Myke Cole's debut novel, Shadow OPS: Control Point is released into the wild next week (January 31, 2012) to be specific and has been garnering a heap of praise, including my review I posted last week. He's been very active on teh intarwebs of late, doing numerous interviews, DM'ing a Dungeons and Dragons session with a bunch of other writers, and penning some articles for Tor.com. Recently, he took some time out of his schedule to do an e-mail interview with yours truly.
Below this awesome image which serves as the background for his Web site, is a snippet of our interview, for which the full version can be found here.
The tag line the publisher is using is a great one – “Black Hawk Down meets the X-Men.” Is this the high concept you were aiming to achieve or did you just want to get these ideas swirling in your head into the form of a novel?
The latter. I was far more interested in seeing how the rigid, giant military bureaucracy would deal with magic than I was in writing a fast-paced, action-packed novel. But the story started out pre 9-11, when I was doing peacetime work at the Pentagon. Once I started going to Iraq, I changed dramatically, and the story changed with me, taking on a lot of the tactical camera I picked up in theater. My craft developed all along, and what emerged at the other end was (I hope) a great blending of all those lines into the book we’ve got today.
With your military background, the military elements come across with great verisimilitude. You’ve mentioned Jack Campbell in previous interviews, what other Military SF writers can you point to and can say “They served, they got it right, too.”
Absolutely: Robert Buettner’s Jason Wander series. Buettner was Army, and it shows in his frank and complex depiction of the military and the people in it. He shows the organization as gigantic, hidebound and soul-crushing, but also glorious, triumphant and transcendent. And that’s really how the military is. It’s impossible to be “pro” or “anti” any organization so vast and complex. It’s very tempting to do that when you’re writing fiction (because polarity makes for an easy story), but the best works of art embrace the complexity and the reader enjoys it because they see reality reflected there. Campbell does this. Buettner does this. I have tried really hard to do it too.