You’ve been a multimedia designer in advertising for over 25 years. How did you end up writing novels?
I have always been a big reader. I think that’s what inspired me to try my hand at writing.
Writing is cathartic to me. Returning from Afghanistan in 2011, I wanted to work on something fulfilling. A few years earlier, I had written a draft of my first novel, ‘Red Sky at Morning’. It was intended to be youth fiction, but no one would read it. Coming home, I dusted it off and re-purposed it with an eye toward the post-Cold War, post-9/11 world.
Finally, I got the attention of a publicist, who told me the book didn’t have a ‘teen voice’. I expanded the story, doubled its length, and revised it for an older audience. With a lot of diligence, I eventually found a publisher.
I try to keep the books character-driven. My goal is to tell a compelling story without throwing around a lot of acronyms or technical jargon. There’s some of that, but only to ground the action in a realistic frame of reference.
The novels have been compared to the works of Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn. That’s very flattering, but you won’t find any profanity or compromising situations in my novels. In other words, the books are family-friendly, with a subtle but firm moral message. They’re suitable for teens, but written for adults.
The series also explores the dynamics of faith in uniform, which are often absent from books of the same kind. They have a broad appeal; there’s action, military hardware, strong core values, and even a little romance. A lot of my best reviews have come from readers with no military background at all, so anyone can enjoy them. Neill’s adventures will hold the interest of young and old, and will encourage readers to value patriotism and embrace honor and integrity.
How many books have you written?
Two. ‘Red Sky at Morning’ was published in 2012, and ‘Tempest of Fire’ in 2013. Both are faith-based military/espionage thrillers, and each has been nominated for the Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction. I’m currently working on the third book in the series.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Arthur C. Clarke, David McCullough, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tom Clancy, & Walter Lord.
You write about a character named Michael Neill. Can you tell readers a little bit more about the character?
Michael Neill was born and raised in Ukraine, the son of American missionaries. As a Marine Corps officer, Neill works counter-intelligence. He is fluent in Russian and Ukrainian, and brings his linguistic skills to bear on national security issues facing the U.S. The fact that he grew up in that part of the world also gives him an edge.
Neill’s faith guides his actions. He’s an individual who’s suffered his share of personal loss, and the different layers of his background are slowly revealed as the series progresses.
You write military fiction and have served in the U.S. military. Do you find it easy to write your novels, based on your experiences, or do you still need to conduct some research for your stories?
That question comes up a lot. About 50% of my time is spent in research. Even with topics I’m familiar with, I often re-check my sources to avoid making simple mistakes. It’s an on-going process.
In some instances, I rely on existing technology, but there are times when I intentionally obscure details to protect operational security. The same goes for the locales mentioned in the books. I’ve been to many of the places I write about, but I prefer not to disclose which ones.
How can readers connect with you and learn more about you and your writing?
I have a website, www.stevewilsonauthor.com. From there, readers can download samples of each book, connect to my blog, find my Facebook page, or link to Amazon.com to purchase the series. To connect with me personally, find my books on Goodreads.com and send me a message through that site. I try to respond to everyone who contacts me.