Today we have author, S.S. Hampton, Sr.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Sometime around the age of 15, though I cannot remember what the actual “trigger” was. My first publication was not until I was 38 years old, and 10 more years would pass before the next publication. Since then I have been published on a fairly regular basis.
2. How did you get into so many different genres?
Let’s see—horror, science fiction, fantasy, erotica, and military fiction. And throw in a little Western and historical fiction (Greece and Rome). I have an interest in those subjects, of course, and writing in those genres can be challenging and fun. I do and do not like being scared, though I believe it is something “hardwired” within us; science fiction, new worlds whether distant planets or time travel—stories are wonderful possibilities. Fantasy, creating new worlds whether my vision of Atlantis or writing of some kingdom that once existed before recorded history, or even writing of elves and fairies that co-exist beside us. Erotica, ahem, ‘nuff said! Military fiction—I have spent most of my adult life in the military or associated with it, so the subject is very natural and familiar. I do, however, usually like to add a supernatural element to such stories. Any Western I dabble in usually has a cavalry focus to it, and of course, a supernatural element. I enjoy dabbling in historical fiction, particularly during Greek and Roman times. Of course, some genres are more fun than others, too. Perhaps that is the key—writing, though it is a serious business, can and should be, FUN!
3. What are your struggles when writing?
Well, too many cigarettes, not enough coffee (two+ pots per day), or not enough beer, and finding myself doing some basic editing while writing the initial draft. I should just write and edit later. And of course, sometimes the story takes a turn I hadn’t planned on which requires some revision to the outline so that I retain an idea of where the story is going or may be headed toward.
4. Where do your book ideas come from?
My imagination, the news, something someone says, something I see, and even from my dreams. Ideas can pop up anywhere, especially when you least expect it. The key is to listen and observe, and write the ideas down as soon as you have them. I believe there is an old saying, something like, “Luck favors the prepared.” You never know where your next great idea is going to come from, so always be prepared.
5. What is your writing method?
Give me cigarettes, coffee and/or beer, music or a DVD playing (I cannot stand silence), an idea and/or outline, and I can start writing.
6. Why did you decide to go with this type of publishing?
I have always been poverty stricken, so vanity publishing is out of the question. Besides, selling and public relations would have rested squarely on my own shoulders. To go with a full service publisher, someone who provides the ISBN number, provides the cover artwork, assigns an editor to work with me, and finds sale outlets/distributors, all because they believe in the sales potential of my manuscript, is a much better deal. A marketing plan, or public relations, still rests on my shoulders, but I do not have to worry about the rest.
7. Is there anything you want your readers to get out of your books?
Hopefully that the readers enjoy my writings and they feel that their time has not been wasted.
8. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
As I am not sure what a “pantser” is, I will go with plotter. I generally start out with notes of “Beginning,” “Middle,” and “End.” I will write down pivotal points in the story and fill in additional details that form a basic outline. More and more these days, especially as my writing becomes oriented toward novella length stories, I find a detailed outline more useful. And I generally follow that unless the story insists on going down an uncharted path. Then I will revise the outline to ensure there are no loose ends.
9. Tell me a bit about yourself.
Ah, I love cheese pizza with extra cheese, sausage, and onion. I love orange cupcakes. My favorite breakfast is biscuits and gravy with hash browns, bacon, and a cheese omelet. I love my grandchildren; I tolerate my children, but I love my grandchildren. Oh yes. Someday I want to visit the Himalayas.
10. Where can the reader find your books?
Look for SS Hampton, Sr. at Melange Books (http://www.melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html);
And, thanks for having me on your blog.
December, 1941, and fresh Siberian troops from the Soviet Far East have launched savage counter-attacks against the German invaders. The Eastern Front is torn open with German units driven back, overwhelmed, or isolated. An exhausted Waffen SS infantry platoon outside of Moscow needs to know what the Siberians, hidden in a dark forest before them, are up to. A small patrol is sent into the snowy, otherworldly forest…
A little more than a dozen snow encrusted German soldiers, remnants of a once strong motorized infantry platoon, grimly surveyed their surroundings. The frozen winter sun cast a feeble light across theiroutpost on a small rise overlooking a snowy road that bordered the forest before Moscow. Above them gray clouds painted with broad pastel strokes of reds, yellows, and purples drifted across the twilight sky.
"The sun's going down," Josef Frank said to no one in particular as he adjusted his leather “Y” straps on which to attach his field gear. He carefully checked his 9mm MP 38 submachine gun. In the savage cold their weapons and ammunition were scraped clean of lubricating oils because the oils froze and jammed the weapons. Even then, successful operation was no guarantee. His weapon sometimes fired only one to two rounds at a time. Then he checked the leather magazine pouches fastened to his belt—three magazines, thirty rounds per magazine, ninety rounds, and one “potato masher” stick grenade tucked in his belt. That was all he had left to face the fresh Siberian troops lurking somewhere within the dark forest before them—the last barrier that hid the suburbs of Moscow.
He glanced at the gaunt men wrapped in all manner of clothing to protect themselves against the painful cold. In that snowy otherwordly environment, it was sometimes hard to remember that he was an SS-Unterscharführer, a sergeant and a squad leader, in a much decimated Waffen SS motorized infantry battalion. All that was left of his platoon was gathered on the rise—an MG-34 gunner and his assistant, a trio of riflemen, a light mortar manned by two soldiers, and a pair of soldiers with a Panzerbusche 39 anti-tank rifle. Plus, he and his squad of three surviving soldiers who would soon creep into the forest to see what the Siberians were doing.
Their ground was no more than twenty feet higher than the surrounding terrain, and though it gave them a good overview, they were also sitting ducks. Low moans and an occasional cry came from among the scores of dirty white forms sprawled on the snowy slopes of their small rise of land. The shapeless forms trailed from the shadowed edges of the vast forest…
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant, with prior service in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007); he has recently been told that he must retire from the Army National Guard on 1 July 2013. 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, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.
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