Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Questions with Military Thriller Writer Richard Peters (@OpEnduringUnity)

This Author Spotlight
Military Thriller Writer

Richard Peters

author of

Richard Peters is the author of the Operation Enduring Unity series and a variety of science fiction. He served from 2002-2007 in the US Army. Richard spent 27 months in two tours bringing peace at any price to the post-apocalyptic streets and mahalla's of Baghdad.

He currently lives with his wife and son in Germany and runs his own technical services business.

1.How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I guess pretty much like everyone else. Toyed with the idea for years but didn’t know where to start. When I turned 30 though, I realized my life was already a quarter over with. Time to buckle down and make it happen.

Why do I keep writing? No idea. Maybe it’s the addiction. If I go more than three days without my writing “fix,” I get serious withdrawal symptoms. Edgy, short-tempered, shaky… it’s worse than quitting smoking. I know it’s a disgusting habit, but I can’t stop!

2.What do you like best (or least) about writing?

The best part is surprising a reader. Either creating a unique idea or a great twist that the customer never sees coming. Harder than it sounds, since you have to balance believability and logical consistency with excitement, but incredibly rewarding when you pull it off.

The most difficult part is writing about sex. You can’t really immerse someone in a believable story without acknowledging the roles lust and desire play in real life. On the other hand, most readers are pretty polarized on how they want sexual themes portrayed. Either gritty and “graphic,” or tasteful and romantic. Not much of a middle ground. Trying to craft scenes in the middle just tends to annoy everyone!

3.What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

Writing something every day, even if only a few notes, is crucial. Daily quotas are even better. Nowadays, most readers won’t tolerate long breaks between books before they move on to another favorite series. Three months between releases is already pushing your luck.

As for outlines, yes, everyone should make one. It’s the best method to get the bad ideas out of the way. Once you’re done with an outline, challenge yourself to beat it. Make things even more interesting. Whatever you do, it’s crucial that you arrive at the ending “naturally.” Not planned ahead of time. The end should surprise the author as much as the reader.

4.Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

Ralph Peters, Harold Coyle and Robert Heinlein. Authors that downplay the technology and are focused on how people deal with or influence the “big picture” war or social revolution.

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

Ha! Good one. From a puritanical grammar perspective, outside. However, we aren’t writing business reports. This is fiction. Entertainment, and most customers are more concerned with smooth story-telling flow than grammatical perfection.

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

Again, smooth style is king. It’s a fine line to walk, sure, but when in doubt, use whatever is least confusing. Whatever doesn’t pull the reader out of the story.

7.What is your book Power Games about and how did it come to fruition?

My Operation Enduring Unity series is a satire of American extremism running wild, which leads to a 2nd American Civil War. Originally, I just wanted to create a realistic military thriller. I was sick and tired of reading about spec-ops teams behind enemy lines. Looking for a total war tale covering the entire spectrum from the home front to combined arms operations in the field.

Eventually, in my obsession with believability, the history behind the war overtook the action part and became the story. I almost junked the whole project when I had veered so far from my planned action-adventure tale. Thankfully a few beta readers convinced me that I had created a story with more mass appeal and real social insight than just a fantasy war. That’s what they say, at any rate. I’ll always view it as just a somewhat funny war yarn.

8.What’s your current writing project?

Three going on side-by-side. Multiple projects at once is the best way to combat writer’s block. Finishing up the last book in the Second Civil War series, starting a new military-themed Sci-Fi series (which takes place around 50 years later in the same universe) and, don’t laugh, trying my hand at a serialized, post-apocalyptic erotic thriller- Surviving with Style.

9.What book(s) are you currently reading?

Tim Dorsey’s entire Serge Storms series. A master story teller. So much to learn from him. He’s got the perfect combination of snarky humor, gritty action and brilliant side-switching. 

10.Who or what inspires your writing?

Definitely the challenge. This industry is about more than just pumping out quality work. You have to run a crafty eCommerce business. Hard as hell, but a lot of fun. There’s (theoretically) nothing holding you back from success. No financing concerns, regulatory burdens or dominating competition putting barriers in the way.

Every sale is a tease. Tempting you with how close you are to breakout success. What a job, huh?!

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

I run a free book review blog catering to writers with a military background.
I welcome all fiction and non-fiction dealing with military affairs (everything from space marine sci-fi to serious studies of veteran issues), but first priority goes to those that served. I’m always pleased to read works from our allies as well. The warrior creed is an international club!

Thank you, Richard, for sharing your work with us. And thank you for your service. Be sure to let us know when the next installment is ready!

Be sure to visit Richard's website and social media outlets, and pick up a copy of POWER GAMES.

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