August 9, 2014

Author Spotlight Stan R. Mitchell

Image of Stan R. Mitchell
Stan lives in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with his wife Danah, and in his free time, he enjoys writing action fiction, studying Eastern philosophy, and practicing Shaolin Kung Fu
Want to learn more about Stan? Find Him here ...
His Work Includes
Sold Out

Today I am a very lucky lady to be interviewing Stan Mitchell author of Sold Out. You can check out my review in sold out here Sold Out Review


Hi Stan, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

First, thanks for having me, Ash! I’m honored!

The short of it is I'm an action fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Lee Child. I'm also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years in the news business, working as a reporter, editor, and publisher.

I write every chance I get and I'm far too ambitious for my own good, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

ASHDo you write full time or part time?


Just part-time right now, but I’m getting closer and closer to being able to execute my dream of writing full-time!


What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Lol. This is probably one of those questions I should answer lamely!

But the truth is, I’m insanely driven. Partly, it’s small man’s syndrome. Partly, it’s being raised without much money. Partly, it’s the Marine Corps.

Honestly, I believe you’re either among the best and everyone is talking about you, or you’re not.

I aim to be among the best, if my talent will take there.

I can’t speak for the talent, but I’m pretty confident I have the heart, desire, and fire to outwork much of my competition.


What genre are your books?


I tell people I write action fiction, but my books fall into a thriller/political/military categories, depending on who you ask. I do have one Western, but it’s really just an action thriller in a Western time period.


What draws you to this genre?


Interesting question, and no quick answer. The short of it is I wrote a fair amount of literature in one of my writing phases right after college. At that point, I was a bit disillusioned with action books. Having chased my childhood dream of wanting to serve in the Marine Corps, I’d learned the harsh truth that actually being in the infantry isn’t nearly as fun or glamorous as the books make it out to be.

And I had quickly discovered from my friends that it wasn’t just the career field of the Marine Corps that fell short of expectations. Turns out, it’s about everywhere.

That’s when I wrote a fair amount of literature, which I’d generically define as writing about “real life.” But the literature I wrote was really dark and black and hellish. (Much like real life! lol)

Long story short, I’ll stick to writing fun stories, since for me, there’s nothing that beats a great book that pulls me out of my present reality and transplants me into an awesome life-and-death struggle.

As to why I write in the action genre over mystery and other genres, that’s pretty simple. Action books are what I’ve read my entire life. I feel I know and understand the genre, and it’s where I’m most comfortable trying to make it as an author.


Would you wonder into any other genres?


Some, but I think it’s best to stay disciplined as an author and try to create a recognizable brand. Remember, I’m trying to be among the best, and I think you hurt your opportunity to achieve that goal if you’re writing just a book or two in various genres.


In “Sold Out” Nick Woods is the main character he is a mighty good looking fellow but can be a total ASS at times can you give us a little more insight on his character?


Obviously, Nick really is jacked up in the head... He's about as messed up as they come.

Not only does he have undiagnosed PTSD, he also has higher than normal levels of paranoia because he was literally sold out by the government that he trusted.

And given that he's killed a hundred plus guys in a series of missions he can't talk about, he's not your typical vet. He's a dangerous animal that you don't want to set off.

No, he's not like some likable Hollywood character. Instead, he's precisely like many vets you'll meet in the real world.

And if I'm totally honest, I'd have to admit this: I wrote much of "Sold Out" right after my exit from the Marine Corps, when I was dealing with some serious paranoia and trying my best to deprogram myself from four years of extreme situations.

I was in a dark place, and I suppose the book reveals it.

The truth is that the Nick Woods in "Sold Out" is far more real than you probably ever want to imagine.

We prefer images of soldiers and Marines returning home with a smile, hugging wives and kids and wrapped in the flag. We don't want to think about those same men never being able to lower their guard, driving different routes to work, or being startled in their sleep and reaching for a gun.

Unfortunately, the truth is that real veterans who have actually been through a lot are like that. They have wire triggers, they're alert, and you don't want to startle them. (Just ask one of my friends.)


Did you do research while writing Sold Out or is sorta personal experience since are a former Marine?


In the book, Nick is a sniper. I wasn’t a sniper, but I own several sniper manuals from the military, and two of my best friends who I served with went from being infantrymen like me to becoming snipers.

So, the book’s action scenes come from real life experience, knowledge from military manuals, and lots of emails from real Marine Corps snipers.


Can we expect to see Nick in other books?


Absolutely. I expect at least a ten to fifteen book series. Nick runs toward danger, and we live in a dangerous world. You can’t expect him to sit around and retire quietly.


You are happily married and I am sure your wife is a big supporter, but what does she think of the characters you have created?


Danah helps me a lot with my writing. I bounce ideas off her and she helps me a ton with characters. (That’s her strength.)

I feel my strength as an author is plot and pace (thanks to my newspaper writing days!), so in many ways, I have a huge leg up on other authors.

My number one weakness – character, something I’m probably just average at -- gets a major boost up by Danah. So, really, Danah and I together are a pretty fierce-some team.

Although Nick is a character I created before I met Danah, she appreciates that he’s a raw character, who has plenty of shortcomings. She’s enjoying seeing him grow as a character and deal with his demons, i.e. his extreme paranoia and isolation from society.


What are you currently working on?


I’m working on the final edits to Mexican Heat, which is Book 2 of the Nick Woods series. And it’s a sequel/follow up to “Sold Out.”


What are your thoughts on writing a follow up to Sold Out was it planned or did it just pop into your head after Sold Out was completed?


As I mentioned above, my strength is plot. So, “Sold Out” is two “plots” that came together. First, I started this idea of just having Nick Woods pull off the Interstate in a small town and run into all kinds of trouble. Obviously, he’d defend himself, there’d be tons of gunplay, and maybe he’d even fall in love.

But another idea I’ve had for nearly ten years was, “What if a billionaire, who’s responsible for like 80 percent of Mexico’s economy, decided he/she has had enough? That they were leaving Mexico? And that if they left, Mexico’s entire government would collapse and the drug cartels would take over.”

So, I started the Nick book referenced above, but got stuck/bored on the small town trouble idea.

That’s when I started looking for another idea to attempt, and then started the Mexican billionaire “what if” mentioned above.

The book practically wrote itself and I made tremendous headway with it. (At first, Nick wasn’t even a part of it. Some Navy Seals were.) But I soon saw a way to bring in a bad-ass we all know by the name of Nick, into this great plot idea of a near-catastrophic Mexican collapse.

So, you end up with this epic book full of tons of action, a bad guy who wields a katana sword, and Nick falling for a girl.

Believe me, it’s called “Mexican Heat” for a reason.


Is there anything else you like to add?


I’ve said WAY more than Nick would approve of, and he’s pretty much my hero, so I’ll just clamp down.


Last but not least what is your favorite dessert!?

I’d say “chocolate,” but Nick would knock me upside the head and say we need to get more range time in. Nick doesn’t believe in dessert. Dessert is for softies, he once said.