I’ve now published my latest work. It’s called “Soldier On.”
As most writers know, you want to start a book with a “what if.”
Such as, what if you were a guy and you lost your job and you were on the verge of a divorce already?
That’s a what if, but it’s pretty blah. So you want to make it much worse. Far more intense, if you can.
Thus, imagine the “what if” was this… What if you were a guy and you’d been watching the news for months about a serial killer operating in the area and then you start to realize it could be your wife, but you’re not sure. But your gut tells you that you are sure and she just walked in the door.
So, clearly, that second option was far superior. And obviously, the more extreme your “what if,” the better.
And the book I just published has one of the greatest “what if’s” I ever created…
Let’s begin with the unimproved version. What if you were a soldier in the middle of an incredibly horrific war? That’s pretty good, but that’s been done a few million times, so what if you magnified it further? Let’s doom the characters to this: What if you were soldiers in the middle of an incredibly horrific war, and you were on the losing side? Oh, and better yet, let’s say you were on your home ground and your families might all be dead, as well.
That, to me, was one of the most intimidating ideas out there for me, as a rifle-carrying vet. Especially for we Americans. We have so rarely faced losing a war on our homeground… And I took that “what if” and started a novel about the German Army at the end of World War II.
I started this in college, fresh out the Marine Corps, while I was nice and messed up in the head.
For the past nine years or so, I’ve worked on it, dropped it, worked on it, dropped it. In the end, I usually cruelly would have all/most of the men dying or seriously getting wounded. But that seemed way too depressing, and way too much like literature, which I define as being like real life: Sucky, painful, and often boring beyond belief.
But a few weeks ago, I had an epiphany on how to end it, so I stopped working on the next Nick Woods novel — Mexican Heat — and attacked the book I’d been unable to whoop for so long. Now, thankfully, it’s finally published and ready to buy.
Here’s the book description:
As World War II enters its final stretch, the last elements of the German Army struggle to survive and end the war with honor.
The German soldiers know the war is lost, but have no idea how many days (or weeks) remain before capitulation. The weak and unlucky are gone. Now, only the strong remain, a ragged band of men determined to maintain their prestige and respect. They are the sons of indomitable veterans from the World War I — men filled with too much pride to quit or surrender.
But food resupply is a problem. Ammo, too. And each day,with its increasingly absurd set of orders, begins to test the men in ways they could have never imagined. These days are tough for the men, and tougher for the leaders.
Hemmed in by Nazi SS units waiting to arrest or shoot retreating troops on one side and hordes of well-supplied American troops advancing mercilessly on the other, the men pray they must only endure the freezing weather of the last days. And that their supplies won’t run out. And that they won’t lose the honor and dignity they’ve spent years creating.
“Soldier On” is a short novel. [Approximately 72 pages long.]
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give, a book I believe to be worth $10,000.
P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novels a success. I seriously couldn’t have done it with everyone’s support. Thanks to your help, Little Man, and the Dixon County War has gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here)! And my second novel, Sold Out, has also done well, going as high as No. 81 on the Amazon Paid List for the category of War (see here and here)! Thanks a million to my awesome friends, and if you’ve stumbled on my blog, you can learn more about both books here.