And the bash continues. This week I have the very talented Stan Hampton Sr. Hi Stan and welcome to the party.:-)
1: How did you start writing?
I was about 15 years old and I wanted to tell stories. I was inspired by the many science fiction and fantasy writers in the 1960s and 1970s, including Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frederick Pohl, and Robert A. Heinlein. Oh, and of course, Leon Uris, Herman Wouk, Frederick Forsyth, James A. Michener, and Jean Lartéguy, among others. And including non-fiction writers Bernard B. Fall and Cornelius Ryan. Anyway, I wasn’t published until 1992 and then not again until 2002. After that, the writing credits started building each year.
2: What is the one thing you most enjoy about writing? Least enjoy?
After necessary research, telling a story, a believable story, that hopefully people will enjoy. Editing. I know that editing is a necessary evil, but I really don’t enjoy it. It wasn’t until the past year that I wrote my first novel and a sequel, and I am reminded of why I didn’t care to write novels to begin with. Editing a novel is so much more time-consuming than editing a short story or even a novella.
3: If you could go back in time and talk to anyone, who would you speak to? Why?
Sappho, the Classical Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. She is sometimes referred to as the “10th muse” after the traditional nine muses who inspired artists and writers. I would ask her to tell me of men and women of her time and her view of relationships. I would ask her to share her poetry with me as, from what I understand, her complete poems have not survived. Only fragments of her poetry have survived.
4: When you write do you plot out the story or do you let your muse run wild?
I generally write an outline, Beginning, Middle, and End. Then I add bullet points to identify critical points followed by a dash (-) to identify elements of the critical points. Of course, sometimes when I start writing everything goes out the window as the characters take off on their own path.
5: Tell us a bit about your book.
I believe the tagline, with the blurb, gives a broad hint – Not everyone can choose to live life to the fullest... Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small Kansas farming and ranching community. Many years before, as young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. By July 2013 their twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before, go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to stretch far into the future. One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their marriage, or destroy it?
6: What inspired the story?
I’m not sure what specifically triggered this other than a general interest in male and female relationships, marriage, and the varied interests of people that make us all different and unique. Another factor is that though I believe people read fiction as a form of escapism, especially erotic romance, most contemporary escapism presents situations or adventures far removed from the world of and experiences of ordinary people. Perhaps that is part of the attraction of fiction escapism. But then again, for the ordinary man and woman, why can’t escapism become reality if they are willing to actually explore and experience regardless of an “acceptable box” that society dictates? And, if there is one thing that usually cannot be hidden forever and that can bring a person down (politicians) or add to their image (movie stars), all of which really does fascinate people, it’s sex.
7: Is this a series or a stand alone novel?
Originally I wrote this as a stand-alone, but the characters would not let go. I began to think of further situations that this very ordinary couple might find themselves in, which real life people might be able to relate to. So now this stand-alone is planned as a series (I haven’t told my publisher that, yet).
8: What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Don’t worry about rushing into writing. As soon as you decide you want to write, start developing a public relations and marketing plan. Read writer blogs to learn from their experiences. Once you have a basic public relations and marketing plan down, then start writing. After your work is accepted by a publisher, join their author loop—a lot of information can be found there as well as interaction with experienced authors—and ask questions and learn. Then you can polish your public relations and marketing plan and go for it. Oh yes—develop a thick skin. Not everyone will like what you write and there are even some “literary gangs” out there that will try to take down a writer through terrible reviews and/or personal attacks, for some reason or another.
9: How do you balance writing with the demands of everyday life?
In a very real sense, real easy. I’m unemployed (I’ve had only two interviews in the years of looking for a job) and I’m retired from the Nevada Army National Guard. Basically there are no demands of everyday life other than paying the very few bills I have. When I feel like it I can start writing at 6:00 AM or noon or start at 9:00 PM—either way I can choose to write or edit for an hour or six hours. Of course, after I enroll in a university I’ll have a new demand on my time. But that’s about six months down the road.
10: How much research do you do for your writing?
It depends. For example, if it’s military fiction, especially historical, then I have to check historical details in order to seamlessly blend the story with the historical record, when necessary. If it’s science fiction or fantasy, then a lot of research. After all, the idea is to write a believable story. I forget who said it, but “the devil is in the details.” Then again, when Gene Roddenberry was creating Star Trek, he insisted on technology and story believability, “the believability factor.” If your aunt and uncle and the taxi driver won’t buy into the story, then you’re in trouble.
11: If you met a genie, what 3 things would you wish for? Why?
First, money. Money pays the bills and money makes all things possible, whether to go on a grand vacation, or buy all of the equipment needed to put together a super-duper photo studio, or hire an attorney to go after a cum-sucking Arizona used car dealer or cum-sucking Colorado county agency. Second, money. See the reasons already mentioned. Third, I don’t know. Since money covers everything, maybe I don’t need a third wish.
12: What is the one thing about the writing world that most surprised you?
The amount of public relations and marketing that an author has to personally accomplish with the hope of someday becoming financially successful. That, including the learning curve, can be more detailed and time consuming than the actual writing and editing of a novel.
