)
Jonah: David Morse, Burgess Meredith if he was still alive. (Ship Engineer)
Titus: Justin Timberlake (NSA technician) My brothers favorite actor and secret love crush. He is from Memphis so we want to keep it local.
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?
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.