Today we are excited to have science fiction author W.C. Bauers with us! W.C. works in sales and publishing during the day and writes military science fiction and space opera at night. His first novel, Unbreakable, was an Amazon and B&N “SF/F Best Book of the Month” pick for January 2015. His second, Indomitable, releases July 2016.
Bauers’s interests include Taekwondo, military history, all varieties of Munchkin, and drinking hot caf. He lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, three boys, and the best rescue in the world.
1) Everyone seems to have a “how I got published” story. What is yours?
My brother-in-law challenged me to a join NaNoWriMo and write with him every day for a month. I’d dabbled with several storylines before writing my debut novel, Unbreakable. At some point if a story isn’t speaking to you it’s time to put it down. After NaNo I had 50,000 words and a character I’d fallen in love with. The following January I went back and fleshed out the story, and then completely rewrote it over the next few months. A number of people in publishing graciously looked at early versions of the manuscript and offered invaluable feedback. I researched, sought out more reviews, and edited. I became a better writer. After a year of working on the book I started looking for an agent. Thirty plus queries led to several nice rejections and a lot of silence. One of the top literary agents in the field told me the book would never sell. But, Cherry Weiner took me on and sold the first two books in the Chronicles of Promise Paen in less than two weeks. Book one, Unbreakable, came out in January of 2015. It was among B&N’s and Amazon.com’s best of the month picks for Science Fiction and Fantasy for January. Book two, Indomitable, releases July 26th.
2) Tell us a little about your books.
I write hard military science fiction and space opera with a kick-butt female lead. Reviewers have compared my work to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, with a dash of Firefly. I’d add a healthy dose of Katee Sackhoff’s Starbuck, too. My main character, Promise, looks like a pixie but hits like Thor. Promise has seen a lot of loss in her life, particularly for someone so young. I’m interested in women in combat roles, so I explore that in the books. But I’m even more interested in the effects of trauma and loss upon the human soul. Being raised by two psychologists has certainly shaped my outlook on life.
3) Describe your feelings when you opened the box and saw the first published copies of your very first book.
Printed gold. After three years of prospecting I’d finally struck it rich.
4) What are some of the challenges for you writing your book?
Having never served in the military, I’ve had to do my homework. Thankfully, I have friends and family in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, both active duty and retired. I leaned on many of them for technical assistance and early reads. I’ve read military history and military fiction for years, which certainly helped. W. E. B. Griffin provided countless hours of entertainment and education. David Weber fueled my dreams. Books like The Unforgiving Minute, The Red Circle, and The Heart and the First, and authors like John Nagl and Stanley A. McChrystal gave a look into the mind’s eye of the warrior. I owe many a great debt.
5) What do you want readers to take away from your book?
Fears and failures can be overcome. I love writing stand up moments. My main character, Promise, never asked to lead a company of Marines. My first book, Unbreakable, is her coming of age story. She enlisted to outrun a troubled past. But, providence had other plans. The call came and she responded with fear and trepidation. She stood up and said send me. She pushed through the fear. My second book, Indomitable, explores how easily life can spiral out of control. Promise ends up being blamed for events not of her own making. A friendly fire accident occurs on her watch. A failed operation leads to terrible loss. She quickly finds out that life isn’t fair. But what in life is? Instead of focusing upon the inequalities of life, she starts asking a better question. What can set me free?
6) Favorite color?
All kinds of blue.
7) Favorite place to vacation?
An unplugged cabin and a looking glass lake, and a printed book to pass the time. That or Disneyland.
8) Favorite season?
I like seasons of change. When the storm rolls in, providing respite from a scorching hot day, or when the sun chases away a hard snow, those are moments worth stopping for.
9) What is the one thing you’ve read that you wish you had written, and why?
C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner. Reading this book made me fall in love with Science Fiction all over again. The language sparkles. It’s a first contact story with a twist: we’re the aliens. Foreigner is a masterwork of SF. Dune also comes to mind.
10) Star Wars or Star Trek?
Live long and prosper.
11) How would you like to be remembered.
As a good husband, good father, good Christian, and a man who did hard things.
12) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Galatians 2:20. I try to live like a dead man walking.
13) What was your favorite book as a teen?
Ender’s Game. I know, it’s probably your favorite too. But, seriously, I was a small kid in school and had my share of encounters with more than one school bully. Ender’s Game helped me survive junior high. If Ender could make it through the Battle School, I figured I’d survive seventh and eighth grade.
Thank you, W.C., for joining us today! Here is where you can find W.C. Bauers online: