Ex-soldier Jason Gray tells how he has drawn upon over twenty years experience in the army to write his novels – and how he hopes they will highlight difficulties soldiers often face after so many years of service…
BY JASON GRAY
Jason Gray but I write under the name JP Gray
Book name, publication date, who book is published by.
Arte Et Marte – By Skill and By Fighting (Published December 2012 by Amazon)
Arte Et Marte – Nothing But The Truth (Published January 2013 by Amazon)
Is this your first book? If not, how many other books have you published?
This is my first story, which I plan to be in a series of four books. The first two (named above) have already been published, and I am in the process of writing the third. The fourth book will be a prequel.
What is the book about?
The story is about a British soldier, Mark Harrison, who is forced to leave the army, thanks to the deceit of his wife. This results in Mark losing everything including his job, his home and his immediate family.
In the first book, we see Mark return home and is welcomed by his mother and friends with open arms, but he finds it extremely difficult to settle back into civilian life. As he is dealing with depression, anger issues and his general attitude towards today’s society, his life is thrown further into turmoil. There are a number of incidents that almost send over the edge, but when his family, his friends and his new business are threatened by mindless thugs, the soldier instinct in Mark takes over – and we see Mark fight for what he believes in.
The second book is set approximately two years later, when Mark seems to be finally settled into a normal life. As he begins to reap the benefits from his new life, he is forced into a situation where he must face his past, and fight against the justice system. False accusations are made against Mark, and his life is put at serious risk as he fights to clear his name.
As previously stated, I am in the process of writing the third instalment of this story, so I don’t wish to give too much away, but I plan to make it more explosive than the first two, with even more twists and turns, leaving the reader wanting more.
When did you start writing?
At the age of sixteen, I joined the army, and after serving for more than twenty years and retiring as a Sergeant, I have found the transition back into civilian life rather difficult. I moved from one job to the other, and was unable to settle into my new home. I was diagnosed with depression, and received counselling for my issues, but still find it hard to be able to live in society after such a long period of time in military uniform.
There has been a lot of press coverage and stories about soldiers leaving the services, and struggling to live a normal life. It is normally the stories of the “front line” soldier that we hear of, but we seem to forget the soldiers who keep the army rolling. I’m talking about the military chefs, mechanics, military police, drivers, and the many other service men and women in the “background”. For example, I was an army mechanic, but I was still placed into situations where my life was at risk, I was till shot at, and I still had to shoot back. I was sometimes exposed to mortar fire and bomb explosions – and I was only a mechanic!
The idea of this story has been in my head for approximately four years, and eventually put pen to paper two years ago. I feel that the public need to know that being a soldier isn’t always about fighting on the front line, but at the same time, the supporting arms can also be effected by the strains of battle. I also feel that more appreciation should be given to the service men and women who put there lives at risk to give our country the freedom we have today, and more support should be given to those who eventually leave the military life as they return to living in society.
Although this story is purely fictional, I have drawn upon my own knowledge and experiences to put this story together, making it more realistic and believable. Many of my friends who have read my story so far, can relate to the main character, and have also stated that they can feel what the character is feeling.
Was it hard to get published?
As with many new authors, finance can be an issue, and my case was no different. I simply could not afford the fees that many publishers were asking for. Eventually, I came across Amazon where I could self publish the stories, and it would not cost me a penny. I was able to design the cover myself, and format the book itself to whichever way I wanted. This was good, as I can say that I did it ALL myself.
Where is your book is on sale?
Both books are available in Kindle Format and paperback on Amazon. Links are below:
Any advice for other book writers?
The main thing I would say to other new authors, is to not expect to make your millions through your first few books. It’s a hard slog to get them out there and to publicise them. The main satisfaction you can get from it is the actual writing. As well as positive feedback, be prepared for negative reviews, your taste won’t always be the same as everyone else’s, but never change what you want to write for individuals.