Sturmen Krieg Interview - conducted by Lucille Perkins Robinson
LPR: Mr. Krieg, your website - http://www.sturmenkrieg.com - lists quite a large number of accomplishments. Please, tell us a little about these accomplishments and what you do for a living.
SK: When I left the military in '91, I wanted to do something different - to engage in something 180-degrees away from my previous life. So, I packed my bags and headed for New York City, where I attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and HB Studios, studying both acting and directing technique. I spent the next ten years as a stage actor and director. This was truly an experience I will always cherish. I met many wonderful people in New York City, my wife being one of them.
Also during this time, I returned to school via the Internet. At first, I merely wanted to obtain a Master degree (a personal goal), and, frankly, at the time the major was not an issue. The more engaged I was, however, the more committed I became. This culminated in three Master degrees and a Ph. D. I suppose this passion for learning resulted from a quirky character trait. Most of my life it's been feast or famine, that is, I either absolutely commit to a project, goal, etc. or not at all. There is very, very little I do halfway.
I never truly intended to become and educator, however, one year after obtaining my Ph. D., I decided to disseminate my curriculum vitae out of curiosity, merely to see what would happen. Surprising to me, I received a positive response. I began teaching undergraduate courses in computer applications, computer networking and systems analysis and design.
While completing my studies, I published The Dark Ages, a single story centered on an escapade involving both Richter and Ramsy. This effort was a total flop. The book was written poorly, and it became apparent to me I was trying to say entirely too much. That is, my writing tended to go off track, deviating from the main storyline. After a close and very critical analysis of my work, I realized I had much more than a single story. This was when the concept for The Dark Ages trilogy began to evolve.
LPR: Richter, the main character in Malignance, is a member of the Special Forces, but I'm not sure which one. Have you been a member of a special force operation? If so, and if you're allowed, can you tell us a little of what your duties were? READ MORE HERE...
SK: I was a part of a small US Army intelligence group known as the Army Security Agency (ASA). Though this organization delved into many aspects of electronic surveillance and information collection, it was not a part of Military Intelligence (MI), at the time. We were a separate, distinct, collection effort dealing exclusively in the finite aspects of electronic intelligence. Eventually, as a result of reorganization, ASA was merged into MI. My most intriguing tour of duty, with respect to intelligence work, was Berlin (1973 -'75) at the height of the Cold War. I do not wish to sound mysterious or generate imagery of cloaks-and-daggers, but this is essentially all I should say with regard to ASA.
I left the regular army in '76 to assume a post with the Louisiana Army National Guard. There, as a second lieutenant, I began my tour of duty with the Second Battalion, 156th Infantry (Mechanized). As an infantry officer I performed many organizational tasks. I spent years within this battalion and developed a very close bond with fellow cadre and line soldiers, a comradeship that few people outside the military can relate to - just one man's opinion.
In '87 I had the privilege to command the 256th Infantry Brigade Engineer Company (Separate). As a commander you develop a protectiveness of your men, that is, if you are worth your salt. Although at times a soldier may cause you to want to pull your hair out, he still belongs to you. And, you would never allow anyone outside of your command to discipline him. You love your men, you hate them, you feed them, you cloth them, you train them, you nurture them. They become yours, and as their "mother hen" you protect them. I commanded 176 trained killers with guns. The experience was both breathtaking and humbling. Subsequent to my command I was transferred to state headquarters in New Orleans. More on this later.
LPR: What makes a military career man decide to start writing books?
SK: I do not see writing as something foreign to military people. Much the same as others who keep their "day jobs", military folk have experience and insight. Many writers coming out of the military write auto/biographies, depicting actual episodes, but I chose to venture into fiction. I enjoy fiction because this avenue allows for more creativity, expansion of thought. Some, I am sure, would disagree, feeling fiction lessens the worth of the military action/adventure genre. If so, I completely understand. I do not care, but I do understand.
LPR: Describe your The Dark Ages trilogy series. Where can a reader go to buy these books?
SK: Well - as it is a trilogy, this epic journey of two men entails three installments. Richter, an ex officer who resigned from the US Army under dubious circumstances, and Ramsy, a retired US Army Sergeant Major, considered honorable, seek employment utilizing their deadly craft. They eventually garner employment with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and are sent to Panama - where they conduct drug interdiction operations in Panama and Columbia. However, said operations are more military than law enforcement oriented. Their missions have little to do with apprehension, detention, and ultimately conviction of drug runners. They are more in an executive action mode, that being, ambush and elimination.
