Interview with Malcolm Dylan Petteway, author of 'Homecoming'

Malcolm Dylan Petteway is a senior military analyst, a retired military officer and a twenty-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew B-52’s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and has 3,000 flight hours and 300 combat hours. In his distinguished career, Malcolm has used his knowledge in the art of war, military weapons and combat defenses in planning over 400 combat sorties. Besides his Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and numerous other awards, Malcolm is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Air Medal and the U.S. Air Force Air Achievement Medal for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. Malcolm Petteway is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University.

His latest book is Homecoming – Osguards: Guardians of the Universe (Book 1).

You can visit Malcolm at http://www.ragebooks.net.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Malcolm. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Homecoming, Osguards: Guardians of the Universe?

I began writing in earnest in 2000. However, my journey that led to writing began when I was young. As a teenager, I was fascinated by science fiction stories on T.V. in the movies and in books. I was so fascinated by science fiction; I made up my own stories about two sisters running away from a war on their planet only to find themselves in the antebellum south. Their descendants are then plucked from Earth and given the reigns to a universal peacekeeping organization…like a U.N of space. I would play these stories in my head on long car rides during family trips down south or when I was alone during the day and had nothing to do. To me at the time, this was just daydreaming; a way to pass the time. When I was in high school, I enrolled in creative writing classes. There I took my favorite science fiction characters and used them to spawn a couple of my projects. Boy, did I get razzed by the other students, but the teacher commended me for well thought out and very creative characters. During my time at the U.S. Air Force Academy, on those long lonely nights, wondering what the hell did I get myself into, those characters and those scenes lulled me to sleep and gave me encouragement to put up with the rigors of the coming day. This continued well into my adult life. These characters and the action sequence, I placed them in, began to invade my dreams at night, where I no longer controlled the outcome. Now they were telling me the story. They were old friends, and I welcomed them as part of a peaceful night’s rest. One day, in 2000, I had a setback in my Air Force career. At which time, I received some sound advice. Do something to keep your mind busy. So I decided to write down the stories that plagued me. Every day for three months, after work, I would lock myself in the office and type away at the keyboard. Until one day I emerged from the dark pit of imagination and dropped on the kitchen table a 450 page manuscript. I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Q: I love your title. Can you tell us why you chose it?

I wanted to capture the essence of each book with one word. Homecoming deals with the first time all the characters are home on Earth since taking on the mantle of Osguard. Therefore, Homecoming suited it.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Homecoming is about an American family, descendant from a technologically advanced world, charged with defending the universe. The plot merges history, social, science and speculative fiction in a contemporary setting. Homecoming has it all. Seldom has Science Fiction detailed African Americans as the heroes, leaders and stewards of a space odyssey, framed in American history and peppered with intrigue, adventure and technical wizardry—until now

