When I was 11-years-old, I used to send out pitch letters to sci-fi book publishers, impersonating someone much older, and proposing all sorts of crazy ideas. I was able to type at that age and I went to great lengths trying to make these letters look like they were from an adult – but of course, it was obvious they were written by a kid.
No surprise, doing this resulted in a pile of rejection letters. But then one day, I got a response from Ace Science Fiction. It was my original pitch letter about a book I claimed I’d already written about a jet fighter that goes back in time. But at the bottom of the letter someone had typed: “Send the book along.” I went through the roof, was extremely excited. But of course I had no book. So now I had to write one.
I spent the entire summer doing so, typing day and night for two months straight, not much different form what I do now. The result was called “Twilight of the Dawn.” I finally sent it in to them – and two weeks later got a rejection letter.
Flash forward about 25 years. I was walking through Berkley Books with my Chopper Ops editor when we passed a door that said: Ace Science Fiction. I didn’t realize Ace Books still existed. I told my editor the above story and he introduced me to the senior editor of Ace, who also listened to my kid-as-failed-writer story. As it turned out, she was sure she knew who wrote the “send it along” message to me years before. He was an editor, long since deceased, who would encourage kids with big dreams to keep on writing. And even though he eventually rejected my book, it did whet my appetite enough to keep on trying.
Now at the same time, the original Wingman series was coming to an end. I’d always wanted to write sci-fi because that’s all I used to read when I was a kid. With help from my literary agent, I was able to morph Wingman into Starhawk, (originally known as “Wingman In Space”) and sell the series to Ace. So, my dream came true, it just took about 35 years.
The first Starhawk book is what I always envisioned a cool sci-fi book should be. Very broad of scope, a Galaxy-wide adventure, about a guy who comes from nowhere and winds up turning the Milky Way on its head. There are many battles, many beautiful women, an Evil Empire to fight, mystery, intrigue, spaceships flying a two lights years a second, UFOs – you name it. It was fun to write; the cover is cool, and it was the beginning of the Second Coming of Hawk Hunter.