“Love in the House of War” by Al M Scott is a complex book, combining romance and adventure with some tough military and political issues in Afghanistan after 9/11.
The story features quite a few different players and Scott has added a much needed index of people and description of the background, separate from the narrative, so you can always refer to it if confused.
The story is that of an American soldier and an Afghan woman. The book is written with apparent knowledge of army life and the Afghanistan at the time, but also with familiarity of historical facts.
I was quite overwhelmed by some of the writing, the harsh reality of the war and the experience for teh soldiers. I have heard some about it but the book really hit some points home very well. At the same time it shows innocence, goodwill and humans.
A great romance in a tough setting, informative and captivating.
My writings reflect me as a person, that is, my inner, insightful, persona. My father made a life-changing decision from being a Baltimore police officer to a missionary jungle pilot when I was seven years old. The following ten years involved a cross-country trek from coast-to-coast USA and five Latin American countries. Attending thirteen different schools in my twelve years allowed me to witness and experience a multitude of cross-cultural lifestyles and interests that captivated my imagination. My trek continued after graduating from high school when I worked various jobs around the country before enlisting into the U.S. Army, which ended up as a (unplanned) twenty-five year career. My multicultural experiences continued in places like Berlin, when the wall stood, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Storm, and all over Iraq during Iraqi freedom. So, based on all of my traveling and living experiences, I put my stories on paper to share with the world.
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?
I wasn’t able to begin writing full time until after I retired from the military. I started writing a book in 2007. I have wanted to write since I was in high school during the ‘70s.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
Multi-cultural, Spiritual, and military sets the tone for the basic core of my writing. However, being widely diverse, I enjoy writing Speculative fiction in the MTS, Techno-thrillers, romance, paranormal, and YA arena.
What is your life like outside of writing?
I teach several college courses at three different local universities, and I spend lots of time with the family; my wife of 34 years, son, his wife and 8-year-old daughter, my daughter, her husband, their 3 year-old and 2-week old grandsons. I also attend church and am on the Home Owners Association (HOA) Board. Finally, I am currently in progress of completing my PhD dissertation in Organizational Management.
What makes you laugh?
I laugh naturally at just about everything humorous…it matches my personality. Cross-cultural humor is hilarious. Could be why “The Beverly Hillbillies” was my favourite comedy. However, my grandkids always make me laugh.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
No longer on planet earth: Jesus Christ, Dwight Eisenhower, Mark Twain, Ronald Reagan, Johnny Unitas, and Queen Esther. Still here: Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, and Queen Rania.
Hmm, lots of good ones. I’m a ‘70s-‘80s guy. The ’78 Genesis album, “Then there were three,” ’77 Eagles, Hotel California” album, songs from the group “Styx,” and early nineties songs from the group “Whiteheart.” Some of my favorites from them are, “Say the Word,” “Montana Sky,” and Over Me.”
What are you working on now?
Slowly, due to other projects, like my PhD dissertation, I’m working on the third book of the “Heart, Soul, and Fire” series, “Asha the Protector: A Soldier’s Child.” This book will be a bridge to connect the “Heart, Soul, & Fire” series to three YA books in the “AD 2025” series. Asha, the daughter of Ron and Shararah, turns 23 and with her high profile technical skills along with her multicultural languages and martial arts, is highly sought after by the DoD (Military Academy at West Point), CIA, NSA, and a host of other agencies and countries, including hostile nations.
How did you come up with your stories?
My stories are based on a combination of my broad experiences traveling and living around the world, places I’ve been, imagination, books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, and friend’s experiences. Lately, the stories I’m writing seem to flow from, I don’t know, somewhere within my heart and mind.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?
Currently, my favourite is Shararah, which means flame in Persian and Arabic. She’s the young Afghan girl who was trapped in war-torn Afghanistan like Cinderella was with her step-sisters. However, besides her natural beauty, she had emergency medical and multi-lingual skills. With her wit and resilience, she learns to adapt to the American way of life, once she was rescued by her “Prince Charming,” like many American women, raising kids, supporting her husband and gaining an education towards a professional career.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
Ron Hawkins: Bradley Cooper
Shararah: Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone, Keri Russell, or Michelle Monaghan
Chris Short: Mark Wahlberg
First Sergeant Talbot: Eric Bana
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
Yes, Ron Hawkins. Primarily because of his experiences and his heart to rescue the oppressed. He has a strong sense of moral characteristics.
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
For the first book in the series, “Love in the House of War,” a basic plot was hatched but developed as the story went along. The only plot for the sequel, “Flame in Paradise,” was to tell a story about the two after marriage, having kids, etc. The story developed with time, especially as news events emerged on America’s media. Elements of the Ukrainian and ISIS crisis emerged as the forerunners to the plot.
What is your main reason for writing?
First, I just love telling a story, real, imaginative, or a mixture of both. I made up many stories growing up and people didn’t know whether to believe them or not. I always made sure to reveal the truth in the end but I would have them going…that is… sitting on the edge of their seat. I have an underlining, deep spiritual message, a revelation so to speak, that I feel can reach the multitudes of cross-cultural people, which would stress commonalities rather than differences…at the very least, a respectful, mutual understanding.
I‘ve only read one of the books so far. What is the idea behind your series?
Our world changed after the 9/11 events in many ways. People were afraid and it seemed an underlining hope was dashed across the globe. This story tells an old fashion tale of falling in love, even between two people from different worlds. Beyond that, the story emphasizes how love conquers evil, how the oppressed can maintain hope and be saved, how evil can be defeated. The saga continues with carrying on in life, building dreams through marriage, having kids, gaining an education, filling a life-long career dream, establishing hope once again even in the worst of times.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
By far, the best aspect is simply creating a story and letting the characters take over, developing a natural flow. By far, the worse, is marketing. I’m a “nobody” and unless the so-called “right” person reads any of my books and spreads the word in the upper atmosphere, not many people will have the opportunity to read what I write. I tried getting book stores to carry my books when I self-published to no avail. I’m hoping since my last two books have gone through a traditional publisher, they will gain traction and broad exposure.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
I wish I knew the secret.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I am working on my PhD dissertation, I teach at three colleges, and I spend “fun time” with my family. Life definitely keeps me busy.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
Although I enjoyed the low cost of self-publishing, I found the marketing aspect to be very wearisome and definitely my low point.
What is your advice to new writers?
Write what you know, write what you love, keep writing! If you do not enjoy writing and it becomes a source of anxiety, don’t write. Do something else.
Who are your favourite authors?
Ian Flemming, Allister MacLean, Tom Clancy, and Harold Coyle, to name a few.
What is your favourite book?
The ones that have impacted my life the most are my favourite. They are: The Bible, and The Green Beret (By Robin Moore).
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
“Courageous Compassion,” “Beyond the Soiled Curtain,” and “Beyond the Shame,” By David and Beth Grant