- a retired submarine officer, deep-sea and saturation diver, scientist, author, and lifelong adventurer.
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Dr. Williscroft spent 22 months underwater, a year in the equatorial Pacific, three years in the Arctic ice pack, and a year at the Geographic South Pole. He holds degrees in Marine Physics and Meteorology, and a doctorate for developing a system to protect SCUBA divers in contaminated water.
A prolific author of non-fiction, Cold War thrillers, and hard science fiction, Dr. Williscroft lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his family.
Dr. Williscroft, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
If I could, I would choose an Orca—a killer whale. My forthcoming release, Operation Arctic Sting: A Mac McDowell Mission, features a 10,000-pound, 30-feet-long Orca named Borisko by one of the saturation divers embarked on the nuclear submarine USS Teuthis on its under-ice journey through the Arctic. Although huge, Orcas are very human-friendly. I have dived with them on several occasions. They are playful like puppies, very intelligent, and will bond with a human if a person is willing to place a hand inside the Orca’s mouth against its tongue for a half-minute.
Oooh! That’s a new choice and I love it! Great to hear that they’re so playful, but that 30-second rule sounds a lot like a hazing ritual… *eyes you suspiciously*
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write mainly in two genres, hard science fiction and Cold War submarine and diving espionage thrillers.
I have been interested in Hard ScFi since my youth. As I matured and developed a career in submarines, exploration, and science, I started writing stories like those I enjoyed in my youth. I have found a ready audience that appreciates real science and engineering taken to their logical conclusions within a near-future tale of interplanetary or interstellar adventure and derring-do.
I wrote the story of my participation in an underwater intelligence coup where I led a team of saturation divers into the Sea of Okhotsk, to lock out of a submarine on the ocean bottom and tapped into Soviet communications cables. This book became a bestseller and the first in a continuing series of Mac McDowell Missions.
Wow! What a great example of ‘writing what you know’, clearly to great results.
What do you like to read?
I enjoy well-written hard science fiction and action/adventure/thrillers in the fiction arena. I enjoy science, history, and politics for non-fiction.
Sounds like a solid mix — reading in your genre and the non-fiction topics that make for great ‘research’ books. That ubiquitous “they” always suggest writing about things that interest you.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Join lots of writers groups.
For me, such activities are a distraction.
I can see that. While I’m an ambivert who loves connecting with people, critiquing and meeting with other writers can end up eating up a lot of my writing time, if I’m not careful.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Write what you know.
Not specifically, but generally. I know science; I know engineering; I know submarines; I know diving; I know the polar regions; these are what I write about. I don’t know any magic; my wizarding skills are minimal; I’m not a great athlete; I’m not a successful racecar driver; these are what I don’t write about.
Well, I can’t say anything for or against writing about imaginary things like magic and fantasy (which I love), I’m not surprised that this is your favorite tip, because you use it and you use it well.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Book 3 launches this week! With Operation Artic Sting!
In Operation Ivy Bells (book 1):
Saturation Dive Team Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Mac McDowell faces his greatest challenge yet, leading the team into a critical Cold War mission. With a security clearance above Top Secret, Mac and his off-the-books deep-water espionage group must gather Russian intel to avert world war.
Join nuclear-submariner Mac as he extreme-dives to a thousand feet, battles giant squids, and proves what brave men can achieve under real pressure, the kind that will steal your air and crush the life out of you.
In Operation Ice Breaker (book 2):
USS Teuthis Saturation Dive Team Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Mac McDowell is leading his submarine team on a mission to lay SOSUS arrays under the ice in the Arctic when they clash with a new Alfa-class highly automated Soviet submarine. Overwhelmed by mechanical problems, the Soviet crew abandons their sub near Pt. Barrow, Alaska.
The Teuthis skipper launches DSRV-1 Mystic, so Mac and his crew can board the empty sub and gather intelligence. The arrival of an even more advanced Soviet sub leads to breathtaking underwater clashes with the specter of war looming. Will the Soviets sink Mac and his crew to their watery graves, or will Teuthis safely return to Alaska where Mac’s new love, Kate, anxiously awaits his return?
Check out the three book trailer here.
Other books by Dr. Robert Williscroft include:
The Starchild Trilogy – What does it take to send a colony to space?
Icicle: A Tensor Matrix – Braxton Thorpe has discovered a threat to the entire Solar System, but he has a problem: he’s dead.
The Daedalus Series – Follows test pilots of wingsuits as they launches themselves from higher and higher, to orbit itself. Through thrills, near-escapes, humor, and spectacular sightseeing.
Check Dr. Robert Williscroft out across the web!