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David Sherman's The Junkyard Dogs

MilSciFi.com reviews David Sherman's The Junkyard Dogs

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Author David Sherman

David Sherman
THE JUNKYARD DOGS

Biography of David Sherman


09-10-2009: MilSciFi.com interviews David Sherman, author of the military fiction novel, The Junkyard Dogs.

MilSciFi: "Welcome. Please tell us about your novel."

Sherman: "There are two aspects of The Junkyard Dogs.  One is the story of a Marine Corps Combined Action Platoon in Vietnam.  That part of the novel is an accurate portrayal of the lives of those Marines.

In the other, The Junkyard Dogs is a meeting of two rumors.  One, widely believed and equally widely denied, is that the CIA's Phoenix Program in the Vietnam War was at least in part an assassination program; the CIA would target Viet Cong or North Vietnamese cadre in villages and send people in to kill them.  The other rumor, which crops up on occasion, is that the Marine Corps' Combined Action Program was a front for Phoenix, that Marines were used to commit assassinations.

I served in a CAP, and I can tell you honestly that I never even heard of Phoenix until years after I came home from the war.  As a matter of fact, I was quite surprised when I finally learned that the CIA had any role whatsoever in the war.  In all the CAP reunions I have attended, I've only once heard a vet say that his unit performed any duties for Phoenix.  That instance was one on which the CAP provided security while a CIA team went into a village to capture a cadre."

MilSciFi: "What inspired you to write this story?"

Sherman: "Frankly, I don't believe that CAP Marines had anything to do with an assassination program, CIA-run or otherwise.  But the rumor that they did stuck in my mind.  I finally decided to write about how it might have happened."

MilSciFi: "Is this work part of a series?"

Sherman: "The Junkyard Dogs is a stand-alone novel, unrelated to anything else I've written or plan to write.  Not withstanding the fact that I began my writing career by writing a six book action-adventure series, The Night Fighters, about a CAP.  When I wrote this book, I felt that after eight previous novels (the other two weren't about a CAP) about Marines in Vietnam, I'd said all I had to say on the subject."

MilSciFi: "In the book your characters are based at Fort Cragg, was there such a place?"

Sherman: "There were, at one time, 119 CAPs in Vietnam.  Every one was different.  Some CAP camps had bunkers and masonry buildings like the one in The Junkyard Dogs, others were more primitive--in my CAP, we lived in tents.  After the Tet Offensive, CAPs were mobile, moving from place to place daily, without a home base.  I made up Fort Cragg.

MilSciFi: "How much of the background of the story is based on your own experiences?"

Sherman: "The only specific thing in this novel that comes directly from my own experience is the use of nicknames.  Most of the Marines in my CAP went by nicknames--what the kids called us.  For example, I was De Vinh, which was as close as the kids could come to pronouncing David.  I know CAP Marines from having been one, and I know how CAPs other than my own operated from reading most of the little that's been published on the program, and from talking with other CAP vets.  Coming up with realistic characters and situations was easy."

MilSciFi: "What advice would you give the aspiring military fiction writer?"

Sherman: "Well, sir.  Military culture is quite unlike civilian culture.  Within the military, the culture is different from branch to branch: army culture isn't like air force culture, isn't like navy culture, isn't like Marine culture.  And war, I'm speaking here from the point of view of the infantryman, is radically different from anything else in the human experience.  When I read military fiction, I can tell whether or not the writer is a vet.  If he's writing about Marines, I can tell whether or not he ever wore the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

My advice to anyone who wants to write military fiction is enlist. Get the experience, learn the culture.  If you haven't lived it you can't get it right, it's too far removed from anything you know.  And you can't get it from a book.

Unless, of course, you're writing something so far out that nobody expects it to be accurate or realistic."

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

Sherman: "Staying in combat, seeing people I know, friends even, get killed.  When I write, I immerse myself in the story; the characters are real people to me.  I'm working on something now where a lot of characters get killed.  It's hard.

I don't believe in spear-bearers--anonymous characters that are there only to get killed.  To the greatest extent possible, every one of the characters who get killed in my novels has a name, they aren't anonymous cannon fodder."

MilSciFi: "Besides military and science fiction, is there any other genre you write in?"

Sherman: "I have a vampire novel out, The Hunt.  You can learn more about it on my website.  There are my three DemonTech novels.  There's the possibility of a fourth DemonTech.  And there's another I'm noodling with.  But I may or may not do anything with it."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any other projects in the works?"

Sherman: "That would be telling."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any upcoming author events?"

Sherman: "At this time, I don't have anything scheduled."

MilSciFi: "Thank you, and Semper Fi!"
  


David Sherman's website is:
www.novelier.com

The Junkyard Dogs, is published by
WordCaster Novels,
Fort Lauderdale, FL
www.novelier.com

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Copyright 2009 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.

 

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