Malcolm Dylan Petteway is a senior military analyst, a retired military officer and a twenty-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew B-52’s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and has 3,000 flight hours and 300 combat hours. In his distinguished career, Malcolm has used his knowledge in the art of war, military weapons and combat defenses in planning over 400 combat sorties. Besides his Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and numerous other awards, Malcolm is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Air Medal and the U.S. Air Force Air Achievement Medal for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. Malcolm Petteway is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University.
His latest book is Homecoming – Osguards: Guardians of the Universe (Book 1).
You can visit Malcolm at http://www.ragebooks.net.
Thank you for this interview, Malcolm. Can you tell us briefly what your latest book, Homecoming, Osguards: Guardians of the Universe, is all about?
The 2011 Hollywood Book Festival recently recognized Homecoming with an Honorable Mention award. Homecoming is a military science fiction book; written in the same fashion as Star Trek, Star Wars and Star Gate books. It is the first book in a series of four novels. It tells the adventures of Michael David Genesis and his family, the Earth-born Osguards. They are leaders of a United Nations type organization in space, called the Universal Science, Security and Trade Association of Planets – USSTAP (pronounced ewes-tap). The Osguards administer diplomatic, economic and military tools of power to keep the peace throughout 60 galaxies of the known universe. Their adversary is a race of humans called Kulusks, who want to destroy the Osguards and take over USSTAP. Homecoming is set in the near-present day and people of Earth are unaware of USSTAP or the Kulusks’ existence. In Homecoming, Earth has become an unwitting pawn in the Kulusk Empire’s thirst for revenge against USSTAP. Maxum Ritchen, the leader of the Kulusk Empire, has set into motion the destruction of USSTAP and with it the destruction of Earth. Michael and his family must prepare USSTAP, for the first time, to go on the offensive and wage an all out universal war. If he is successful, many people will die, and if he is not, Earth will be destroyed.
Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?
When I was young, I was fascinated by science fiction stories on T.V. in the movies and in books. I was so fascinated by science fiction; I made up my own stories about two sisters running away from a war on their planet only to find themselves in the antebellum south. Their descendants are then plucked from Earth and given the reigns to a universal peacekeeping organization…like a U.N of space. I would play these stories in my head on long car rides during family trips down south or when I was alone during the day and had nothing to do. To me at the time, this was just daydreaming; a way to pass the time.
When I was in high school, I enrolled in creative writing classes. There I took my favorite science fiction characters and used them to spawn a couple of my projects. Boy, did I get razzed by the other students, but the teacher commended me for well thought out and very creative characters.
During the Academy, on those long lonely nights, wondering what the hell did I get myself into, those characters and those scenes lulled me to sleep and gave me encouragement to put up with the rigors of the coming day. This continued well into my adult life. These characters and the action sequence, I placed them in, began to invade my dreams at night, where I no longer controlled the outcome. Now they were telling me the story. They were old friends, and I welcomed them as part of a peaceful night’s rest.
One day, in 2000, I had a setback in my Air Force career. At which time, I received some sound advice. Do something to keep your mind busy. So I decided to write down the stories that plagued me. Every day for three months, after work, I would lock myself in the office and type away at the keyboard. Until one day I emerged from the dark pit of imagination and dropped on the kitchen table a 450 page manuscript. I felt a sense of accomplishment.
Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?
Homecoming was my first novel. I wrote the first manuscript in 2000. Well, with my wife, Karen’s insistence, we shopped it around for a couple of months. I received many reject letters. Some said nothing important, but a couple indicated that if I changed my main characters, they would reconsider. I thought about doing this for a while, but like I said, I grew up with the characters…they were a part of me, and doing so, felt like betrayal. So I rejected the idea and because I am an impatient man, I decided to self-publish the book. Unfortunately, it came out in September of 2001. We all know what happened that month. Being in the Air Force, I was a little bit busy and unable to market like I wanted. But I did go on to write and self-publish two more books. After retiring from the Air Force, I put any thought of writing away. I began work as a military analyst at the Pentagon. There I ran into people who read my books, and one of my workmates at the Pentagon showed a keen interest in my writing. He read the books and we would talk at lunch. It was encouraging to discuss the intricate details of my characters, their lives and the story. That motivated me to republish the books. Then my friend from work, on one of our discussions, planted the idea of starting my own publishing company. With the help of friends and family, I launched Rage Books with my first Osguard book, Homecoming in January 2010. Since then, I have printed second editions of the Revelations and Armageddon, and released the fourth book in the series, Revenge.
Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?
I live in Northern Virginia in a community called Lake Ridge, also known as Woodbridge. It is 22 miles south of Washington DC and is a bedroom community for most government workers that work in Washington. Until recently, I would say we would go to the local Borders to talk about books, but since they are closing, the next best place would be the library. The Chin Library is my neighborhood library and is accommodating to serious book discussions. We also have a Books-A-Million in our local mall, called Potomac Mills Mall. The third option would be to visit Washington and there are many venues. It is a beautiful town for the arts and serious book discussions thrive in the area. Lastly, I would say, come to my house. Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and a piece of my wife’s famous Yummy Bread and let’s talk science fiction.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?
I am an avid reader. I don’t just read science fiction, but I also read mysteries, action/adventure and religious fiction. I also love movies. The summer season is the best season for movies because Hollywood saves its best for the vacation season. But my favorite past-time is spending time with my lovely wife. She is the light of my life and the reason I breathe. She gave me two wonderful daughters that I enjoy being around. They are my pride and joy. And if I leave this world today, I know I gave it two bright gifts in my daughters
Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?
Even though Homecoming has won national recognition in the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival and Midwest Book Review gave it 5-stars, I do not make a living from my writing. I am a military analyst for the Air Force at the Pentagon during the day and an author/publisher at night. What is particularly interesting is my job as a requirements officer for the U.S. Air Force. In this position I am responsible to analyze the future environment in my particular area of expertise, and help shape the Air Force to meet the requirements of that future environment. This is a great job for a science fiction writer.
Do you have any words of inspiration from other writers who would like to be wearing your shoes?
Never quit. I’ve only quit one thing in my life. That decision has altered my life and maybe even my very soul. Never quit. Fortitude sends a better message of who you are and what kind of character you have. Because once you quit, it becomes easier to quit again. Then all you are doing is quitting every time you are challenged.
What’s next for you?
I have a few projects in the making. Presently, I’m working on a different type of book. Working title is called Forever Changed. It is about two Department of Homeland Security agents who think they are chasing terrorists, but are actually chasing aliens. Another project I will probably begin writing will delve more into fantasy. I plan to do something with an angel, genie/gen, wizard/witch and ghost. I’m still playing around with the setup, but I feel positive about the concept. The third project I will work is about a military sniper, who comes home to his sister’s funeral. His sister was murdered and he uses his advanced training, weaponry and skills to hunt down the killers. Now, I still have to pay honor to the Osguards, and start another series. I just haven’t settled on the setup yet.
Thank you for this interview, Malcolm. Do you have any final words?
Although, I believe anyone who loves to read action, adventure and thriller books would love Homecoming, I think I have two main types of audiences that will find my books worth their time, intriguing and most of all exciting to read. First I have the loyal science fiction fan. They will find Osguards is fresh, innovative and exciting with a new voice. My books capture the reader’s imagination, and challenge the industry. There is a quiet revolution taking place in the reading world. There is a new generation of readers, touched by advanced technology. Today, technological hunger, personal experience and raw attraction are what define this audience. They will buy my books because they are avid readers who can relate to the characters using advanced technology as they push through electrifying adventures. These characters are normal people pushed into extraordinary circumstances. My second fan base consist of disciplined people, mainly military oriented. Between my time in the Air Force Academy, twenty years as an Air Force Officer and my time now as a military analyst, I dare say I know a little something about the military and how to speak to the military. Osguards is a contemporary blend of Science Fiction, Technical Thriller, and American History wrapped in Professional Military Science. My military experience, coupled with my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters Degree in International Relations, gives me credence to reach an untapped audience of Military Science Fiction fans and enhances my ability to compose exciting stories filled with scientific essence and political intrigue encircled in military conflict.