I think two major things help set me apart as a writer.
First, from a writing perspective, I think my strength lies in pacing and directness. And I honed these attributes through ten-plus years of journalism experience, writing probably a million-plus words on more deadlines than I care to recall. Newspaper writing is the same background Ernest Hemingway had, so I’d like to think it helps set you up for success.
Secondly, I think my military background sets me apart from most writers.
The Marine Corps allowed me to experience much of what I had read about in books. I learned about M-16s, ambushes, recon patrols, helo insertions, and even emotions that go along with life and death situations. And since I write what I call “action fiction,” I think this is key.
It also allowed me to meet some of the best bad asses our country ever created: Force Recon Marines, Navy Seals, and even a few Snipers, who never really say much…
So, getting to know how some of the most professional, elite warriors really talk and carry themselves was worth more than I could ever put a price on.
Finally, those four years — the substantial majority of which was the epitome of pure hell (Ooh-rah! Get some!) — also put me in lots of locations where there was nothing. No internet. No way to call home. No distractions. And so I read tons of books during those four years, which probably did more for my writing career than my degree from college.