John: I joined the US Army just before my final year of High school and shipped out a year later, a little over a month after I graduated. I spent most of my time in Germany, with a short tour in Bosnia assigned to an Explosive Ordnance Detachment. I left the Army in 2000 to get an education, and after receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I begged the wife to let me suit back up. I joined the Navy in 2009. I’m currently a Chief with the Navy reserve. I did a tour in Afghanistan with them in 2013.
Keith: When, how and why did you start writing?
John: I’ve always been writing and telling stories. In grade school I won a young author's award for a silly childrens story I put together. As I got older and my interests changed, my stories leaned more to the dark, or violent side. The creative writing teachers would always frown on my assignments and file them away. I was encouraged to get into sports writing, which bored me to tears. I eventually settled on loads and loads of reading, every book or cereal box I could find. The service is where I really began to pen short stories or sketch out comic strips. I even wrote a magazine to fight boredom. Fortunately none of these things have survived!
Keith: How would you describe your books to someone who hasn't read your work?
John: My books are tales of survival and brotherhood. They tell stories of soldiers who face great odds and have to overcome challenges to survive and get home. Also somewhere in the background is a world on fire filled with zombies, or sometimes Aliens.
Keith: What do you find most challenging writing a book?
John: Recently it has been the time. I am the type of person that has to really get into a zone before I can produce good work. An hour here and there doesn’t cut it. So as my life changes, my production drops.
Keith: What do you find enjoyable writing a book?
John: It’s cool when you are in a really good story and you can start to visualise the scenes, feel the emotions of the characters and the adrenalin of the action. It is also a great release, and sometimes therapy. If I told someone the stories bottled up in the back of mind they would probably want to have me committed. Telling old stories of losing friends or remorse, make people uncomfortable. But if you sprinkle in a zombie or two, suddenly it is entertainment and acceptable.
Keith: That's an interesting take on it, and one I can certainly understand. Which authors have influenced your writing?
John: I have always been a fan of Tom Clancy, but I know I could never write like that. Some of my favourite authors are Louis L’Amour and Leonard B. Scott. I think I have read everything they have ever written. More recently I am a huge fan of J.L. Bourne a fellow Navy man.
Keith: Which literary character is most like you?
John: Wow I really have no idea, I don’t think of myself that way. I would be a quiet back up character in an old L’amour western, maybe a supporting character like Frank Darrow in Down the Long Hills. Just a solid side kick but ready to step in when the heat is on.
Keith: What’s your opinion regarding eBooks vs paperbacks?
John: I used to be a strict paperback guy, but once I got a kindle and figured out I could take my entire library on every deployment, my mind was changed. I still buy a copy of all my favourites on paperback though. The thing that puzzles me is why some eBooks cost more than the paperback?
Keith: Any tips for aspiring writers?
John: Best tip is to write often. If you have a story to tell get it onto paper. Don’t write the intention to sell it, do it for yourself. If the story is good enough for an audience, you’ll know it.
Keith: What do you like reading in your spare time?
John: I go back to old favourites. Dime store paperback and war novels, things that provide a quick escape and don’t require me to think too hard.
Keith: Which books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
John: There are plenty of zombie books, or horror stories out there, but I don’t think they have the military edge to make them like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Keith: What are you working on at the moment?
John: Currently I am elbow deep in two short story projects I have been commissioned to write. After those are off the table, I will be headed full-steam back into the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot world to tackle Bound By Honor.
I look forward to the new WTF. Thanks John!
Thanks for reading. You can find more about John's kick ass novels at his website and Facebook Page: