Today I am pleased to welcome back author Gene Masters (Silent Warriors: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific) for a follow up interview and to learn more about his latest project.
JOE – Welcome back to my blog, Gene. It’s not been that long since we last spoke, and I know you’ve got a new book out. But first, I understand your original book, Silent Warriors, is now an audio book. What can you tell us about that book and what the process was like having it made into an audio book?
GENE – The narrator, Bill Bird (Tweet Productions) lives and works out of Sacramento, California, and so we had to do everything either by telephone or on the internet—hardly unusual these days!
We started last February, with Bill narrating a chapter, and then sending me each one as he recorded it, for my review. Well, Joe, as you know, Silent Warriorsis a long book, over 600 pages. And it’s loaded with technical terms, naval parlance, and foreign names. So it took a while to get everything correct and accurate. We finished the book and it was made available on www.audible.com in late May. Bill has a great speaking voice, and he really puts a story across. So far, the audiobook of Silent Warriorshas sold 94 copies.
JOE – That’s fantastic! It‘s pretty unusual for an audio book to do that well. What do you think has made it so successful?
GENE – Bill kept adding to the narration what he called “production enhancements,” and what I call just plain old sound effects. He added some original music, sought out recordings of actual WWII submarines in action, used old voice recordings of MacArthur and—when he couldn’t find something appropriate, he rigged up his own sound effects using stuff like eggbeaters and his garbage disposal! The thing is, the “production enhancements” really added quite a bit to anyone listening to the narration.
JOE – Very interesting. Okay, enough about Silent Warriors. Let’s talk about the new book.
GENE – I thought you’d never ask.
JOE – First of all, what is the title, and is it also about World War II as well?
GENE – The title is Operation Exodus, and it’s not set in WWII, but in the present.
JOE – Can you give us a brief synopsis?
GENE – Sure. The sitting U.S. president is up for reelection, and the powers that be in Iran hate him, and are looking for an opportunity to embarrass the United States and kill his chances for reelection. They seize on an unlikely incident only because it’s the only one that presents itself: six American Christian missionaries are arrested preaching on the streets of Teheran. They are accused of spying for the CIA, and a colonel in the Iranian intelligence service, SAVAC, is charged with getting the missionaries to confess to the crime, so that a show trial can be held.
We are introduced early on to the grandson of Silent Warrior’s hero, Jake Lawlor, who heads up a Navy SEAL platoon. He is eventually tasked with the job of rescuing the missionaries, who have been spirited away to a remote corner of the country. In the process, the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, gets involved. What follows are more than a few twists and turns, as the missionaries are eventually rescued, the Iranians’ plan is foiled, and the hero gets the girl!
JOE – Are you planning on turning Operation Exodus into an audio book as well?
JOE – Can’t say that I blame you. So, what is a typical day of writing like for you? Do you write every day?
GENE – I’m retired, and unlike most people’s picture of what retirement is like, I’m really pretty busy. I try to set a few hours aside every afternoon to write, but can’t always do that, and I never work on Sundays. That’s family time. So, I try to write every day, but can’t always.
JOE – Are you planning another book any time soon?
GENE – I am. I’m in the process of putting together a story about WWII German submarine action, based on an actual incident that occurred in 1942. I know, Joe, I can’t seem to get away from the Second World War!
JOE – Where do you get the ideas for your books?
GENE – I read a lot. And, you know, Joe, I find that reading begets writing. For instance, I swear I’ve read every book about submarines ever written!
JOE – Besides writing, what other interests fill up the hours of a typical Gene Masters day?
GENE – Beside reading? Well, I confess I watch a lot of Netflix, and spend a good deal of time researching on the Internet and promoting my books. Then there’s the limited gardening I can do living in a condo, and a very needy black cat named Margaret Thatcher that seems to believe I was placed on the earth only to play with her. Once in a rare while, I get to go fishing. But if you ask Ruth, my wife, I don’t spend near enough time paying attention to her. So, as I said, besides writing, I stay busy!
JOE – Well it sure sounds like it. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. And best of luck with the new book, Operation Exodus.
GENE – It was my pleasure.