Interview with Stephen Austen

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Like most, I enjoy reading a well-crafted story. A story that leaves me thinking about it long after I put it down. I also enjoy writing as both a creative and nostalgic exercise.

In truth, my writing began with my personal journal: a series of anecdotal stories from my growing-up years. Sixty-some stories later and with encouragement from family and friends, I took the creative leap to publish and never looked back (nor down).
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The Smashwords experience has been amazing. The disciplines learned in self - publishing have been a professional education without price. Smashwords marketing support via ever-expanding distribution channels is fantastic!
What do your fans mean to you?
In a word; "Everything". Hearing that I inform or entertain in a thought-provoking way is my "psychic paycheck". Hearing from them what I can DO better helps me to BE better. For me it's a symbiotic relationship.
Who are your favorite authors?
Robert A. Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, John Scalzi, Hugh Howey, Robert Waller, Leslie McFarlane (a.k.a. "Franklin W. Dixon"), John Grisham, Tom Clancy . . . . . .
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my family and my "daytime job" as a Human Resources guy for a major corporation.
What is your writing process?
I like to begin with the ending in mind. Then reverse-engineer the events and story-telling to arrive there. A lot of research produces props for my characters and realistic set-dressing to set the stage for action. Don't forget a lot of editing.
What do you read for pleasure?
My tastes are eclectic. I can do fiction one day, then be immersed in some research or current event the next.

An over-arching passion for me is History; anything that illuminates how we came to be where we are (for the good or bad) and why. This informs my writing about where we might be going (for the good or bad) and why.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Not yet published. . .

The back story is about China's long term strategy for Africa and their attendant power projection into the Indian Ocean. China will be a net importer of food within only a few generations. Africa has both the arable land and the labor to produce that food.

Key bad guys are Somali pirates, Al-Shabaab Islamo-fascists and some rogue Chinese principals with their own agenda.

But their plans will be thwarted by the ever-resourceful Onyx Ops guys and an unusual weapons system with roots in the Cold War.
Published 2014-12-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

U.S. Air Force Academy Survival Course
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,180. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Military biography
Short statement Civil Air Patrol’s “Annual Report to Congress” reported that: “In July, 63 male Cadets attended the Air Force Academy Survival Course at the Air Force Academy, Colorado. The course is the same course given to Air Force Academy cadets and includes training in water survival, living off the land, and developing life-sustaining techniques in mountainous country.”
International Air Cadet Exchange - Sweden
Price: Free! Words: 14,970. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Trip Journals
The International Air Cadet Exchange is the premier summer activity for Civil Air Patrol Cadets. Each summer, dozens of CAP Cadets, from across the United States, are selected to visit among dozens of countries represented in the Exchange. For me, the International Air Cadet Exchange was twenty-one days that lasted a lifetime.
The Kennedy Coup
Price: $1.24 USD. Words: 4,250. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
With a new, never-published photo. The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy sees key facts fading from memory. In a world enthralled by instant communication and immediate conclusions, the simplest solutions are embraced. Questions of “Why” the assassination happened are forgotten. This recalls that the proof of any conspiracy lies in what happens after the coup.
A Journey To Justice
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,200. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Parenting » Family tragedy, Nonfiction » Law » General law
A newborn baby girl is missing, unreported and murdered. The burned and eaten body is in a burn pit outside the Mother’s trailer. For months, the Mother denies everything. In July of 2011, the Caylee Anthony case is over in Florida but a similar trial is just starting in Monroe, North Carolina. In Florida, Anthony is found “Not Guilty”, the North Carolina jury finds "Guilty". Why?
Pave Bolo: Target Iran
Series: The Paladin Papers, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,170. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Historical » USA
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Iran is reeling. The Stuxnet computer virus is infecting its nuclear program. Iranian leaders are hungry for revenge. They stubbornly resist calls to halt their nuclear programs and plan a crushing cyber-strike against the United States. It’s time for PALADIN and his Onyx Ops team to derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions. They unleash one unique weapon with a Cold War legacy another from tommorrow.
New Orleans Nostalgia - Ponchartrain Beach
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,270. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » History » History of things
(5.00 from 1 review)
In 1928, when Harry Batt, Sr. opened Ponchartrain Beach, a New Orleans dynasty was born. Until it was shuttered for good in 1983, “The Beach” captured the imagination of generations. But now, in the mid-1950’s, while Walt Disney was just embarking on his vision of family entertainment, Harry had it all down pat at a long time ago. . . Enjoy a stroll down memory lane to a simpler time. . .
411: Cybergeddon
Series: The Paladin Papers, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 10,220. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
It is April 11th - "411". A cyber attack is underway that eclipses "911". It targets the most vulnerable aspects of American society. PALADIN's ONYX OPS team must find the master cyber-terrorist, identify his sponsors and deliver justice. A fast-paced, fact-based examination of today's high-tech threats in today's high-tech world.
Tacit Alumni: 09/11/11
Series: The Paladin Papers, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,890. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
(5.00 from 1 review)
In a world of Global Jihad, it is September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of 9/11. From downtown Washington DC to Area 51 to Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, “Paladin” and his high-tech Onyx Ops team is commemorating this tragic event in their own special way. Follow the masters of global black operations at Onyx Ops as they orchestrate new technologies in the relentless hunt for terrorists.
Onyx Ops: The Paladin Papers
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,260. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
(5.00 from 1 review)
Masters of black ops ruthlessly navigate today’s globalization. From World War II; to the Cuban Revolution and the Kennedy assassination; through the CIA’s Operation Phoenix and the oil fields of Vietnam; it leads into today’s Afghanistan. Must-read, fast-paced fiction with high-impact insights into the geopolitics of global resources. You will think about this long after you put it down
Bent Spear: Missing Missiles Over America
Series: The Paladin Papers, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,640. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 1 review)
"A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with six nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, ND, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on August 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation..." -- Army Times, September 10. 2007 "The weapons were always in our custody and there was never a danger to the American public." - Air Force Spokesman. How did six missiles disappear? Where did they go?