ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Monday, October 22, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 36 with Ray Garton

For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.

Today we have Ray Garton. I've known Ray for as long as I've been writing. He's sort of been my big brother, even though he doesn't know it. But I follow his lead in things, I see what he does, I read his blog Preposterous Twaddlecock, and often, I try and emulate him, just as little brothers around the world try and emulate their big brothers. His phenomenal novel of Los Angeles, Sex and Violence in Hollywood was published in 2001. I still contend that this is perhaps his best work. At the time I rated it right along with Pulitzer Prize winning books like Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay. I still stand by that assertion.

Ray Garton is the author of over 60 novels, novellas, short story collections, movie novelizations and TV tie-ins.  His work spans the genres of horror, crime, and suspense.  His 1987 erotic vampire novel Live Girls was called "artful" by the New York Times and was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award.  In 2006, he received the Grand Master of Horror Award at the World Horror Convention.  His 2001 comedy thriller Sex and Violence in Hollywood is being developed for the screen.  His most recent novels, Meds (a thriller with deadly side effects) and Trailer Park Noir are available in paperback and as ebooks from E-Reads, and his seventh collection, Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, was recently published by Cemetery Dance Publications.  His short story "The Man in the Palace Theater" and his erotic noir novella Serpent Girl are available for Kindle and Nook.  You can see his bibliography and keep up with new releases at his website, RayGartonOnline.com.  He lives in northern California with his wife Dawn.

1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

First of all, it’s the funniest damned book I’ve ever read.  It still makes me laugh out loud.  I have a copy in the bedroom beside the bed.  The novel is rather episodic, so whenever I’m feeling a little blue and need a laugh, I can pick the book up and begin any chapter and before I reach the end of the first page, I’ll be laughing.

My father was a WWII veteran, and I grew up on the stories of his experiences in Germany.  I especially enjoyed his stories about the mysterious workings of the U.S. Army, most of which never made sense to him.  As an adult, I’ve had a number of friends who were veterans, particularly my late friend Paul Meredith, who had endless stories about the insanity of the Vietnam War.  The military stories that have always stayed with me seem to be those with a kind of anarchic craziness to them.  M*A*S*H would be my favorite TV show in this category, and that description certainly applies there.

The thing is, I know this is not a fully accurate depiction of the military, especially during wartime.  But to be honest, I don’t like those.  I still vividly remember watching the Vietnam War when I was a kid.  It was on the news every night.  Not sanitized footage, either, but really ugly, horrifying stuff.  My dad was a news junkie, and we watched every broadcast.  The news footage of the war gave me as many nightmares as the horror movies I watched back then, maybe more.  In fact, I wish I’d never watched any of it.  I got to the point where I left the room when coverage of the war began because I just couldn’t take it.  It scared me, depressed me.  It made me not want to grow up.  Ever.

Catch-22 does a great job, I think, of presenting both the craziest and even darkest aspects of the military along with the ugliness of war, and somehow, Heller manages to make me laugh while he accomplishes that.  I think it’s an enormously entertaining book.  It has a kind of Marx Brothers sensibility marbled with some very serious shit.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

The book is about the insanity of war, so there’s a lot of that.  Insanity, cognitive dissonance, circular logic.  Because that’s the point of the book, I don’t think it’s overused.  However, it paints a pretty bleak picture of the military.  The officers are pretty despicable, and the GIs are either pretending to be crazy to get out of service, or they really are crazy.  I have to believe there are officers in all branches of our military who are there because they sincerely want to serve the country and who care about the men and women under them, just as I know that there are countless men and women who don’t want to run away from their jobs and who aren’t crazy.  Of course, I’ve never been in the military, so I really don’t know what I’m talking about.  I’m going by stories I’ve been told by veterans.  I think there’s a lot of truthful observation in Catch-22, and it accomplishes what it sets out to do.  I know it’s kind of narrow in its characterizations and in the things it focuses on, but that was the point.  It wasn’t a love letter to military service, and I probably wouldn’t have read it if it were.  And damn, it’s funny.

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Thanks, Ray!

Don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:

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