Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Inspiring Military Story from Veteran and Author S.S. Hampton, Sr.

Today I'm pleased to introduce my guest S.S. Hampton, Sr., who is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom. His short story BETTER THAN A RABBIT'S FOOT is currently available from Muse It Up Publishing. Welcome!

Tell us a little about your background and how you became an author.

Well, I’m a Native American, a Choctaw from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. I am a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist. I’ve wanted to be an author since the age of 15, because I’ve always had this desire to write, to tell stories. My writing never went anywhere though I tried and tried, until my first short story was published in 1992; it wasn’t until 2001 that I was published again, and then my writing finally started to take off in 2002. I’m not well off yet, but one can always hope!

What is one of your favorite books and why?

“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” is one of my favorites. First, it takes place in a location I am very familiar with – a Convoy Support Center in northern Kuwait. Second, it addresses the idea of lucky charms that many Soldiers “believed” in though they might not admit it. Finally, it addresses the idea, the hope, that there is someone back home waiting for the Soldier to return from the war.

What inspired you to write this book?

Due to my military background, and especially my service and deployment in support of the Global War On Terrorism, I have many thoughts and ideas. I suppose it’s also because the military world, especially one at war, is a world that many people don’t understand, and I’d like them to understand. For example, I remember how the Soldiers looked forward to mail. E-mail is great, and it’s virtually instantaneous, but there’s something special about holding a letter or card in hand, knowing that someone cared enough to take a moment out of a busy day to write something. To receive mail from a loved one, or even a stranger, whether card, letter, or care package, was always a special moment, especially when the tired, dusty, sweaty Soldiers returned from missions. Even if it was late at night and we Orderly Room personnel were off-duty, the Soldiers who returned to the CSC often asked if they had any mail. We always checked and if they had any, we gave it to them.

How would you describe your writing process?

It’s something of an idea that comes to mind, sometimes a title, followed by identifying and naming characters. Once those are in place, I write something of an outline, develop the characters more fully, and I research whatever I need to help bring the story alive. Once I’ve accomplished my first draft, which incorporates some editing at the same time, I’ll usually put the story away for a week or two before I go back and edit and polish, until I’m fairly happy with it. I’m never 100% happy, because I don’t think there is such a thing as perfection in writing. If you’re not careful, you could edit forever, agonizing over a comma, apostrophe, or even a word.

How have you marketed your book?

At this point, through “appearing” on blogs as a guest blogger, or being interviewed, followed by a promotion of providing a book cover, an excerpt, and a buy link. Once I’ve got this technique down pat, I’d like to move into creating “trailers” for my various stories.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write. Write every day, whether 500 words or 1,000 words or more. And write from the heart. Don’t be afraid to express emotion in your writing. Without emotion, your writing is nothing more than a dry English report.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

The setting is a CSC in northern Kuwait. A young soldier and gunner on a gun truck, Sergeant Jerry Stanton, is preparing to go on a convoy security escort mission into Iraq. Word has come down that a gunner from his unit on a mission up north, has been killed. As the soldiers prepare for the mission, a mail clerk delivers mail to them:

     With a thoughtful sigh, Jerry wandered out of the entrance to Conex City and past a lime-green Porta Potty with a white roof at the end of the four-foot high sandbag wall. He hopped onto the wall, pulled a small note card out of the dusty envelope and read, “I wore this just for you. And you weren’t around to take it off! It was all so unsatisfying! I miss you! Hurry back! I love you. Lucy. PS: More to come! A care package is on the way too! AND DON’T FORGET WHO YOU BELONG TO!”
     He grinned and chuckled as he pulled a black satin leg garter trimmed with yellow lace and matching yellow ribbon, out of the envelope. For a moment he almost sang the words to a famous song from the 1970s. The wind tried to snatch the memory-filled lingerie from his fingers. He lowered the bandanna, pressed the soft material against his nose and closed his eyes. It smelled of patchouli perfume, his favorite, and of Lucy’s loving and lusty, musky scent. He grinned again at the thought that it would be just like her if she deliberately scented it for him.
     Jerry continued to press the soft material against his face and kept his eyes closed…

Where can readers find you and your book?

“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” is available from MuseItUp Publishing. 

With your military background, this sounds like a great read! Thank you for being a guest today!!

--KSR Writer


  1. A touching excerpt, Stan. This sounds like a really good story. Good luck with it

  2. Wendy,

    Thank you. And I wish the same for you.