08-25-08: MilSciFi.com interviews Christopher Besse,
author of the military science fiction novel Element.
MilSciFi: "Welcome and
congratulations on winning the Dream Realm Awards 2007 for best Science
Besse: "Thanks very much
Mike, I appreciate your kind words."
MilSciFi: "What was your
inspiration for your story?"
have always been a student of history, military history to be more specific.
The inspiration for my story evolved over a number of years of wanting to
involve an allied coalition of forces set in the future that would include
forces from Canada, the US and other Earth
countries, with famous ships from the past recreated in a space naval
MilSciFi: "Do you have any
future plans for stories set in the same universe?"
Besse: "Yes, Element is
the first book in the Element trilogy. I am eighty percent finished book two,
entitled ‘Vortex’, and book three is outlined and ready to be written. I plan
on having Vortex to my publisher before Christmas and book three by April,
MilSciFi: "What would your
ideal project be if you could plan your own anthology?"
Besse: "Well, that is an
interesting question. I would write an anthology of short stories based on
future battle scenarios involving specialized teams and a Mech. Brigade, set on
different planets. Some of those would be stories taken from snapshots of past
events that happen in the Element trilogy."
MilSciFi: "What other
upcoming works are on the horizon for you?"
Besse: "As I mentioned, I
am working on books two and three of the Element trilogy and have plans to
write a story about a Company of line grunts who get cut off and surrounded and
their last stand."
MilSciFi: "How would you describe
your experience working on the book?"
Besse: "In one word,
Magic! I love to write and often I would get so totally lost in the story and
characters that I would look up at the clock and realize that it was two o’clock in the morning."
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?"
Besse: "First, I always
approach my writing with one sole criteria; I write for me and the pure
enjoyment and creative energy of writing, plain and simple. I never, ever write
to please an editor or publisher; that would kill the enjoyment and make it a
tedious task. So to answer your question is a bit on the tough side because I
enjoy everything I write, whether it is a short story about how the grandkids
hustled the dreaded grandma person for chocolate chip cookies or a Marine
Sniper team holding the rear guard so their BLT (Battalion Landing Team) can
find and fix the enemy. But just to enjoy writing a story flat out balls to the
wall, pure fun, it would be about a Recon team. It would be fast, hard and
dirty, attempting to fix in the mind of the reader the absolute terror and
ugliness of war and the hidden valor it often brings out."
MilSciFi: "What is your favorite
story you have ever written and why?"
Besse: "My absolutely
favorite story I have written is called, “Outlaw Bikers” and the second would
have to be “Crimes of Passion.” I would really like to tell you about them but
if I did, unfortunately, I would have to kill you; no wait, that’s one of those
over worked clichés in countless books. Those two short stories made more
people laugh than any other stories I have written."
MilSciFi: "What are you
working on next?"
Besse: "I am currently working
on Vortex, book two of the Element trilogy."
MilSciFi: "Give us the
details on your upcoming author appearances."
Besse: "I will be setting
up several book signings at various Indigo Chapters book stores, libraries, etc.
in the Central Alberta area. You can check my website for details –
MilSciFi: "What advice would
you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?"
Besse: "First, be
authentic. Do your research and be real. Don’t write purple. Write lean and
tight with an economy of words and be direct. Get your technology correct.
Visit several military bases if you can, talk to people who have been there and,
last and probably the best advice I could give you is read, read, and read some
more the non-fiction historical accounts of period history. Not just by
historians but by the people who actually survived."
MilSciFi: "Who is your
single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our
Besse: "I would have to
say William Keith Jr. is one of my greatest influences. He was a hospital
corpsman in the U.S. Navy during the late Vietnam era and writes under
two different pseudonyms. Writing under the pseudonym H. Jay Riker, he is
responsible for the ‘SEALS: The Warrior Breed’ series and as Ian Douglas he writes
the ‘Luna Marine’ series following the exploits of Marines in future conflict.
The greatest influences for me are his detail and accuracy."
MilSciFi: "What is the one
thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?"
Besse: "Nothing, really.
It is a wide open field, no stereotypes, no preconceived plans or battle
MilSciFi: "Do you have any
awards you would like to share with us?"
Besse: "This month, Element
took first place in the Science Fiction category in the 2007 Dream Realm Award
contest. You can view the write up and see the actual award here: http://www.dream-realm-awards.net/DRA2007.html
MilSciFi: "Is military
science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there
we should be looking for?"
Besse: "Actually I have an
anthology of short, anecdotal stories about life, grandkids, and motorcycles and
the people I meet on the road. The name of that particular book is called, “I
Ride, Therefore I Am” and it is currently in the submission stage."