In the hopes of you getting to know me a little more intimately than my BIO, here are some things you should know about me:
- I’m a recovering alcoholic. There’s a reason that Logan West is a relapsing alcoholic. While I have 7+ years of sobriety and never relapsed – I still take it one day at a time – I wanted to give Logan the same issue that I struggled with for years and millions of others continue to struggle with each day. As a result of my sobriety, I’m brutally honest with myself and others, often to such an extent that people who don’t know me might not believe me when I provide direct feedback or answer questions honestly. Regardless, none of you would have ever heard of Logan West had it not been for my decision to face my problem head-on, fortunate that the Marine Corps gave me the opportunity to deal with it through an outpatient rehab program in the military to which I self-referred. I didn’t get a DUI or arrested for some kind of bar fight – I just realized I was heading in the wrong direction that could only end in tombstone.
- I spent 10 years as a Marine officer. Yes. It’s true – I even once commanded a scout sniper platoon more than 15 years ago in what feels like a different lifetime. I searched for the hardest military occupational specialty I could find and was privileged to be given the chance to get it. During the first two and a half years of my Marine Corps, I had non-stop tactical training in one form or another. While I thrived in that kind of environment, I can honestly say that I wasn’t the best Marine officer I could be. I wasn’t what we called our “10 percent” by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t maximize my potential as a result of being a functioning alcoholic. (I also wasn’t running around doing the things that Logan West is doing in the books. It is fiction, which is why it can be dramatized.) Ironically, it wasn’t until I got sober towards the end of my 10 years that I truly realized what it meant to be a Marine, to be a part of something larger than myself, where it truly is about the Marines you’re privileged to serve with and – if you’re lucky – lead. There is no doubt I could have been a better leader and officer, and that is something that I try to remedy by who I am and how I act today. I joke that I’m a better, more fit Marine officer now than when I was in, and the truth in that statement is a result of finally getting sober and recognizing the bond that all Marines share, no matter when or for how long they served.
- I’m incredibly sarcastic. If you’ve read the book, I’m John Quick on a day-to-day basis. The Logan West side of me only comes out when I’m truly outraged, which unfortunately feels like a perpetual state of being as a result of the way the world is today. There is no topic off-limits to my sarcasm, often to my family and friends’ chagrin. Fortunately, they’re all very tolerant. 🙂
- I have no formal English literature or Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing. I never thought I’d be an author. Ever. I was on vacation in 2009 with my now-wife, had been sober for 6 months, and was reading a best-selling thriller that had me bored to tears. I literally – there’s that adverb again – turned to my wife and said, “I can write a better book than this.” A year later, after obsessing about it and fleshing out a story in my head, I started Overwatch and wrote a five-year plan on a small whiteboard on my refrigerator. It just took that one thought, bouncing relentlessly around my head until the physical compulsion took over.
- I do not take my self seriously. No. Really! I’ve had a serious life and done some very serious things, but at my age (44) and with a little sobriety under my belt, I’ve realized that life is just too damn short not to enjoy it. You can’t do that if you’re walking around angry and resentful all of the time or think the world revolves around you (me) – it doesn’t. Trust me – I lived that way for years, and it wasn’t until I looked at my priorities and how I was acting that I realized what a self-centered jackass I was. It takes the joy out of the world, which can already be cruel and horrific as is. There’s no need to make it worse with bad behavior.
- Lastly – and most importantly – all of this is about you, the reader. It’s not about me. I truly believe that. At the end of the day, what matters most is the experience you have reading my books. If that’s extremely positive, then I’ve done my job. If it’s not, then I’ll try harder next time. No author starts writing a book, saying to his or herself, Okay. Let’s shoot for lackluster mediocrity this time around! You can do it! Since I know each reader can be a critic, I have to have thick skin, and I can take it. Unfortunately, critics can be cruel, not realizing how personal writers can take things, but that’s part of the deal. I’m a big boy, and I signed up for this ride along with you. It is a two-way street. Fortunately, 10 years in the Marine Corps thickened my hide, and I’ll try not to let my one feeling get hurt. 🙂
I hope this is at least slightly illuminating as to who your Logan West cruise director is (not Julie; sorry). And as always – enjoy the ride!