Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul J Roarke Jr. USMC (RET) – Corps Strength

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Corps Strength: A Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant’s Program for Elite Fitness. This is a fitness guide based on my long experience (over 30 years) training US Marines, and International Military Personal. An easy to learn, effective and time efficient method to get into and stay at a high level of physical fitness. Long term health, injury prevention and weight management are also goals of my system. This method has been proven effective by hundreds of those that have used it. To include military, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up in Troy, New York. After High School I worked construction and continued playing sports, such as boxing, weight lifting and running. In 1981 I joined the Marine Corps. During the next 28 years I deployed around the world and the United States. I also deployed to Desert Storm, Kosovo and Iraq. In 2009 I retired and started working as a physical training and leadership instructor at the Navy’s International training Center in Pensacola, Fl. This is my first book, but prior to that I had over 20 articles published in a National Military Magazine. “The Marine Times” I’m married and have two sons and live in Pensacola, Fl.

What inspired you to write this book?

I developed my own exercise system over many years of training Marines. I had good results training Marines who were overweight. Many asked me to write my program down for them. I decided to put all my ideas together and I ended up with a book.

How did you choose the title?

That is a funny story as the original title of my book was; “Built for Work”. But my publisher thought that it would be confusing to the readers, So after a lot of debate and discussion we settled on “Corps Strength”. Which on the end I think is a better title, publisher knows best I guess. LOL

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

As most first time authors find out very quickly, publishing a book can be a very confusing and sometimes frustrating process. I wrote the actual book in about a month. (40,000 words) Then I started looking for a publisher. I knew that I wanted traditional publishing, as I knew my idea was good. So self publishing was out. In the end I sent out about 10 queries to publishers that I knew published fitness books. I ended up with 2 offers. I went with Ulysses Press as I had read a few of their books and I liked them. Also I was very impressed with the people there, they were very professional. I was very glad I signed with them and they have been great guiding me through the whole process. I’m very happy with the way my book turned out and its 99% due to the great professionals at Ulysses.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

In the Marine Corps, at times the ability to express your ideas and opinions can be a real plus. I found I had some talent in that direction so I started writing letters to different military magazines. After a few were published I was asked if I would like to do a monthly opinion column in “The Marine Times” I started doing these and my articles became very popular with the readers. I did this for almost 2 years. (and got paid for it!) I knew that I wanted to write more from that experience. I decided to do a fitness book first, but my real desire is to write history, military history and more so biography’s. I have been doing research on a few people for years already.

Do you have any writing rituals?

The funny thing about me is that the actually writing is the easy. What I need is lots of time prior to that to run over in my mind what I’m going to say on paper. I find that when I’m running or bike riding is where I do my best thinking. When I actually start writing I always try to do it first thing in the morning. I’m worthless to write anything after 5 pm.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

All the characters in my book are real. All stories are true.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Wow that is a big one, yes I learned a lot, too much to list here. But I will say that probably the biggest thing I learned is that going from an idea to a book is a very slow process. Sometimes things move about the speed of a glacier coming down a mountain. LOL. Also as an author you need to check your ego when working with your editor. Writing is a very personal act and when others suggest cutting, or rewording this or what Pics to keep. That can be hard to swallow. But In the end it’s a team process and you have to trust both your instinct and the people you work with. I had a great team and everything worked out for the best.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

Hmmm, good one, but probably nothing different.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I love Bios and anything by Stephen Ambrose. Of course i have read all the classics and tons of popular novels and I do love a good story but to be honest I prefer Non-fiction over fiction. I always felt that real life is much more interesting than something made up.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Recently I wrote about 100 pages of a leadership book, then decided the time wasn’t right and put it up on a shelf. I also have an idea for another fitness book, its in the thought process. I have a big box in the closet full of research on one of our most famous Marines; Dan Daly. He was a two time Medal of Honor winner. A book has never been written on his life. I have gathered some very interesting and many surprizing facts about him. I actually think I know more about him than anyone or any organization. But this is going to be a very tough book to write as only about 50 words can be directly quoted to him. He didn’t say much, but did and witnessed some fantastic things. It’s a book that needs to written and I am the one to do it, but it will take a full time effort, of which I can’t do while working full time.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The best advice that I was once given about writing was; “Writers write, everyone else just talks about it” . In other words writing is a verb, it takes action and effort. So keep writing. As far as publishing goes. I have found that marketing is a very important part of the process after your book comes out. If you are prepared to publish a book, you need to be ready to put yourself out there to help it sell, not easy sometimes.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Anyone who wants an effective, simple and easy to learn way to stay in shape. No hype, no expensive equipment, supplements or big time investment. Just results. I guarantee it.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

My book is offered by all the major retailers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and Borders.

The Amazon site is Corps Strength