New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah is my fourth published book. It is the story of the kids who grew up down the block and then flew halfway around the world to fight in the battle that changed the war. I place the reader among the brave men and women who fought a determined enemy at the crossroads of civilization. This is the tale of their courage, sacrifice and valor. New Dawn opens with the brutal murder, bludgeoning and burning of four Blackwater security contractors on the streets of Fallujah, followed by the aborted first assault and tense standoff during the spring and summer of 2004. Then, New Dawn tells the complete story of the massive final attack as seen through the eyes of those who were there.
Tell us something about yourself.
I have been writing about our brave young men and women at war in Southwest Asia since before 9/11. This is my third career. I spent eight years in the United States Naval Submarine Service from 1967 to 1975. Then, I worked as an electrical engineer. I grew up around computers and in 1992 I started my own integrated circuit design consulting firm. My company suffered a death-blow, first, by the collapse of the tech-bubble in 2000 and then by the attacks on the World Trade Center.
I closed my company in 2002 and have dedicated my life to telling as many of the stories of our brave men and women at war as is humanly possible.
I am married with three grown sons; a lawyer, an archaeologist, and a computer wizard.
What inspired you to write this book?
The stories of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines at war need to be told. It is my way to contribute in the Global War on terror.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?
Savas Beatie selected me. As with any author, I have a long story on getting my books to print.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I guess it was in high school, in World History. When we studied WWII, I picked up The Longest Day and decided to do a book report on Cornelius Ryan’s classic. My fellow students dubbed it The Longest Book Report. I have loved writing and military history all my life.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The editing process. Authors have to endure repeated criticisms in the name of making the book “better.” We all have a fragile ego anyway, that’s probably why we are writers and to suffer weeks of others telling you that you have to fix sentence after sentence is sheer torture.
How do you do research for your books?
Again, this could become an interview in itself. I pride myself on the accuracy of my work. Far too often authors of works on current, or near current, events rush to print to make the “big bucks.” They believe they must get that book sale before the public’s attention is lost. So they rush to press with little or no effort to insure that what they are writing is true. I spend years researching. I visit military archives, read after-action reports and collect hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photographs. But, my best source of information are the participants of the fight. I have hours and hours of recorded interviews from the commanding generals who planned and led the fight to the privates and lance corporals who kicked in the doors. These eyewitness accounts are what make my books compelling and unlike any others.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned that we here in America must be proud of the young men and women who have volunteered to serve their country. They risk life and limb for us and we do not thank them enough. During my years of writing I have had the privilege to walk among great American Heroes.
What are you reading now?
I do not read. I write (This answer may seem strange but I spend most of my time sifting through official reports that are hundreds of pages long. I read my manuscripts over and over again. I literally do not have time to read anything that is not directly related to my research.)
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Cornelius Ryan is my most admired writer. I also like H.R.R. Tolkien and Ian Fleming. All three have the talent of description. My favorite contemporary military author is Rick Atkinson and my all-time favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am just finishing New Dawn. I am toying with the idea of writing a novel next.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
First and foremost, you must believe you are a writer. You must, live, eat and drink as a writer. For if you do not believe in yourself, you stand no chance whatsoever is convincing anyone else.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I could write a marketing dissertation on this question. Success in publishing is 10% writing and 90% marketing. In short, exposure is the key. Authors must get the word out to as many people as possible. So, I am writing articles and submitting them to trade periodicals. I have asked friends to write reviews for submission to those same periodicals. I will be going on a national book tour. I am booking as many radio interviews as possible. AND, I have an enormous internet presence: www.fallujahbook.com, http://blog.richardslowry.com, http://www.examiner.com/x-30068-Orlando-Military-Headlines-Examiner and www.facebook.com/rslowry. I have paid no one to maintain these sites. I do all the work myself. I did have to pay a small amount to GoDaddy to use their website development service WebSiteTonight.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?