The first two installments of The Dark Ages trilogy, Ignoble & Malignance, are not in hard copy. They are exclusively online downloads and can be obtained by way of readerseden.com .
SK: The last few years of my military career encompassed an administrative post in New Orleans. As such, I came to know New Orleans well, that is, the pre-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. And, this is the New Orleans Richter knows and maneuvers through. Malignance, the second installment of the trilogy, which takes place in New Orleans is also available as a screenplay.
LPR: Being from Louisiana, I was pleased to read your description of Mardi Gras. Is this based on true personal experience? If so, give us your impressions of this festival.
SK: Yes, my depiction of festival in New Orleans is based on personal experience. I was present for three, consecutive Mardi Gras', and some of the antics I witnessed left an indelible impression. It appears that people, not all of course, allow themselves to dispense with customary mores. After a few drinks, and a few hours seized by the intoxicating affect of festival,
some Mardi Gras goers drop their inhibitions and reveal a side of themselves they would otherwise keep in check.
LPR: One of the villains in Malignance is a voodoo queen. Have you actually met a voodoo queen perhaps during your visit to New Orleans? Or did you have to research voodoo in New Orleans for the story?
SK: I visited the Voodoo museum in New Orleans for research - if for no other reason than to simply look around, let my mind wander. Please see
http://www.voodoomuseum.com/katrina.htm. Admittedly, however, I have not come face-to-face with a voodoo queen, that I know of. I suppose I could have made an appointment with a local fortune-teller, or with someone who referred to themselves as a voodoo queen, but you can never truly be sure with respect to authenticity. And, actually, what constitutes authenticity? Someone practicing for publicity's sake? Additional research encompassed the following:
Buckland, Raymond., (1970). Ancient & Modern Witchcraft. Prescott:
H. C. Publishers, Inc.
Buczynski, Ed., (1984). Witch Craft Fact Book. New York: Magickal
Child Publishing, Inc.
Cunningham, Scott., (1988). The Truth About Witchcraft Today. St.
Paul: Llewellyn Publications.
Tallant, Robert., (1974). Voodoo in New Orleans. Gretna: Pelican
I used older references because I viewed them as more germane to the story timeframe. Quite likely, most, if not all, are out of print by now.
LPR: Have you written other books that are not in this Trilogy - books of another genre besides action/adventure? If so, tell us a little about them.
SK: Other than my Ph. D. dissertation, entitled Propaganda and the Internet, no. Screenplays, yes. The entire trilogy will eventually be available in screenplay format.
With respect to my dissertation, essentially, my research centered on the seven propaganda techniques as established by Alfred & Elizabeth Lee, that being, Name Calling, Glittering Generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Card Stacking, Plain Folk & Band Wagon.
Lee, A., & Lee, E. (1995, Spring). Et Cetera, 52(1), 13.
For those interested:
Fischer, James E., (2005). Propaganda and the Internet. UMI: Ann
Arbor, MI, UMI #3159672.
LPR: Many authors like to write in more than one media. Have you scripts for television or the big screen? If so, tell us a little about them.
SK: As a matter of fact, I write screenplays with a co-writer, Paula Brancato. Our collaboration resulted in the development of five screenplays, one of which was optioned for a short time and another currently in the hands of an agent.
LPR: How long does it take you to write a novel? Do you write from an outline? How do you fit writing into your busy day?
SK: Generally, it takes me roughly a year to put a book together. I realize this sounds like a terribly long time, and it is, but I have to squeeze in the trilogy when I can find the time. The final installment will likely take a little longer. Sorry for the delay.
LPR: Are you planning more books for The Dark Ages Trilogy? If so, will you tell us something about them?
SK: Well - I am developing the final installment of the trilogy, Primordial. As I previously said, its evolution will take a while. The story will bring Captain Richter back to Panama, where he takes part in what he believes will be a rudimentary drug interdiction operation. However, this operation will culminate into something much more dastardly and threatening. Beyond that, I
have a few ideas I intend to kick around after some research. Also, according to my co-writer, Paula, I need to return to screenwriting for an episode or two of "something".
LPR: Mr. Krieg, I have enjoyed reading Malignance and look forward to the other two books in the series. Thank you for answering all my questions.
SK: My pleasure.