To Be A Spec Ops Warrior

D. C. Gilbert
D.C. Gilbert Author Interview

Serpents Underfoot finds JD Cordell facing a terrorist group that plans to detonate nukes on US soil. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

This story grew out of thoughts I have had about what it would be like to be a Spec Ops warrior. I served in the military and spent most of my time overseas. I served in the Army infantry, and when I enlisted, I scored high enough on the ASVAB test to get Ranger School in my contract. Unfortunately, when they discovered I had a slight speech impediment, they would not send me to Ranger School. There were going to let me out because they couldn’t honor their end of the deal, but I asked to stay. Hell, I could still shoot pretty darn well. So, I guess it is, at least in part, a fantasy about what might have been.

Combine that with a lifetime study of martial arts, the political climate at the time, my interest in Asian culture, and you have the birth of this story.

The rest is simply a bunch of “what if” questions. For instance, what if a soldier in Vietnam married a Vietnamese girl who saved his life? What if their son became a Navy SEAL, and what if his team uncovered a major terrorist plot? What if it involved high-ranking US government officials? You get the idea …

JD Cordell is essentially a composite of several people I have known and respected. While I was a bit too young to serve in Vietnam, I was old enough to have several good friends who did. One friend, in particular, served as a medic on long-range reconnaissance patrols in the region the first few chapters of Serpents Underfoot is set in. I also know a couple of former Navy SEALS, one of which recently passed away. He was actually an Underwater Demolition Team member and served in the Mekong Delta region during the Vietnam War. The UDT teams were essentially forerunners of the Navy SEALs.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

I guess you could say the writing challenges were pretty extensive, and they essentially set themselves. Serpents Underfoot was my first serious attempt at a book. I am still amazed that I finished it, published it, and have gotten some pretty rave reviews, including Literary Titan’s excellent review and many great reader reviews. It even got a good review from Kirkus.

And I did make a lot of newbie mistakes. It was self-edited, which I learned right away is not a good idea. I used an editor, Beth Kallman Werner, for my second book, Montagnard. She was a great help and worth the investment. But for Serpents Underfoot, there were several frantic re-edits and uploads of the book’s interior as readers pointed out problems or typos to me. I knew nothing about launching a book release or marketing. I mean, in reality, writing it was probably the easy part. It has even gone through four different cover revisions.

All that being said, I wouldn’t trade anything for the experience. I grew so much as an author during that process. We learn so much more from our mistakes than our successes.

What draws you to the military action-thriller genre?

It is a genre I have always enjoyed reading. I like action thrillers of all kinds and have read a great deal by authors like Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, W.E.B. Griffin, Ken Follett, Greg Iles, Vince Flynn, and Ian Fleming, to name just a few.

I was also a huge Louis L’Amour western fan, so I guess this kind of thing comes naturally. I like stories where despite terrible odds, the good guys win. Louis L’Amour had a great quote I’ve always loved, “There’s no stopping a man who knows he’s in the right and keeps a-coming.” I think JD Cordell personifies that quote.

And I also love reading military history, especially World War II and the Vietnam War. As I mentioned, I have had several friends over the years who were Vietnam Veterans, and I was appalled by how this country treated them on their return to the US. So, I like to write stories that cast American military members in a positive light; who stand on principle and won’t back down.

Serpents Underfoot is the first book in The JD Cordell Action Series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book two, titled Montagnard, is already out. I sort of did this “review thing” out of order. Montagnard also received a 5-Star review from Literary Titan and even won your Literary Titan Gold Book Award for August 2020. I was shocked but very thrilled. I have to give a lot of credit for that to my editor. Beth told me it was good and that I should submit it for review. It was that success that prompted me to submit Serpents Underfoot as well.

In Montagnard, JD Cordell and a few buddies try to rescue his mother, who disappears into Vietnam after traveling there to find her adopted brother. Dish, of course, played a significant role in Serpents Underfoot. JD’s mother, Mai, inadvertently falls victim to an old feud between her adopted brother and a former Viet Cong colonel. During the rescue mission, JD also receives assistance from a half-Thai, half-American nightclub owner, a great character full of surprises.

I am currently working on book three, titled Reciprocity. This tale picks up where Montagnard leaves off. In Reciprocity, JD finds himself drawn into a deadly conflict with a criminal gang trafficking young women forced into lives of prostitution. In this case, two young women you meet in Montagnard. It is a dark topic but, sadly, all too relevant in today’s world. I hope this book, while fiction, will help bring this topic to more people’s attention.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Conspiracy. Terrorism. One SEAL stands between freedom and nuclear annihilation.
JD Cordell believes in freedom, honor, and hard work. The son of a Vietnam veteran and his Vietnamese wife, the Navy SEAL is proud to serve as SEAL Team 5’s K9 handler with his dog Ajax. But when his team uncovers a deadly terrorist plot in Afghanistan, he never expected a cover-up that could reach as high as the White House itself.
As JD gets drawn in deeper, he unmasks a mastermind hell bent on detonating nukes on U.S. soil. When an assassin working for the terrorist strikes close to home, JD’s fight to save America gets personal.
Can JD protect the American way of life, or will sadistic terrorists turn America into a nuclear wasteland?
Serpents Underfoot is the first novel in a nail-biting military thriller series. If you like patriotic heroes, fanatical conspiracies, and action-packed adventure, then you’ll love D.C. Gilbert’s tale of SEAL action and suspense.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 21, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Awesome! I loved both books and very much look forward to the third!! So very happy for your success!

  1. Pingback: My Spec Ops Fantasy – D.C. Gilbert

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