Interview with John W Egan

What are you working on next?
Bakar Mansaray and I are working on The Ebola War, the next novel in the Angel and Mercey series. It should be published later in 2018. Angel and Mercy are young women now, haunted by their child-soldier past and struggling against the Ebola epidemic when their past catches up with them..
Who are your favorite authors?
Bernard Cornwell, for his Sharpe and Uthred series. Donald E Graves, for his histoires of the War of 1812. Ian Fleming, for his plots and dialogue. Ray Bradbury, for this storytelling skill. Donald Jack, for his Bandy series.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Wanting to see what has happened in my world since I fell asleep has always stirred me since I was boy. I sleep four or five hours at most, or I lay awake grinding over ideas for stories. I usually turn off the alarm before it goes off.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With family and friends. I try to find twenty hours a week for writing, but often can find no more than ten. There is absolutely no time left for painting, which is another solitaire pursuit, or wargaming, which ties up a large table and would require a willing and regularly available opponent.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote my first story when I was nine years old. I made four copies of it by hand. It was about space explorers from Earth finding a cure for cancer from an alien race living on a water world. As far as I know, no copy has survived.
What is your writing process?
I wish I had one. I write in bursts for minutes of hours at a time in the hours set aside or found to try and write. If I cannot write or feel that something is missing from my ideas to let me write, I instead spend the time researching the topic, time or theme. And that can divert me for hours and days. If I have a process it is best summed up as glitchy.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science fiction, humour, biographies, and histories.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPad.
When did you first start writing?
I will not count 1963, when I was nine years old. The first writing I was paid for was in 2003. It was an article in Legion Magazine about my 2001 tour in Sierra Leone. It was so edited, re-written and sanitized that I wanted to disown it, but I did appreciate the payment. Perhaps that prodded me into writing short stories about what had happened in that little known war in 2010 and then to write more regularly about it and other times and places in 2012 and my decision to write a novel in 2016. I suppose I could pick any of those times as when I started to write.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is based upon my tour with the Sierra Leone Army in 2001 in the dying days of a decade long, brutal war, and in particular on two rebels we had captured, a sixteen year old and a ten year old, who were part of a Small Girl Unit. Rather than write about my war, I flipped it around and wrote how these girls might have seen the war and its end. I wanted to capture their experience of not just the war, but the disarmament process, the agencies processing the orphans and child soldiers and the child traffickers that tried to exploit the chaotic situation as a nation began to reconstruct itself and its services. I fell in love with country, its people, and the resilience of the women and girls who had endured so much. The mix of beauty and horror, and kindness and cruelty of that time cannot be separated in my dreams or thoughts. But now I understand the expression used by Yeats in his poem, Easter 1916, that "a terrible beauty is born."
Published 2018-05-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Winter of 1813
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 97,010. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
Despite the trauma of battles that haunt him and an estranged family he struggles to accept, James Butler tries to do what is right, find love, and make his own way in the world. By saving one life, James takes history down a different path from ours. By following his premonitions, he will shape the events of this war, the lives of millions, and the map of a continent as the winter edges into 1813
Angel and Mercy: The Ceasefire War
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,800. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General
Sixteen-year-old Angel-of-Death and ten-year-old No-Mercy were forced to fight for the rebels. As the war in Sierra Leone nears its end, they are separated. They had wanted to stop fighting and stay together, but now they must fight the rebels they had served, the agencies that would keep them apart forever, and the child traffickers who pursue them. Is this what peace was?