Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meet An Author Tuesday

Today's guest is SS Hampton, Sr., who is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004; he was mobilized for active duty for almost three years after his enlistment. He continues to serve in the Guard, where he holds the rank of staff sergeant. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. He has wanted to be a writer since he was 15 years old; his first short story was published in 1992, after which it wasn’t until 2001 that he had another short story published. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories, and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. As of December 2011, he became the latest homeless Iraq war veteran in Las Vegas, Nevada.

An engineer dedicated to saving Venice from the rising seas, fails in his task. As a severe storm and high tides threaten to burst through the flood walls, he resolves to remain in Venice with a ghostly lover who claimed his heart years before. A woman from his staff who loves him, does not evacuate, but remains to battle his ghostly lover before he dies in a sinking Venice...

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Q) What inspired you to write this story?
Well, I’ve always wanted to visit Venice, Italy. When I was deployed to Kuwait in 2006-2007, I almost made it there on my two week Rest & Recreation leave, but I had to come back to the States because of family issues. I know it won’t disappear in the near future like Atlantis, nonetheless it’s still a fascinating idea that someday it will sink beneath the Adriatic Sea. And I have a big interest in the paranormal, to include the succubus. Out of those interests came the idea for “The Gates of Moses.”

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I began on 27 December 2010, and it was finally ready for submission to Melange Books on 12 January 2012. I didn’t work on it steadily, but overall just a little over a year. Unfortunately I tend to write when I’m in the mood, rather than writing something every day, like all writers should do.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Research, and creating a world, a time, and a place, inhabited by believable people. I have a strong sense of satisfaction when my story or novella is complete, and everything from my imagination and research sources, hangs together. It doesn’t matter if my story takes place during the Roman Empire, on a starship thousands of light-years from Earth, or during the time of Atlantis. It all makes sense and is believable.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Editing. Polishing what’s written, deciding what isn’t needed, cutting what isn’t needed, and adding more where needed. Then, going through a second time. And a third time. I’ve been writing long enough that I know I have a good sense of how to tell a story. Even though it’s tedious, many times I come across a sentence or paragraph and think, “This makes no sense.” Editing is tedious but it’s absolutely needed. Anyway, I limit my editing to three passes before deciding a story or novella is ready for submission (of course, this confession probably makes my editors cringe). I believe you have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise I could edit for six months or more, and get nowhere.

Q) If you could be any famous person for a day, who would you be and why?
That’s a difficult question. Jason of Jason and the Argonauts fame? Imagine living in a world where the gods and goddesses were real, ceremonies had power, and there really was an “edge of the world.” Or, Julius Caesar at the head of the X Legion and a Roman army that conquered Gaul, made punitive raids across the Rhine into an unexplored land, and journeyed to Britain, at the edge of the world. Or, William the Conqueror—he made a great gamble and won the Battle of Hastings, thereby winning the crown of England, and impacting the course of history in Western Europe.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Well, there’s a large storage container of lettuce in there. I haven’t looked at it recently because, ah, well, there’s no excuse. But at least I know it won’t come to life and terrorize and pillage the neighborhood. I really should throw it out…

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
My continued writings on Soldiers at war in the Global War On Terrorism (with a heavy leavening of paranormal activity), World War II military fiction, the Crusades, zombies, erotica of course, vampires, and the Cthulhu Mythos. I would be more precise, but not that I’m paranoid or anything (sort of), but you never know when another writer might like your idea and run with it in their own way. But then again, no one has told the story you want to tell because no one has your vision and writes like you do.

Thank you for having me here.  (Thank you for coming!)

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