Welcome T.C. Miller to my blog. T.C.’s writing defines all that is great about military action novels, combining domestic crime plots and national security teams into espionage plots that keep the reader on a roller coaster ride of thrills they can’t get off. He’s a nice guy and a good friend.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Bill. It’s always great to talk with you, and now, your readers!
Like me, you’ve developed more than one successful career. Describe the journey that brought you to writing novels.
I’m not sure how far back to go. I started reading when I was in grade school. My parents split when I was young, leaving my mother to raise nine children with no support. I was the oldest, so the responsibility for my siblings often fell to me while my mother worked. Reading books became an escape to other worlds. I started writing when I was eleven or twelve, and actually had a piece published in the “Toledo Blade” newspaper. It encouraged me to write even more. Unfortunately, much of my early work was destroyed while in storage in the seventies. Although, I’m not sure if much of it would have stood the test of time.
I started doing free-lance work in the seventies, while I was in the Air Force. I was writing newspaper articles, reports, and lesson plans as part of my job, and thought there might be a market in the civilian community. I made contact with a number of advertising agencies in Denver, and started ghost-writing articles, writing ad copy, and doing the copy for corporate brochures, articles, and letters. I made a nice part-time income, until I was transferred to Mather AFB, near Sacramento.
By then, I was teaching martial arts classes, which took up most of my spare time. I still wrote, but it was mostly student guides and hand-outs about Hakkoryu Jujitsu. I retired from the military in 1993, and took a job travelling the country demonstrating products and home and garden shows, fairs, and trade-shows. (My wife says that we “joined the circus”). It was a fifteen year stretch that left little time for writing, but I picked up some experiences that will show up in my books in the future.
You don’t want to try to rob T.C. Tell us about the art of Hakkoryu Jujitsu and the significance of the name Kiyoshi.
Hakkoryu is a twelve-hundred year old system that includes all aspects of combat and self-defense, including, kicks, throws, punches, joint opposition, nerve-pressure restraints, biting, scratching, and even spitting. Seriously, nothing is off-limits in the style. It is traditional for practitioners at a certain level to have dojo names, usually conferred upon them by their Sensei, or teacher. My dojo name is Kiyoshi, which translates roughly from Japanese as, Wizard, or Magician.
Describe Blackjack Bomber to us and how you came up with the idea.
Mather AFB had an Alert Pad, (remember the Cold War?), that contained nuclear-armed B-52 bombers and in-air refueling planes. I taught handcuffing techniques to some of the Security Policemen at the base, and became friends with them. Casual conversation sometimes turned to the question of how criminals or terrorists would attempt to invade the base and its facilities. I began to formulate the idea for BlackJack Bomber, and was fortunate enough to meet Dale Brown, a New York Times bestselling author of military novels. He encouraged me to finish a novel and submit it to agents. It only took me twenty-four years to do it.
As you and I discussed at the WordWeavers in Bartlesville, promotion and market involve a lot of time. How does this affect your time for writing?
It would be nice to turn the promotion and marketing over to somebody else. As you and I know, it is time-consuming and often tedious. It greatly reduces the time I have to spend actually writing. I do enjoy doing book-signings, though. It gives me a chance to talk with readers, and the feed-back they offer it valuable. I don’t know if readers understand how much power they have in the market. Word-of-mouth is the best advertising, so reviews, even critical reviews, offer support and encouragement.
Are you publishing your own books, using what tools, and what are the advantages and disadvantage?
The internet has opened some tremendous opportunities for independent publishers, both good and bad. I’ve done countless hours of research and figured out a few general truths. First of all, I have a professional editor, Joyce Gilmour, who worked hard on BlackJack Bomber. I found her through my membership in the Military Writers Society of America. Some writers assume that the “A” they got in college English makes them qualified to edit their material. There are too many other factors to consider, such as style, verb tense, and punctuation. Editing your own work is like a do-it-yourself appendectomy, probably not a good idea. I also turned to the al-a-cart services offered by CreateSpace, a division of Amazon.com. They let me pick and choose what I wanted them to do. Their graphics people created both covers for the book, although I furnished the photo of the B-52 bomber, since using a commercial photo would have cost a lot of money. They’re also doing a lot of the distribution, including Amazon.com, and Kindle. On the other hand, I’m also using barnesandnoble.com, and it will be available on other e-book sites in the near future.
You’re advertising a new novel, Black Star Bay, coming out in 2013. Is the novel a sequel, a standalone #2 in a series, or totally different?
Yes. What I mean is that it is a stand-alone novel, but I also reiterate the highlights of BlackJack Bomber. BlackStar Bay is the second book in a continuing series that follows the exploits of the BlackStar Ops Group.
Looking ahead to the future, what are your plans for your writing career?
Boy, that’s a good question, Bill. I’m really occupied with the BlackStar Ops Group at the moment. I do have a number of other books I want to research and write, including some time travel science fiction pieces. I see myself being busy for at least the next dozen years or more.
Thanks for joining me, T.C. I encourage readers who love action books to pick up Blackjack Bomber. The link is listed below.
Well, again, Bill, I want to thank you for having me on your blog. By the way, good luck with your writing career. I know it’s going great, and I can’t wait to see what you do next!
To buy T.C. Miller’s books click on the following link.
To buy my books, click on the following link.