I want to welcome Stan Hampton Sr. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
I am a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist. I retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; I previously served in the active duty Army, the Army Individual Ready Reserve (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which I was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. I am a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). My writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 13 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, I miss the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, I officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release from Melange Books is The Gates of Moses, and takes place in Venice, Italy. Long story short, an engineer charged with saving Venice from the encroaching, stormy Adriatic Sea, fails in his task. The city is emptied of the population and artworks evacuated. He sends his staff to safety while he remains behind, ostensibly to wait for evacuation, but in reality to die when the sea submerges Venice. He remains because a Venetian succubus claimed him many years before. The situation escalates when a young woman from his staff returns to battle the succubus for him.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show.
And why? Ahhh, my favorite villain? Ah, I do not know. But, if I had to name someone, then, Salma Hayek’s character from the Quentin Tarantino movie, “From Dusk to Dawn.” Why? Ahhh, she really put her talents to good use?
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
Well, I really do not have a favorite character, but if pressed for an answer—in my short story collection Intimate Journeys, there is a short story, Dawn at Khabari Crossing. The character is Sergeant Braddock Hollingwood, a mobilized Army National Guard soldier serving in Iraq. The Iraq War is over and the last American combat unit is rolling south for the Kuwait-Iraq border crossing called Khabari Crossing. Hollingwood’s own unit will soon cross from Iraq into Kuwait and, ultimately, return home where they will be demobilized. Though Hollingwood hopes to remain in uniform and go on to Afghanistan, he does not know what the future holds for him. Nonetheless, he hopes for the best. Of the many characters I have written, I can relate to Hollingwood the most because, in a way, the story is somewhat autobiographical. Of course, because the story is a work of fiction, do not take it as a thinly veiled factual story.
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write science fiction, fantasy, erotica, military fiction, horror, and I even dabble a little in the Old West and Classical Rome. As for Dawn at Khabari Crossing—military fiction—writing the story was actually a college English writing class assignment. Afterwards I developed the story further for my short story collection. As for the genre of military fiction, the Global War On Terrorism and the Iraq War was a defining moment in my life. After spending most of my adult life in the military, or being a civilian associated with the military, it is a genre that I may know best. Thus, that is why Dawn at Khabari Crossing.
4.)What are you working on now?
I do not want to give away too much, but imagine a Confederate veteran of the Civil War who drifts West after the war and encounters a horror that takes a real interest in him. More or less.
5.) What got you to start writing?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was 15 years old. And that is because I have stories to tell. Of course, I did not become published until I was in my late 30s, and then not again until my late 40s. Beginning in 2002, my published writings became more frequent.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere. A conversation, a newspaper story, something I see, even my dreams. Ideas can appear at any hour of the day or night, and usually when least expected.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
The tendency to include erotica in my writing. Ah, not gratuitous erotica, but erotica that really does have a place within the story.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
Being a survivor? I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nor did I marry into money. Unlike others, my life has always been difficult and probably always will be, until the day of my death.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
Many years ago I communicated with the writer Poppy Z. Brite. She relayed to me something her agent said—and I am paraphrasing here—short story writers usually do not become successful, but novelists do. I am not fond of editing though I recognize its importance. Until the past year I always wrote short stories and novellas because they are easier to write and edit, even rewrite if needed. A novel—oh boy. And when there are multiple characters—oh boy. There are days when I miss short stories and novellas.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
Well, it would be a choice between Publius Quinctilius Varus or George Armstrong Custer. In 9 AD Varus was a Roman governor in Germany; he was leading three Roman legions on a campaign and they were ambushed by the Germans in the Battle of the Teutoburg Wald. There were few Roman survivors. Custer, of course, led the 7th Cavalry Regiment to the Little Big Horn in June 1876, and he along with some 225 men of his immediate command (Regiment HQ, Companies C, E, F, I, and L) were all killed. Whoever I would ultimately choose, I would ask, from their perspective, what really happened. It goes without saying that the historical record of a battle 2,000 years ago is mostly conjecture. Even for a battle almost 140 years old, though analyzed through eyewitness accounts and archaeological examination, questions still remain. I would like to know the answers to those questions.
Thanks so much for joining me Stan. I love learning about each of my guests - you have some interesting answers here.
Here's the blurb and excerpt from the Gates of Moses - enjoy!
BLURB: An engineer dedicated to saving
from the rising seas, fails in his task. As a severe storm and high tides
threaten to burst through the flood walls, he resolves to remain in Venice with a ghostly
lover who claimed his heart years before. A woman from his staff who loves him,
does not evacuate, but remains to battle his ghostly lover before he dies in a
sinking Venice … Venice
EXCERPT: The dull booms, like the measured beats of a primeval heart, echoed through the gray drizzling afternoon. Each boom was a countdown to a finely predicted cataclysm that man, through his mistaken notion that he could control nature, had finally admitted that he was powerless to hold back.
Dr. Gregorio Romano, tall, with dark brown hair and watchful hazel eyes, stood before the open tall narrow window of his corner office in the ornate, gilded Ducal Palace of the once La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, and peered into the gray drizzle toward the unseen barrier islands. The almost submerged islands of Lido and Pellestrina, with their channels opening onto the
Adriatic Sea, formed
the southeastern perimeter of the timeless Venetian lagoon. He listened to the
echoing booms of the rising, stormy Adriatic, and thought of a mythical,
prehistoric mother who gave birth to an imaginative species that dreamed of the
impossible and often made it happen. And now the mother was ready to take back
one of the greatest dreams of her children, ready to clasp it deep within her
“Yes,” he replied as he gazed at the gray choppy waters of the lagoon.
“Have you reconsidered? Are you ready to evacuate?”
“Not yet.” Gregorio tilted his head slightly as a sleek dark gondola glided effortlessly across frothy, white-capped waters and halted before the flooded wharf, the Riva degli Schiavoni, in front of the Palace.
Patrizia Celentano, the first and last female gondolier of Venice, looked up at him and gave a friendly wave. He raised a hand in return. Her gondola was a traditionally built and shaped boat, but rather than the traditional black as required by law, she painted it a dark wine color. Though she offered to erect a shelter to protect Gregorio from the elements, he always preferred to ride in the open.
“We can evacuate you by force if necessary.”
“You won’t,” Gregorio smiled as he turned to face his computer on the polished wooden desk. The broad, bearded face of his boss, Dr. Niccolo Ricci, nodded in agreement. “There’s no need, and a helicopter is scheduled to pick me up from the roof of my home tomorrow morning at 0600 hours.”
“The calculations might be incorrect. The gates could break tonight...”
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