Interview with S. S. Hampton, Sr., Author of Better Than A Rabbit's Foot
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant. He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004; he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years after his enlistment. He is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. He is an aspiring painter and is studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran. Hampton’s Amazon Author Page can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ
When did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was about 15 years old.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I am unemployed and I attend college. Therefore I am generally free to write whenever I feel like it. I tend to favor late afternoon going into the early evening, or late at night going into the early morning.
What is this book about?
“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” is about a young soldier providing security for supply convoys headed into Iraq. He is preparing for a mission when word reaches his camp that a gun truck gunner in his company has been killed by an IED. This sets him to wondering about good luck charms; he doesn’t have one and he’s not even sure what a good luck charm for him would be. Fortunately, the answer is soon provided.
What inspired you to write it?
I serve in the Army National Guard and deployed to a convoy support center a mile south of the Iraqi border in 2006-2007. Every day our soldiers headed north for an overnight or up to 2-week long missions. Many of our soldiers experienced IEDs or fought gun battles with the insurgents. There were casualties. Just about every soldier I knew had a good luck charm of some type. Next to good luck charms, the knowledge that a wife or girlfriend was waiting for the soldier to come back home was critically important. And so the story began… I never thought of it as a good luck charm, but during my deployment I wore a Celtic Cross on my “dog tag” chain—you know, dog tags are identification tags that carry basic information such as your name, blood type, religion, etc. I only went north three times on short missions, and nothing happened.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
Yes! As soon as I started writing I should have developed a marketing/public relations plan. Getting published, whether by an e-magazine or e-publisher, is only part of the entire process. You have to get your name out there. Establish your own blog or do numerous guest postings on other people’s blogs—every blog has its own particular readership. Create Author Pages on Amazon.com and Goodreads and wherever else you can. If your writing is in print, get copies and find venues in which to hold book signings. Decide on affordable SWAG that you can hand out at book signings. Work hard to establish your presence. Be patient, and sooner or later you and your readership will find each other.
Several novellas—I have always focused on short stories but I recently discovered that novellas seem better suited for me. I am currently working on a novella about a haunted German Tiger tank in North Africa during World War II. I am also working on a contemporary novella about a Kansas farm couple whose 18-year old daughters have left for college. What these sensible pillars of the community get into now that the kids have flown the nest, well…
Is there anything you would like to add?
To the readers, I hope you enjoy “Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” and that you think it was worth your time. And to you, thank you for having me on your blog today.