Today we welcome Symm Hawes McCord
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Symm Hawes McCord: I grew up on the outskirts of Augusta, Georgia across the street from the Augusta National Golf Course where, for a few years, I would work in the concessions and on the grounds. After college I went through medical school, internship and then two years in the U.S. Army, one year being in Vietnam where I was awarded a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. After Vietnam I spent the next 40+ years as a family physician. During the first sixteen years of my practice I was in an area with no obstetricians and spent most of my time delivering babies. Some of the babies that I delivered are now personal friends or Facebook friends. I retired in 2006 and began to enjoy life and my family.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Symm Hawes McCord: I’ve written three books of fiction, two sci-fi and one historical fiction. The first book, The Annunaki Enigma: Creation, came about as a result of an event that occurred in New Mexico when I was seven or eight years old. It was the Roswell incident and the photos and story that day in the newspaper fascinated me. I was young and a regular church goer (thanks to my parents). This incident made me wonder if these “aliens” might actually be some of our Creators. I wrote my first book as a story of creation by a very high-tech society following the story in The Bible as close as possible. My wife, Jackie, helped me in many ways as well as her encouragement. The second book, The Annunaki Enigma: Armageddon 2020, was a play off on the first and was written with a co-author, Gaylon McCollough, MD. The last book, The Deuce, is historical fiction and was written because of my memories from WWII, as a child, as I watched my Dad and uncles leave and go to war. They were the “Greatest Generation” and were willing to risk their very lives to protect our way of life. This novel follows the actions of a fictitious rifle squad in the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment from its inception through the time that they arrive at Hitler’s Berghof in the Bavarian Alps. I spent more time researching for this book than I had expected to do, but it helped with historical accuracy.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Symm Hawes McCord: Currently I am beginning research on the 90th Infantry Division. When I was in Vietnam I met a young “butter-bar” lieutenant who continued to stay in touch through the years. He retired a few years ago as a Major General. Recently I found that he had been the Commander of the 90th Division. He sent me a copy of Colby’s book on the history of that division in WWII.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Symm Hawes McCord: The book I am currently promoting, The Deuce, fits the description of “difficult” in that it required so much research to get it right. I tried so hard to put the regiment where it was supposed to be on certain dates and include the fictitious squad.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Symm Hawes McCord: You can glean much information on the Internet which includes personal letters by soldiers, long-since forgotten poems written by the troops, and excellent timelines showing when and where the regiment was at any time. Published works are also invaluable in our research.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Symm Hawes McCord: The American Bicentennial Series by John Jakes, written during the 1970s, was a very well written historical-fiction series. He did such a good job of following events in history with his works.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Symm Hawes McCord: My wife was my encouragement to start writing. I talked so much about certain things that she suggested that I write it down. She said that there may be others out there interested in the same subjects.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Symm Hawes McCord: I hope that within my last novel I have found my voice as an author and improved my research techniques. I am seeing that my largest weakness is an inability to sell my books for promotional events in bookstores but I imagine many writers have that problem.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Symm Hawes McCord: Once I set my focus on what I plan to write, I write during every free moment. Sometimes I get up very early, four or five AM, and write when the house and outside are quiet. I don’t set up a schedule or rigid routine of writing.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Symm Hawes McCord: Where will I be as a writer in another five years? As a man of 78 years I almost hesitate to answer that question. No, I hope I’ll still be here and writing, and will have developed an ability to properly present my books for author events in book stores. We all hope to better hone our writing skills.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Symm Hawes McCord: I believe I would suggest to newbie authors that they never give up on trying to get their hard work published. Publishing companies, understandably, are very hesitant to take on a first timer. So many potentially good writers are rejected because they have no history of success. I’ve been very thankful that Mr. Bill Connor, of Argus, gave me a chance.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Symm Hawes McCord: One reader took the time to send me an email congratulating me on how well my subject was researched. He said he felt that it seemed like I had been there and was telling what I had experienced.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Symm Hawes McCord: This is a part from The Deuce when the squad was fighting near Best in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden:
Harve quickly fixed his bayonet when he saw one of them out in front headed their way.
“Kill that Hun bastard, Jake. I don’t like that close of a combat.”
They both fired as he ran toward them, and at about ten feet away, Harve saw him grimace as one of their rounds struck home. His momentum kept him going another five feet, and when he dropped, Harve had to use his rifle to deflect the enemy bayonet as he fell forward towards them.
“That was definitely too close.” Jake said to Harve who was still looking out of the foxhole at the dead Kraut and breathing heavily. “When you write her, tell Miss Lucy that we saved your ass today, my friend.”
Website: www.SymmMcCordBooks.com The website gives half-book samples of all three books allowing the reader to decide whether or not they wish to purchase the book.
Visit The Deuce Facebook page.
Email address: email@example.com
The Deuce Teaser:
During the 1940s, the most globally inclusive battle in the history of the earth was fought in the fields and forests of Africa and Europe, on the oceans of the earth, and in the islands of the Pacific.
Among the combative participants in that war, the 101st Airborne Division became celebrated for its effectiveness and heroism on the battlefield. Within that division were several well-respected and heroic regiments, including the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), a brother regiment to the 506th PIR of Band of Brothers fame.
After training in the U.S. and England, the 502nd was dropped behind the lines of Utah Beach on D-Day beginning the epic story of the Deuce as they fought their way across Europe. Their story is represented in The Deuce by the fictitious 1st squad, 3rd platoon, Bravo company, 3rd battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division. It reveals the heroism, valor and bravery of the entire 101st.