11-09-08: MilSciFi.com interviews Bud Sparhawk author of the upcoming science fiction novel
MilSciFi: "Welcome. What was your
inspiration for your novel?"
Sparhawk: "VIXEN arose when
I considered what might have evolved had a group like the Mongols become the
predominant humans, then projected that eons into the future as the wave of
humanity spread outward from Earth. This novel begins with the fourth or fifth
wave of expansion. I threw in the aliens, religion, and a mystery as a
vehicle for what I was saying about social stability and its cost."
MilSciFi: "Do you have any
future plans for stories set in the same universe?"
Sparhawk: "The novel ends on
an equivocal note that I will probably revisit in the future. It depends
a lot on the way this book is received. FYI I used the same alien idea in a
military short story called CLAY'S PRIDE, which I've turned into a novel that
is making the rounds."
MilSciFi: "What would your
ideal project be if you could plan your own novel?"
Sparhawk: "Not sure what
this question is asking. I plan all my novels since no one seems to be putting
out commissions for writers."
MilSciFi: "What other
upcoming works are on the horizon for you?"
Sparhawk: "I am completing a
near future techno-thriller about the damage/rewards a mind-altering machine
unleashes on an unsuspecting world. Also in the works is a coming of age
story on an abandoned colony world. Both are in their penultimate stages of
MilSciFi: "How would you
describe your experience working on the book?"
Sparhawk: "VIXEN developed
organically, growing from the nature of the protagonists and their mission.
I threw away about thirty thousand words about Tam and Larisha's previous
lives to shorten the work. The story evolved continuously rather than in fits
and starts. Only occasionally did I have to go back and introduce new
material. I did edit this ruthlessly because of the number of characters.
This was the third novel I finished (the other two still haven't
MilSciFi: "If you had a
chance to write one story just because you wanted to, and didn't have to worry
about if it would sell or not, what would it be about?"
Sparhawk: "I write all my
stories because I want to say something very specific, even the humorous ones
like the Sam Boone stories (which incidentally continue to be downloaded from
FICTIONWISE after all these years.) I only sell about half of my stories
and usually get "well written, but not for our magazine" replies on
the rest. Maybe some day I'll find some way to put them in a collection of
previously unpublished shorts or find an editor with the right whacked out
mindset to buy them."
MilSciFi: "What is your
favorite story you have ever written and why?"
Sparhawk: "That would be the
9-11 inspired short story BRIGHT RED STAR, which has touched so many people
around the world and which I cannot read without crying. I wrote that in
one continuous scream against the vitrol I saw in those who didn't understand,
who didn't appreciate different points of view."
MilSciFi: "What are you
working on next?"
Sparhawk: "Well, I'm trying
to finish two novels (see 4, above), and about a half dozen short stories. I
work constantly and average about one novella, a couple of novelettes, and a
handful of shorts each year. I'd like to do more, but with a full-time
job just getting my few hours of writing in each evening is all I can
MilSciFi: "Give us the
details on your upcoming author appearances."
Sparhawk: "I'm a regular at
the local cons - Balticon, CapClave, and PhilCon. This year I'm going to
RavenCon and making appearances at the SLA convention in Washington DC."
MilSciFi: "What advice would
you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?"
Sparhawk: "Write, write,
write, write, research, and write some more. Talk to veterans, read Leon Uris,
read the Red Badge of Courage and then write some more."
MilSciFi: "Who is your
single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our
Sparhawk: "Keith Laumer was
a big influence since I shadowed his assignments in the AF for years.
Then there's the usual suspects - Asimov through Zelany - hell, I read
EVERYTHING SF I could get my hands on for years and years."
MilSciFi: "What is the one
thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?"
Sparhawk: "I try to write
about people and their problems. If you don't include their inner lives
and emotions all you are doing is writing formulaic war porn."
MilSciFi: "Do you have any
awards you would like to share with us?"
Sparhawk: "I treasure every
check an editor sends me. I've been a Nebula finalist three times, for what
MilSciFi: "Do you have a
website where our readers can go to find more information about your
"http://www.sff.net/people/bud_sparhawk contains a complete bibliography
of my published works as well as biographies and other stuff. I try to keep it
MilSciFi: "Is military
science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there
we should be looking for?"
Sparhawk: "I've written some
milfic, a lot of humor, some soft and some hard science fiction. ( I also do
articles, but I wash my hands afterwards.)"