iUniverse welcomes author G. William Weatherly, whose book, Sheppard of the Argonne, is an INDIEFAB finalist.
Please briefly describe your book . . .
I am honored and humbled that Sheppard of the Argonne has been named a finalist in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year competition for my genre.
Captain Sheppard McCloud, a hero of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor and “savior” of the west coast from air attack, must hide his post-traumatic stress from senior officers and subordinates alike in an age that considered its symptoms cowardice. Though still suffering from both his physical and psychological wounds, the Navy brass has decided they need their best Captain back in command of the latest capital ship—the battle cruiser Argonne.
With less than a day until they leave on a mission that could decide the fate of the allied cause, Sheppard must rally his officers and men, gain their confidence, and build them into a team. As the task force that includes the Argonne crosses the Atlantic they confront submarines, aircraft, and finally enemy surface ships, culminating in that rarest of actual battles—a gun duel between capital ships.
Sheppard of the Argonne is a WWII naval action thriller. Concentrating on the command perspective of the protagonist and his antagonists allowed me to compare leadership styles and the resulting battle effectiveness of their units.
Do you have any particular literary influences that have helped you develop in your genre, subject and style?
I grew up with C. S. Forrester and his Horatio Hornblower series, but later I most enjoyed the way Tom Clancy broke up his scenes and sequels to show the story from multiple perspectives. I used my own experience in command of three USN ships to give my characters authenticity and carefully researched the WWII customs, traditions, equipment, and procedures to recreate that era. Admiral Morison’s fifteen volumes on the History of US Naval Operations in WWII were my first book purchases as soon as a volume came to my local store.
That is a difficult question. I began writing at the urging of a therapist to help me past a difficult time in my own life. The alternative history aspect went back to a high school research paper and the desire to show more than just one engagement in a book. Once I started to put the story on paper, it only took a few months to complete a draft, but working with several editors and learning the hard way how to write literary fiction took nearly a decade before the book was ready for print. I also wanted to pay homage to the sacrifices and experiences of the greatest generation that also fought at sea as we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the war.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
My novel is not only a treatise on leadership in war and the moral dilemmas faced by those in command, but can also apply to anyone who is responsible for a group of people. The thrilling battles and engagements only add to the drama of men in war that must balance the consequences of their orders with the risks to their crew. It is true to the era so that my readers can understand the culture of the United States Navy and how that helped it win the war at sea. I carefully convey the tactics and feel of that rarest of actual engagements, a gun duel between battleships. As an engineer by training, I made certain that the characteristics and functionality of all the weapons and equipment were accurate.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
Yes! The story is complete and I am working to find an agent (please take note) who will pick up my work. A follow on to the sequel is half done to continue the illustrious career of my protagonist Captain Sheppard McCloud. Sheppard of the Argonne contains teasers at the end alluding to the next novel. In setting up my fictional strategic situation, I’ve created a world where naval action will initially predominate. My great joy is in the writing and crafting of operational scenarios as well as bringing characters that I have known to life. The marketing is something I would rather leave to a professional.
Are there any events, marketing ideas or promotions planned for your book?
Yes, I have been touring my local libraries and have had book signings at my local Navy Exchange, the Naval War College Museum, and Battleship Cove. With my wife, we are trying to arrange a tour down the east coast to some of the Exchanges and warship memorials. If my novel can spark interest in these marvelous ships by the public at large and help with the monumental expense of preserving them for future generations I would be very pleased.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with iUniverse?
I think the best part was working with the editor, the formatter and the cover illustrators to get the feel of the book right.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write, write, and write more. Keep a notebook with you at all times as you never know when the inspiration for a scene or piece of dialog will hit you. You don’t need to know the end before you start on the beginning.
Check out the book’s website at http://www.sheppardoftheargonne.com/