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

Like most writers, I started out seeking a traditional publisher. I completed the first draft of Homecoming in 2001 and sought traditional publishers. The process was slow and arduous. The feedback I received from agents and publishers, when I received feedback, was to change my main characters, change their background and then they may reconsider. That’s when I realized traditional publishing companies have settled into a rut. They can be rigid and inflexible and not visionary enough to recognize new voices…different voices, cutting down the ivory pillars holding up the old institutional thought. Homecoming was a unique, imaginative story, with a creative position and a fantastic plot. I believed my voice to be new and exciting. Therefore, I chose the Indie publishing route. However, my book came out in September 2001, and we all know what happened on 9/11. The effort and drive I needed to sustain an Indie published book was diverted onto another cause. I was active duty, flying the B-52 and I had to concentrate on that. I published three books through Iuniverse between 2001 and 2004 while I was in the military. After retiring from the military, I looked to begin my writing career in earnest. A work associate, Mr. James Barnes read the books and we talked about starting my own publishing company. I named it Rage Books. Jim and I saw Rage Books as a publisher of trade paperback books for the new and struggling writer with a unique story. With the aid of family and friends, I launched Rage Books with my first Osguard book, Homecoming in September of 2009. Since then, I’ve printed second editions of the second and third books, Revelations and Armageddon, and released the fourth book in the series Revenge. With these novels as the launch pad, my goal is to grow Rage Books and eventually contend with traditional publishers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Therefore, I am in charge and ultimately responsible for all the marketing for my books. It paid off. Homecoming just received Honorable Mention from the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival and a 5 star rating from Midwest Book Review.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Homecoming is a military science fiction book; written in the same fashion as Star Trek, Star Wars and Star Gate books. It is the first book in a series of four novels. It tells the adventures of Michael David Genesis and his family, the Earth-born Osguards. They are leaders of a United Nations type organization in space, called the Universal Science, Security and Trade Association of Planets – USSTAP (pronounced ewes-tap). The Osguards administer diplomatic, economic and military tools of power to keep the peace throughout 60 galaxies of the known universe. Their adversary is a race of humans called Kulusks, who want to destroy the Osguards and take over USSTAP. Homecoming is set in the near-present day and people of Earth are unaware of USSTAP or the Kulusks’ existence. In Homecoming, Earth has become an unwitting pawn in the Kulusk Empire's thirst for revenge against USSTAP. Maxum Ritchen, the leader of the Kulusk Empire, has set into motion the destruction of USSTAP and with it the destruction of Earth. Michael and his family must prepare USSTAP, for the first time, to go on the offensive and wage an all out universal war. If he is successful, many people will die, and if he is not, Earth will be destroyed.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

It is the great space battle scene between the Kulusks and the Osguards. Two fleets are lighting space up with multiple energy weapons and missile fire. The Osguards are outnumbered and losing the momentum. Suddenly, during the heat of battle the Osguards discover the Kulusks’ main weapons are ineffective on them while they are in stealth mode. Unfortunately, while they are in stealth mode, the Osguards cannot fire their weapons. Quickly, Michael devises an ad hoc strategy to delivery weapons fire while maintaining stealth mode.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Besides the three remaining books in the Osguards series, Revelation, Armageddon and Revenge, I have a few projects in the making. Presently, I’m working on a different type of book. Working title is called Forever Changed. It is about two Department of Homeland Security agents who think they are chasing terrorists, but are actually chasing aliens. Another project I will probably begin writing will delve more into fantasy. I plan to do something with an angel, genie/gen, wizard/witch and ghost. I’m still playing around with the setup, but I feel positive about the concept. The third project I will work is about a military sniper, who comes home to his sister’s funeral. His sister was murdered and he uses his advanced training, weaponry and skills to hunt down the killers. Now, I still have to pay honor to the Osguards, and start another series. I just haven’t settled on the setup yet.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Malcolm. Do you have any final words?

Although, I believe anyone who loves to read action, adventure and thriller books would love Homecoming, I think I have two main types of audiences that will find my books worth their time, intriguing and most of all exciting to read. First I have the loyal science fiction fan. They will find Osguards is fresh, innovative and exciting with a new voice. My books capture the reader’s imagination, and challenge the industry. There is a quiet revolution taking place in the reading world. There is a new generation of readers, touched by advanced technology. Today, technological hunger, personal experience and raw attraction are what define this audience. They will buy my books because they are avid readers who can relate to the characters using advanced technology as they push through electrifying adventures. These characters are normal people pushed into extraordinary circumstances. My second fan base consist of disciplined people, mainly military oriented. Between my time in the Air Force Academy, twenty years as an Air Force Officer and my time now as a military analyst, I dare say I know a little something about the military and how to speak to the military. Osguards is a contemporary blend of Science Fiction, Technical Thriller, and American History wrapped in Professional Military Science. My military experience, coupled with my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters Degree in International Relations, gives me credence to reach an untapped audience of Military Science Fiction fans and enhances my ability to compose exciting stories filled with scientific essence and political intrigue encircled in military conflict.


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