MilSciFi Logo




Visit Breach the Hull's homepage.


CJ Henderson

CJ Henderson

"Shore Leave"

08-20-07: interviews author CJ Henderson, contributor to the upcoming military science fiction anthology "Breach the Hull".

MilSciFi: “Welcome. What was your inspiration for your story?”

Henderson: “I wanted to have one of the best stories in the anthology, but I've never written a single sci fi military story before. My motivation to not look like a horse's ass forced me to look for a way to pull all of these ex-Navy, molecular engineers who write the bulk of this genre's stories into my sandbox. I might not know much about the military, but I know a crateload about old musicals. So, my inspiration ... Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and all the other guys who sang and danced their way through movies about sailors on leave.”

MilSciFi: “Do you have any future plans for stories set in the same universe?”

Henderson: “Yes ... Rocky and Noodles, my two stars, have become quite popular just through my doing readings of my story at conventions. So, I'm thinking since Rocky was more the star of this one, I have to do at least one more where Noodles gets his turn to shine.”

MilSciFi: “What would your ideal project be if you could plan your own anthology?”

Henderson: “I've been doing a lot of comedies lately, and I think a lot of other serious genre writers would like an opportunity to do the same. An anthology that gave us a chance to do funny horror, sci fi and fantasy stories I think would get a lot of submissions from unexpected places.”

MilSciFi: “What other upcoming works are on the horizon for you?”

Henderson: “My Kolchak: the Nightstalker novel just came out, I'm starting a two-book deal for Tor right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on a collection of Blakely and Boles stories with my partner, Bruce Gehweiler for Elder Signs Press, I only have a couple of stories to finish for Steampowered Love, my steampunk sci fi collection, ... oh and a few more things here and there. My wife like me to keep busy.”

MilSciFi: “How would you describe your experience working on the book?”

Henderson: “Fear, at first, desperately looking for an idea, then acres of fun after I got my idea and sat down and brought it to life.”

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?”

Henderson: “I would take the time to finish "Leave Your Friends and Go," a massive novel about a vigilantee who becomes president.”

MilSciFi: “What is your favorite story you have ever written and why?”

Henderson: “Impossible to pick one. Too many of my novels and shorts, and even some of my comics, have given me intense amounts of satisfaction. I've had hits with so many pieces editors and publishers told me were complete wastes of time it's hard to pick the one that allowed me to give out with the loudest horse laugh.”

MilSciFi: “What are you working on next?”

Henderson: “I'm working on a action novella that's going to be so heavily illustrated it will look like a novel. It's an expansion of my short story "A Sandy Beach," and it stars my "action babe," Kate Monroe of the Suiciders. I probably won't get it finished before I have to start the first Tor novel, but it will still be done this year.”

MilSciFi: “Give us the details on your upcoming author appearances.”

Henderson: “Check the news section of my website, I try to get out to see the public at least three weekends a month, so I'm always going somewhere.”

MilSciFi: “What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?”

Henderson: “Come up with a clever dodge like I did, or don't try it if you don't know the material. The real writers who have dedicated their careers to this genre, who have my complete and total admiration, have served on subs, walked the decks of aircraft carriers, and not just as watchers. They've taken orders, know how to turn off their fear and react to commands. They've lived lives of sacrifice and duty. It's not something you can fake your way through. Honestly, I'm honored to be appearing with some of the people in this book with my little musical comedy.”

MilSciFi: “Who is your single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our own work?”

Henderson: “You keep asking these "gimme one answer only" questions. I can't do it. I've had the chance to chat about the craft with Cliff Simak and Joe Halderman and Alfred Bester. I've read massive amounts of Brunner, Anderson, Dick and two score others. After half a century of taking in it from their writing and from themselves, how could I pick. There's nothing like spending the afternoon with guys like Frank Herbert of H.R. Giger to make that simply too hard to answer. Sorry for being such a punk.”

MilSciFi: “What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?”

Henderson: “Not having the slightest idea what it really takes to live the life of a soldier, sailor or airman. Not just those who sign up to get money for college, but those for whom this is a career, a way of life, you know ... not just a job, but an adventure. This is one genre where I'll stick to comedy to not end up looking like the big horse's pa-tootie I would if I tried to fake it.”

MilSciFi: “Do you have any awards you would like to share with us?”

Henderson: “Yes, I probably proudest of my GAMA award, because I know that there's no way political pull or anything but being the fan favorite could have gotten it for me. At the time I didn't know anyone in gaming, and won by having a good story in the right place at the right time. I know much more about gaming now, but then I was a complete outsider. So, that's the award I really feel I earned.”

MilSciFi: “Do you have a website where our readers can go to fine more information about your work?”

Henderson: “Yep--the one I mentioned above.”

MilSciFi: “Do you write under any other names?”

Henderson: “Not anymore.”

MilSciFi: “Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking for?”

Henderson: “Yes, please go out and look for my Teddy London novels, that's my supernatural detective series, or my hardboiled private eye, Jack Hagee, or my Kolchak work ... or, you know, just go to the website. It will tell you all about what I do, give you some free short stories to read, and a place where anyone can contact me and ask questions I might not have already answered.

Oh, and thanks for the asking. Here's hoping everyone out there likes what they read of me and goes looking for more. Checks coming in helps me keep my wife from changing the locks. Thank you one and all for helping me keep her tool box under the dresser where it belongs. Thank you one and all for that, and for all the books you've bought and read and enjoyed over the years.”

CJ Henderson's website is:

Breach the Hull, is published by Marietta Publishing:

E-Mail the Webmaster


Copyright ©2007 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


The views contained in this interview are those of the author, and
do not necessarily represent the views of