Hello Space Cadets! Today, I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES. Chris Winder – Winder like wine, not like wind.
Without further ado, let’s get this interview cranking!
Tell me a little about your military service?
I served just over eight years in the US Marine Corps, first as a field wiremen, then as a Field Wire and Switchboard Operator instructor. Basically, I dug ditches, made sure the commanders had telephone service and sat around a lot cleaning cables and waiting for something to break. My last for years were spent in Twentynine Palms, California where I actually got the privilege of teaching young Marines, and some older Lieutenants and Captains, how to install telephones, program switchboards and run cryptographic equipment.
How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?
Though I haven’t published a book about space Marines yet, I’m fairly certain that when I do, I will be able to make them pretty convincing, especially for fellow military.
I’ve also learned to stick to things until the end. Even when it seems like a grind, finishing a 55k book is worth writing, if you can stick with it.
Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books? If so, how?
I never saw combat, so the combat training I had was Marine Combat Training school. I think that gives me a solid foundation to write about space Marines kicking butt so long as I don’t get too technical, or I can explain why they are doing whatever it is I have them doing. As for the field wire training, not really. Our equipment was pretty simple, though I guess that does come out in Admiral Eeekbo’s controls on his ship in Space Trash.
When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?
It’s only been about five or six months. It’s an urge I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on until now. But now that I’ve discovered that I can do it, life and I’ve done it several times, I know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to write.
Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?
My favorite so far is my first publication, Space Trash. It started out being the most insulting SciFi book ever written, and during the rewrite became hundredth or so most insulting SciFi book ever written. Who doesn’t love writing about aliens, fast cars, a crack whore, a dirty politician and rednecks?
How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?
About 30 or so. But that’s all in one story, so that one needs a rewrite so I can cut it down to five or so. Of that, four will be inspired. Three were friends, one was most definitely not. Spoiler: The aliens get the last one, and it’s ugly.
How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?
Probably ten. For those who don’t know, the military in peacetime is a whole lot of sitting around and trying to look busy, unless you’re working in Admin. During the down-time there’s a lot of tomfoolery and all kinds of injuries we try to explain-away so we don’t get busted when we go to medical seeking treatment.
Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you? Has it helped you process your experiences?
I’ve discovered that with my current work in progress. I can still remember the faces of a lot of Marines I trained at the Marine Corps Communications Electronics School. I must have put 3000 through my classes. Of those, I’m sure most were sent to Afghanistan. I have no idea how many I lost. I have no idea how many remember me.
I do know that one promised me an alligator steak, which I still haven’t received… lookin’ at you PFC Peacock…
I also know a little of what it means to have PTSD. I know the thoughts, the sleepless nights replaying things in my head over and over. I know the burning, sick desire for peace, for quiet, for a calm experience. I know the regret. I know what it means to have survivor’s guilt, and I understand that my experience is only a very tiny fraction of what others feel. Writing gives me a way to relive events in my life and play them out differently. It also helps me to objectify events and step away from them far enough to see what really happened, rather than what I felt happened. I think that’s one of the main reasons I write… for the therapy.
If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?
It would be Corporal Davis, a character in an unpublished book I’m rewriting. He puts duty first, protects those in his charge and still manages to be human. He tries to keep a strong presence, tries to avoid showing that he’s scared, and it’s not for his sake, but for the sake of those who are counting on him. He’s also a badass, tough as nails and likes killing aliens… a lot.
If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?
Cletus and Cooter from Space Trash. They don’t have good weapons discipline, don’t practice the basic safety rules and have no ambition besides getting enough money to earn beer or take a cousin on a date. I don’t hang out with people who have no ambition… I don’t see a point.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a story, likely a novel about a boy who grows up and discovers that the fantastical stories his grandmother used to tell him were absolutely the truth. Dragons are real. Fairies are real. Little invisible men whose sole purpose it is to tangle your hair when you’re asleep if you’ve been bad are real. And a “curmudgeon” is a thing, not an attitude… though the attitude was named after the thing.
How can people find you?
If this convinced you to find out more, look up Chris Winder. I hope you all had a great time getting to know about Chris Winder. Don’t be afraid to say hello here or on their own Facebook page. If they don’t respond quick enough, strafe him with criticisms about his beard! Mwahahaha!!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
->As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.