13: What are you currently working on?
Editing the sequel to Sharing Rachel, namely Prairie Muse. By the time this blog appears, the editing of Prairie Muse should be complete and to the publisher for their consideration (nothing is guaranteed, even by your own publisher). After that, there’s a couple of military supernatural stories I’d like to write, as well as start on the third novel about Burt and Rachel Markham. Oh yes—writing aside, there is planning a live and on-line book release party for Sharing Rachel.
14: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Listen to music, watch DVDs, watch a movie on Netflix, and sometimes meet friends for dinner and a beer or two. Once in a great while, visit a casino and gamble a maximum of $5.00 while having a couple of beers. I won’t gamble more than $5.00. Las Vegas was built on the money of losers, you know.
15: What is the one thing you’d like people to know about you?
Well, that is: I may be just around the corner from 60 years old, but don’t talk to me about being a senior citizen and how terrible cold winters are for the bones and living in a senior apartment or maybe living in Florida or Texas or Arizona. I don’t care for the desert heat (or humidity) nor am I ready to find a rocking chair to sit on a porch watching life pass me by while I wait for death. Whether I have 10 or 20 or 30 years left in this world, I intend to keep writing, photographing, studying for a Bachelors and then a Masters degree, and learning to paint and make real parchment, until the day I die. Oh, and before I die, I also hope to buy a bit of land in the Rocky Mountains and build a home there (I love snowy winters and a cedar wood fire in the fireplace).
5 Bonus Questions
16: What’s your favorite color?
Red, or maybe blue or purple or black. I’m not sure, actually.
17: What’s your favorite food?
Pizza with extra cheese and sausage and onion and beer, or steak with French fries, cream corn, Texas toast, and beer.
18: Favorite TV show?
Definitely “Frasier” though “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Night Court,” “Star Trek” the original series, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and “Star Trek: Next Generation” run close seconds.
19: Favorite Movie?
Either “Black Hawk Down” or “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
20: Favorite Song?
I can’t say because there are many songs I like, and each trigger a certain emotion and/or memory.
“Sharing Rachel.” MuseItUp Publishing, forthcoming 2014.
TAG LINE: Not everyone can choose to live life to the fullest...
BLURB: Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small
farming and ranching community. Many years before, as
young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a
lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly
Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. By July 2013 their
twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before,
go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of
an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to
stretch far into the future. One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will
Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their
marriage or destroy it? Kansas
EXCERPT: Life—the sum of many parts gathered into a raw and uninhibited whole and unashamedly and breathlessly lived to the fullest…
One part trapped heat and humidity, a thick, heavy embrace that fills the air and envelopes the flesh like a thing alive.
One part pungent scents swirling through the air and becoming a powerful, intoxicating aphrodisiac. Each provocative scent with its own story. The hot musky scent of feminine wetness and the stronger scent of masculine sex blended into its own particular smell. The individual smells of feminine sweat and perfume mingled with masculine sweat and cologne. And all of the resulting mixtures blended into a strong overpowering fragrance of consuming lust and pleasure.
One part sound for sound gives unseen life and strength to the spoken and unspoken. A female voice that moans “Ohhhh shit!” or screams “OH MY GOD!” followed by lengthy, rising whimpers that end in pleasure-filled shrieks needs no explanation; nor does feminine unintelligible babbling answered by a deep chuckle when accompanied by the rapid, endless slapping of wet flesh against wet flesh. In between the voices are long periods of silence broken only by the whisper of classical music, the rustle of bed sheets, the creak of bedsprings, and the sound of joined, intimate sticky wetness. Finally, deep grunts followed by much satisfied long, drawn out sighs from the feminine and masculine says it all.
One part sight for the visual binds the many parts together; blue-hued shadows and pale highlights playing across writhing shadowy forms, one smaller, curvaceous and feminine, the other bulkier and masculine, pantomimes an unspoken story. The feminine raised on elbows, head hung back, long hair brushing against damp bed sheets, a leg draped over the masculine with trembling pointed foot and toes curled tight. The masculine, resting on arms with hands placed on the bed, head lowered to a pale, blue-tinted breast, while hips move with a rhythmic passion between spread legs. The shadows joined together speak silently of lust, pleasure, domination, and submission.
All of the sums gathered together and witnessed, for without a witness there is no remembrance of a moment lived to the fullest. Against the far wall of a bedroom loft, beside a glowing nightstand lamp, brown eyes watched and took in every detail.
Sometimes the feminine looked with dazed blue eyes at the glazed brown eyes of the watcher seated in a large brown recliner.
For a brief moment their eyes meet. For a brief moment, without touching, the feminine and the watcher share the heavy humid heat of the room, the incredible smells, and the sounds of endless pleasure from the feminine and masculine joined together.
And then the feminine returned to the private universe within that would always be unseen by and unshared with anyone…
Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada 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) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.
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.
In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).
After 13 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 April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran, though he is still struggling to get back on his feet.
Hampton can be found at:
Amazon.com Author Page
Amazon.com. UK Author Page
Goodreads Author Page