Posted by Literary Titan
The Smallest War follows a group of military operatives who go up against Russian operatives in a battle to control a new oil source. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I was a Cold War kid so thought it would be fun to pitch the old enemies into a battle. During research for The Smallest War, I came across the USA/USSR Maritime Boundary Agreement and realised I’d found the catalyst for the confrontation. The first draft of The Smallest War was a heavyweight, weighing in at a little over 140K words. It detailed the backstory of the United States buying Alaska from Russia and how the error in the alignment of the boundary across the Bering Sea came to be. Sadly, there was a “Kill your darlings” year during which I slimmed the novel down. That said, it is a better book for the cuts.
Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?
A bit of both. I wrote outlines for the characters detailing their looks, speech patterns, habits, heritages and dreams. I also wrote a plot which was around 17K words. As The Smallest War developed, so did the characters, but the more refined development came with the assistance of an editor. There was no particular guidance given, more just observations about the characters themselves. In the draft the editor read, the main characters were verging on superhuman, and the editor thought they could do with taking a toilet break (i.e. do those things that people do as a matter of course each day, such as being injured if they were involved in a car crash).
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I sweated over the epigraph “Good people are imperfect. Bad people aren’t.” It’s the main theme of The Smallest War, and I hope I’ve crafted the characters to fit the premise. We are all flawed, but overwhelmingly we are good. There are only a few of us that are perfectly malevolent, like Major Regina Volkov.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
In light of what I learnt writing The Smallest War, I’m re-writing the first novel I wrote. The first novel did the rounds with the agents in Australia and was put in the drawer while I wrote The Smallest War. It’s not a sequel or prequal, just another book I’d like to read. It will be published in 2023.
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Posted by Literary Titan
The Smallest War, by Mark Sheehan, is a rollicking action tale of political intrigue. The global balance of power is at stake when viral sabotage leads to an international incident in the Bering Sea, which happens to be home to a massive, newly discovered oil reserve. Calling upon a little-known process laid forth by the charter of the United Nations, the Russian Federation seeks to solve a potentially world-ending dispute with the United States of America through a “Small War.” Through a series of bizarre circumstances, the US team is made up of a ragtag group of individuals who were chosen not for their skills but for their failures.
The Smallest War is quite a ride. While the fantastical story is grounded in reality, the reader must embrace their suspension of disbelief to follow the events leading up to the “small war.” Impossible viral attacks, an absolute dereliction of duty by the US Department of Defense, the military-industrial complex pulling all the strings to guarantee nothing but massive warfare, while the Russian federation uses dirty tricks and a loose interpretation of international law to get their way… on second thought that all seems incredibly feasible.
I had a good time reading The Smallest War, despite some shortcomings. It reads very much like a Hollywood blockbuster, with locations spanning the globe, giant action set pieces, and characters ranging from damaged, struggling anti-heroes to absolute villains who will do anything to accomplish their goals. The characters are tried and true tropes of the genre: the Americans feature greatest hits such as the strong dumb guy, the mouthy rich guy, and the level-headed woman who can pull the team together. Each has their own flaws that bring a bit more to the stereotype.
The Smallest War: an action-adventure thriller is a riveting military and war novel. Readers will encounter suspense and thrills in each chapter as they wait to find out how this small war will play out and who will end up with control over the oil.
Pages: 406 | ASIN : B0B7P4ZKMF
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