Good morning, everyone! I’m still hard at work at my day job, so writing has been difficult for me. Luckily I’ve found a couple more people who were willing to sit with me to do an author interview to keep the blog going. I promise to get more writing done very soon… as soon as I can work a normal day instead of 12-hour days.
Until then, let me introduce you all to Jack Murphy, author of PROMIS.
Up until a year ago I was a Staff Sergeant in the US Army, having served in 3rd Ranger Battalion and 5th Special Forces Group. I spent eight years in Army Special Operations to include three combat deployments. While in the Rangers, I held several duty positions to include Anti-Tank Gunner, Sniper, and Team Leader. In Special Forces, I was the senior Weapons Sergeant (18B) on a Military Free Fall team. As the senior 18B it was my responsibility to be the chief adviser and trainer to an Iraqi SWAT team. In 2010, I decided to part ways with the military and am now pursuing a degree in International Business.
How long have you been writing, and what have you learned from it?
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, mostly just short stories that I would share with friends. I’ve learned a lot from the research I have conducted for short stories and novel, uncovering military operations that Americans are completely unaware of. This is especially true of the Special Forces missions carried out by South African and Rhodesian forces during the 1970’s and 1980’s. I think the act of writing, in of itself, has taught me how much work really goes into creating a quality piece of work and has given me that much more respect for those who do it for a living.
Do you ever find yourself lost in your writing world trying to figure out some plot or action scene?
Sometimes. I think what tends to trip me up the most is figuring out how to reconcile history with my fictional reality. What I write could be thought of as “contemporary historical fiction” as it has a heavy basis in fact. When I find black holes or gaps in official history is where I feel free to exploit unknowns and insert my own plot devices. This is where things get tricky and I often find myself lost in another reality, trying to fit the puzzle pieces together.
What is your latest book about?
“PROMIS” is a short story that follows the trajectory of Sean Deckard, a soldier serving with the very secretive Studies and Observations Group (SOG) in the Vietnam war. SOG conducted highly classified cross border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam, executing prisoner snatches, search and destroy, intelligence gathering missions, and other various activities. Sean’s Recon Team gets paired with a CIA funded scientist who has a few ideas that could end the Vietnam War and together they discover far more than they bargained for.
Do you have any new projects that you can talk about?
I have a proof reader going over my novel, “Reflexive Fire” which takes place in current times. You can sample both PROMIS and RF at my blog, about two thirds of a rough cut of the novel is there for free. Currently, I’m doing research on the Rhodesian Special Air Service for the second issue of PROMIS. I intend to write a series that follows Sean’s career as a mercenary, fighting the dirty little wars the happened in the twilight of the Cold War.
What’s one thing that you think your readers “expect” from your work?
First and foremost, I think they expect a great story. Secondly, they want a reasonable degree of realism and plausibility. Readers want to see the details and expect writers not to do a hatchet job on military units or on history itself. In addition, I try to provide both tactical details and plot elements that even jaded readers have never seen before.
Do you use social media (Facebook, twitter, etc.)? If so, how often do you post, and what do you post about?
I am on Facebook and post once and a while. Overall, I don’t care much for social media, I guess because it strikes me as kind of superficial. I suppose it’s rare for someone my age (late 20’s) but at the moment I don’t even own a cell phone or have cable tv and I like it that way! I do have a blog which I’ve found myself having more fun with than I had ever expected. I think the most surprising thing about having a blog is all the cool people you get to meet. I’ve posted a lot of pictures from my deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as commentary on other military issues. You can take a look and sample my writing at: http://reflexivefire.wordpress.com/
I enjoy books from so many different genres — from Christian fiction, to fantasy, to the paranormal. But when I look back at my choices, I see that there’s always a dark theme to them. What is one theme that you enjoy reading?
The deus ex machina theme, or plot device rather, is something I find myself drawn to again and again. The idea that one person, talented and determined enough, can save the day is always something that resonated with me. To me it’s also an expression of rugged individualism. It means that the individual matters and is more important than a collective that is, by it’s nature, incapable of making rational decisions.
Does this theme make it into your writing? Can you give us an example?
Absolutely. My characters often work in teams, be they military or freelancers, but they are teams of individuals who find a mutual benefit in working towards the same goals. My writing supports the idea that an individual human being matters and that one person can make a difference by doing something that has never been done before.
Thank you for your time. Before I let you go, I have one last question: If you could have any meal, with any spread across the table, what would it be?
I would settle for a nice juicy hamburger and fries. What can I say, I’m easy to please.