Tell us about the inspiration behind America Goes On: A Novella?
I came up with the idea for America Goes On while I was serving in Baghdad from 2007-2008. Being cooped up in the relatively luxurious Green Zone as a staff officer, I felt a bit of guilt for the guys and gals who were out patrolling the streets every day. A story, in my humble opinion, was the best way I could bring a small bit of attention to their struggles and reality to my countrymen and internationally.
There have only been a few great novels and films about modern veterans, and we need more. A lot of the media's depiction of veterans focuses on the "crazed vet" Rambo-type that's going to get their PTSD all over you, and it's really much more complicated than that. Looking at the issues most concerning my fellow Americans at the time, it seemed that people wanted to ignore what was happening in Iraq and turn on American Idol instead. It is dangerous for a country to exist where people involved in the current war effort is less than 1% of the population, and it is a very frustrating for many of us.
What can you tell us about your own time as an Officer in the US Navy?
The Navy is great place to be from, but not to be at. You probably understand that very well as a fellow veteran. I served from 2002-2009 with numerous years in the submarine force and a one-year stint in Iraq. My time in the Navy was classified by 98% boredom and paperwork, 1% fearing for my life, and 1% having fun on liberty; although, the bad memories are fading and the good memories remain. I'm very grateful for the friends I made during my time in the Navy, and I had some great leaders along the way. However, I could never have done it for the full 20 years required for retirement, and I have a lot of respect for those who stay in for the long haul to serve their country.
How has America Goes On been received by your Navy colleagues?
So far so good, and my old Navy buddies are enjoying it. A lot of them couldn't believe I wrote a damn book, but with the self-publishing revolution that's taking place, I don't see how you could not write a book. America Goes On has been passed along to some Marine buddies as well, and I'm hoping for some good feedback from them. It's my first novella, so I really need to keep improving on my writing and the feedback. I've got a ways to go to get my one million words in, but the journey has been really fun so far.
Have you always wanted to be a writer, or was it the furthest thing from your mind while you were in the US Navy?
It never occurred to me that I would want to be a writer when I finished my time in the Navy. Honestly, you get so bogged down in your day-to-day routine, you never think about long-term goals for your life. Once I got out, I had to start making decisions for myself. Now, I'm married in Thailand with a daughter--it's funny how life works. I started writing, because I pretty much in quarantined in the house with the new baby, and I thought I could make a little bit of money while having some fun. Hopefully, I can make a full-time living at writing, but I've got a ways to go.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I'm putting together a technical How To guide that focuses on eBook formatting. It's not the sexiest thing in the world, but I think there is a strong need for this knowledge in the self-publishing community. It will be released soon, so stay tuned. Also, I've just finished the first draft of a sci-fi novella. I gave it to my editor, but he just started law school, so it might be a while before I hear back from him. I hope that the writing is an improvement over my last one, because that's what important at this point.
What kind of books do you like to read yourself?
Books can come in all sorts of flavours for me. Now that I've "converted" to the Almighty eBook religion, I've found myself reading 2-3 books a month rather than just one every few months. I enjoy both indie and established authors in the genres of thriller, sci-fi, horror, and everything else. Non-fiction is also pretty enjoyable, and I admit to reading Dick Cheney's memoirs right now, mostly because I wanted to see what all the controversy was about.
Do you read to your daughter?
Baby seems to be most interested in pooping herself and crying for milk, but I have tried reading Goodnight Moon to her, and we even got a smile out of her. I want her to grow up learning to enjoy the written word. In Thailand, it's difficult to get print books in English, because the cost is the same price as the West, but the average salary is much lower. With the advent of low-cost technology, we hope to be able to purchase a lot of children's books with a few clicks and a few bucks.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you very much to Tracey for giving my self-published novella, America Goes On, the time of day. We're all in this together, and it's comforting that there are book reviewers interested in indie authors. Please keep up the great work at My Four Bucks.
Thanks for your time Paul. You can visit Paul at his website www.paulsalvette.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PaulSalvette.