Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blooming Author Myke Cole!

Myke Cole's book Shadow Ops: Control Point was published by ACE yesterday, January 31, 2012! I'm so excited about this book coming out it has pulled Writing Insight out of a six month sabbatical.

Tell us about your book. What is it about and where will it be available?

CONTROL POINT is a novel that asks the question "what if the modern military had a magic-using arm?" What would that look like? How would it operate? What would its impact be on society? Those are some deep questions, and I do my best to tackle them honestly, but there's plenty of geek-out action where you get to watch modern military hardware (tanks, helicopter gunships, direct action teams) go up against the fantasy monsters you know and love from D&D. The book is officially available on 31 JAN 2012, but I am hearing that folks are getting copies shipped in the mail to them already.

What were your inspirations for your book? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?
I told Black Gate magazine recently: "It’s ironic that mashups seem so popular lately, since I’m kind of a mashup myself. I’m a warrior-nerd blend of a military officer and committed fantasy/SF geek. I’m fortunate enough to make my living in both camps and those influences greatly inform my writing. My new novel Control Point is a fusion of influences: 3 tours in Iraq and a life spent perusing the fantasy mass-market wire racks and comic book shop display stands."

That warrior-nerd blending I described is the biggest inspiration in my writing, creating what I hope is a unique fusion of military and geek culture.

Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing your book? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

George R.R. Martin describes writers as "Gardeners" or "Architects." I've also heard that described as "Planners" or "Pantsers." I'm an UBER-Architect/planner. I typically do 100-150 pages of outline before writing a word of prose. I get feedback on that outline too, so I know that I'm not starting off in a bad direction before I begin to move.

I write in public (coffee shops or libraries) listening to movie soundtracks that put me in a cinematic mood but don't distract me with lyrics. This allows me to be around other people (I'm intensely social. I get lonely/maudlin writing at home alone) without having to interact with them.

Tell us about your "story of getting published."

I told this story to The Founding Fields. "When my 3rd tour came around, I had a manuscript called LATENT 75% written about a military unit that used magic. I thought it sucked. But hey, I could die in Iraq, so I sent it off to Joshua with strict instructions. “If you like it, I’m going to be all worked up and unable to concentrate. If you don’t like it, I’m going to be depressed and unable to concentrate. I’m off to war and I need my head in the fight. Do NOT tell me what you think until I get back, okay?”
Joshua agreed and I spent the intervening months dodging 107mm rockets and sleeping with camel spiders in a converted connex box. But I did keep my head in the fight and made it home with a Joint Service Commendation Medal and citation signed my Admiral McRaven himself (admired the hell out of that guy, so it meant a lot to me). My fiance had dumped me just before I left, and I got off the plane to see all these other servicemembers’ families greeting them, and I was depressed as hell. Nobody came to pick me up at the airport, and I actually had to take a cab home. You can imagine it was a low point.
I got home, grounded my gear and started calling folks to let them know I was home safe. Joshua was high on the list (we were good friends, and to be honest, I’d forgotten that I’d even given him a book). He answered the phone and I said “Hey, man! It’s Myke. Just wanted to let you that I’m ho . . .”
“Finish the book,” he cut me off.
“LATENT, finish it. It’s fantastic. I didn’t want it to end.”

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

Folks can check out my SITREP page on my website at, which includes all my upcoming promotional events. I've already said that I'm intensely social, so please throw me a bone and come on out. Nothing is more depressing than sitting around by yourself in a bookshop next to a pile of your books waiting to be signed, or reading to an empty room :)

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