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Interview: Malcolm Petteway, Author of Homecoming (Osguards: Guardians of the Universe)

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A senior military analyst, retired military officer as well as a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Malcolm Petteway has flown B-52’s as an Electronic Warfare Officer, in addition to having 3,000 flight hours and 300 combat hours. Mr. Petteway has used his knowledge in the art of war, military weapons and combat defenses in planning over 400 combat sorties throughout his distinguished career.  

During his career, Malcolm Petteway has earned many outstanding awards and medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the U.S. Air Force Air Medal and the U.S. Air Force Air Achievement Medal for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Mr. Petteway is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University.  Readers can learn more about Malcolm Petteway and his works by visiting his website

Please tell us a bit about your book, Homecoming (Osguards: Guardians of the Universe),  and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

Recognized at the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival, the award winning Homecoming is a military science fiction book; written in the same fashion as Star Trek, Star Wars and Star Gate books. It is the first book in a series of four novels. It tells the adventures of Michael David Genesis and his family, the Earth-born Osguards. They are leaders of a United Nations type organization in space, called the Universal Science, Security and Trade Association of Planets – USSTAP (pronounced ewes-tap). The Osguards administer diplomatic, economic and military tools of power to keep the peace throughout 60 galaxies of the known universe. Their adversary is a race of humans called Kulusks, who want to destroy the Osguards and take over USSTAP. Homecoming is set in the near-present day and people of Earth are unaware of USSTAP or the Kulusks’ existence. In Homecoming, Earth has become an unwitting pawn in the Kulusk Empire’s thirst for revenge against USSTAP. Maxum Ritchen, the leader of the Kulusk Empire, has set into motion the destruction of USSTAP and with it the destruction of Earth. Michael and his family must prepare USSTAP, for the first time, to go on the offensive and wage an all out universal war. If he is successful, many people will die, and if he is not, Earth will be destroyed.

Who are your favorite characters in the story?

I would have to say, Michael Genesis. He is the First Osguard and the leader of the other Osguards. When I invented him years ago, I think he was the man I wanted to grow up to be most like. He is caring, decisive, intelligent, faithful, honest, loyal, strong and most of all good-looking. I put him in stressing and nearly impossible situations, testing his character. Somehow, he turns despair into victory. It may not be the 100% victory, but it is a victory he can accept.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

Not really, I love the entire book. In fact, I love the entire series. It is different. Each book, including Homecoming, has a sustained flashback. In Homecoming, the sustained flashback is during the antebellum South. I’m very proud of this portion of the book because it challenged my knowledge of history and took some research to pull it all together.

If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

It’s funny you asked this question. The readers who I received comments from, state the book reads like a movie. Moreover, what is uncanny is, in many cases, they picture the same people in mind as I do playing the characters. When I first wrote the novel in 2001, the main character, Michael David Genesis could have been played by Gary Dourdan of the television series CSI fame. Now I see the character played by Will Smith or Shemar Moore of the television show Criminal Minds. All three fit Michael’s description and can play the bruiting, somber, intelligent leader, who when need be, barks masterful orders, provides insightful comments and displays cunning ability to turn a bad situation around in their favor.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

My favorite aspect of writing is mastering the plot. I love to meld complex storylines into an exciting novel. I love to weave the intricate details from the beginning of a story into a well thought out and executed plot. I love to hear when the reader says I didn’t see that coming, but the clues were there from the beginning.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

My least favorite aspect of writing is the beginning. I first write an outline on each story; however, the story always takes on a life of its own and I continue to revise the outline as I progress through the story. It never fails, the final story looks nothing like the original outline, or even the first or second drafts of the outline. Eventually, I just close my eyes and type the story playing in my head. The outline is a great beginning, but never is it the blueprint to the story.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series probably influenced me the most. Additionally, Alex Haley Roots left an indelible impression on my writing style. I also must include Octavia Butler and Steven Barnes as the sci-fi authors who have influenced my thought process. Finally, James Patterson’s Alex Cross character is very influential in my own character development.

What are you reading right now?

I love to read independent writers, especially in the sci fi genre. I just purchased a book for my Kindle from an indie writer name Angela Nicole Parker. She wrote her first science fiction novel called The Specter of War (Guardians of Destiny). Other independent writers I read are Milton Davis (Meji Book 1 and 2); Valjeanne Jeffers (Imortal I, II and III); D.K. Gaston (The Friday House, Promise and the Lost Hours); Ronald T. Jones (Chronicles of the Liberator); Tom Johnson (The Pangaea series); and Steve Hyppolite (A Warrior’s Passage).

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?

I would invite Tom Clancy, Octavia Butler, Alex Haley, James Patterson, and H.G. Wells. The first four authors I would invite, because I believe they are the most influential to my writing style. I would invite H.G. Wells, because of his classic novels, Time Machine and the War of the Worlds. These novels are what captured my interest in science fiction in the first place. As for what I would serve, I would serve what I consider working food. I would serve pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs with coleslaw and French fries. I consider this food you can eat while you work. Because the discussion I would have with them would be consider work.

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

I wish I wrote anything H.G. Wells wrote, but specifically I wish I had written H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. It is not enough to call it a timeless classic; it is much more than that. It is the literature in which modern science fiction sprung. Adaptations of this plot have been copied and duplicated in movies, television and other books. If imitation is the best form of flattery, then H.G. Wells should be spending his afterlife with a perpetual grin on his face.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

Never quit. I’ve only quit one thing in my life. That decision has altered my life and maybe even my very soul. Never quit. Fortitude sends a better message of who you are and what kind of character you have. Because once you quit, it becomes easier to quit again. Then all you are doing is quitting every time you are challenged.

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  • Sharon

    Great interview! It gives the authors followers insight into the thought process of a writer without being mundane and repetitive.
    Fun to read.