1) Hi Stefan. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
Strike for Honor is a pretty intense contemporary political drama with naval action. It’s about an admiral whose son is killed by a North Korean missile attack during a naval exercise. With the US administration unwilling to upset nuclear limitation talks with North Korea by taking a tough stand, the admiral decides to strike the North Korea’s nuclear enrichment plant. This of course creates an international crisis and upsets the American President. I had to do a lot of research for this book, but that was part of the fun. I did not apply everything I learned, but it broadened my horizons.
Strike for Honor was released this March and is available from Amazon and Smashwords.
2) Is there anything that prompted your latest book? Something that inspired you?
When I conceived this project, I really wanted to concentrate on my main character, Admiral Pacino, and his problems with the White House administration and how it treats, or fails to look after the veterans. Largely, the book still does, but having opened the door on North Korea, there was no turning back, and during my research, I found out far more than I anticipated – surprisingly more. We all know how North and South Korea were created. What many people don’t know, is after the armistice was signed, America housed nuclear weapons in South Korea in direct contravention of the Non Proliferation treaty, which over time, directly led to North Korea developing its own nuclear program. America and North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program, and in return, America would provide N. Korea with a water cooled reactor to meet the country’s energy needs. It did shut down its program on three occasions, but America failed to deliver on it promises. It is a complicated and tortuous history and made for fascinating reading,
3) Great! So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?
I always wanted to write. As far back as I can remember the printed word held a fascination that allowed me to escape into other worlds, other characters. For an imaginative kid, it was better than candy – almost. Where I attended primary school, there was a small library at the top of the street, which I made my own. At school, I loved my essay writing assignments, even though many of my classmates found it an agonizing chore. I could never figure out what was the big deal. My specialty was using elaborate flowery language. But nobody could describe a sunset, a moonlit night or the booming of crashing surf like I could. The one thing my writing lacked was people. It took me a while to make the connection. Prose was great, but great writing had to involve people, drama, conflict, emotion and everyday life. When I learned to write dialogue, everything clicked, or so I thought. I still haven’t stopped writing and learning how to do it. Of course, having read many books, it didn’t seem all that hard, so I wrote one. You don’t want to read it. Call it my training wheels. Well, one thing led to another…
4) Do you have any favorite authors?
During my science fiction phase, two authors stood out: Roger Zelazny and Keith Laumer. When his writing was good and before he descended into sorcery and mysticism, Zelazny had an evocative, deceptively easy style that was a pleasure to read. When I can reread a book several times and still enjoy it, that’s my view of a great book, and Zelazny had several. Keith Laumer had an irreverent, sardonic writing style that blasted my sensibilities and often amused me. Some of his stuff was terrible, but a lot was extremely entertaining.
Since my sci-fi days, I sampled writers from other genres: 19th century sea warfare, techno thrillers and others. I like Stephen Coonts, at least his early works. Sadly, he descended into trash popularizm, culminating with Saucer, a truly terrible book. But a couple of hundred books later, the techno thriller genre gave me a solid grounding into the workings of governments, spy agencies, the military, and war machinery of all kind. It was a good launching platform for my own contemporary novels.
5) Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
I am a morning person, a result of having to get up early over many years to go to work, and that’s when I like to write. That discipline hasn’t left me and I still get up early. I am fresh and my mind is charged, ready to go – most of the time. I find I am most productive during the first half of the day. In the afternoon, I spend transcribing material from my notebook into the computer and doing initial editing. Although I don’t normally write in the evening, sometimes I do. It all depends on inspiration and what I am writing about at the time. There are also moments when I wake up in the middle of the night when an idea pops up and I simply have to jot it down. When I don’t do that, I wake up knowing there was something important I needed to write, but it’s gone. Frustrating.
6) Are there any words you’d like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?
If there is one thing I learned over the years as a writer, if anyone is contemplating taking this on seriously, he should be prepared to spend many lonely hours with a pencil and paper, and sitting behind a computer screen. There will be disappointments, frustration, angst … and moments of sheer exhilaration and satisfaction when the words flow and the creative process produces something wonderful. Writing is a gift, but it can also be a curse. But once bitten with the urge to create, there is no cure.
So, there you go. Answer these and send me all of the aforementioned info and I’ll get you in for an interview on my blog. Thanks so much for your interest, Stefan!