WESTON OCHSE: GRUNT TRAITOR FOCUSES ON POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Weston Ochse published the second part of Grunt series – Grunt Traitor last year. The novel received very nice feedback from the readers, who are waiting for the third part. Our next guest’s books were nominated and won several awards. He wrote 25 novels and currently is living in Arizona desert. Let’s say welcome to Weston Ochse.
– Weston, what is your last book Grunt Traitor about?
– Grunt Traitor is the second book of the Grunt series which focuses on the effects of PTSD and how people develop methods (for good and bad) of overcoming them. The novel centers around Los Angeles where the unnamed aliens are terraforming. Strange flora and fauna are appearing and upon investigation, it becomes apparent that each one was developed and cultivated for a specific purpose.
– How did you decide to write the story of Task Force Ombra series?
– I’d always wanted to write SF. Solaris approached me and I pitched them an idea I’d been thinking about for quite a while. I wanted to write about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). I’d seen a lot of PTSD characters in fiction and film, but too often they are catalogued as the bad guy, their craziness turning them into mass murderers or shooters. I wanted a group of broken characters all suffering from PTSD to demonstrate that it’s okay to have PTSD. In fact, I wanted to point out that it’s a normal reaction. In the novel Grunt Life, the OMBRA Corporation selects soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, etc right on the eve of their suicides to join them, because PTSD does something to brain chemistry that will better help them fight the aliens.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Tell us something more about your main character Benjamin? Is he close to someone from your real life?
– Benjamin Carter Mason, or Mason as he’s called, is an amalgam of a lot of people I know in the military. Interestingly, I wrote Grunt Life while I was in Afghanistan. I saw a ton of broken people in the warzone and parts of them became him. I wanted someone who could be the boy next door, the regular kid we all know, but seriously suffering from PTSD.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It took me four months each to write Grunt Life and Grunt Traitor. The editing process for the publisher and the production process normally runs five months.
– What the readers will find in FUBAR: A Collection of War Stories?
– FUBAR is a collection of short stories and essays. It’s a sampling of my very best war stories and has received international acclaim. In the collection, I conquer topics such as spousal abuse, PTSD, the results of torture, the demands of responsibility, and what it’s like to be in the closet and afraid to let the world know you’re gay. The stories are far deeper than one would expect in a collection with the title FUBAR.
– You are famous with your SEAL Team 666 books. Give us some insight about the future of the series?
– The SEAL Team 666 series comprises three novels and a prequel novella. Right now that’s all there is. The movie has been optioned by Hollywood. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has expressed interest in starring in the movie as well as producing it.
– Who are you?
– I’m a fifty-year-old guy who has traveled the world, been to war, seen death close up, and lived life to its fullest. I try and imbue my writing with truth, honoring those who have come before me. I’ve been called the Yakuza of the Written Word, Superhero for Rent and a Literary Stuntman.
– What are your writing habits?
– When I’m under contract, I try and write at least five pages a day. When I’m not under contract or deadline, I still write, but I also do a lot of research. Like now, before I start my TV tie in novel for Person of Interest, I’m researching another novel and storyboarding it.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your book?
– Can one ever be satisfied with book sales?
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– My publishers do a great job with promotion. I try to as well, but it’s so hard when you’re writing and working to find the time.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– The next novel is Grunt Hero where I conclude the trilogy. In Hero, we begin to discover exactly who the aliens are and what they’re really doing to our planet.
– You are a military veteran with huge experience. Would you share how tough is for a soldier to return to a normal life after being into the hell of war?
– It’s not tough for a soldier to return to normal life, but it is hard for normal life to deal with a broken soldier. Does that make sense? Me for instance, I see where my PTSD is and how to deal with it. But society doesn’t necessarily know of my problems. It’s not like I list them on my forehead. So, when I act strange people don’t know why and sometimes think I’m just being an asshole. So remember, when you’re driving and someone is going slow in front of you, don’t scream at them. They might have a reason for going slow and that reason might be some form of PTSD. Remember, not only soldiers get PTSD, but regular people, first responders, your next door neighbor. PTSD is a psychological response to the mind’s inability to understand and categorize what its seen and experienced.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Who is your all-time favorite author? Ray Bradbury, because he’s the only one I’ve ever read who was capable of capturing the awe of childhood and the magic of understanding.