Base contractor’s new book a page - turner
Gordon Campbell has been working on military installations in the Pacific for a long time. He’s now taken his experiences with him into storytelling in his first in series of novels, The Courier. Campbell describes the book as an espionage thriller with specific scenes depicting Yokota Air Base and Yokosuka Naval Base. The story is set in buildings and areas many stationed in Japan will be familiar with and the protagonist, Gregg Westwood, an unassuming businessman is hired by two intelligence agents as a courier unaware that the gig will lead him to an unknown world of violence and retribution.
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Below learn more about the author and his journey to become a published novelist.
Q: Gordon, you mentioned you’ve worked overseas for two decades. What is your full-time job, and how long have you been in Japan?
A: I’m the Regional Sales Manager for Rach Inc. We offer uniform and marketing solutions to US Government facilities in Asia and Europe. An example of our work would be the window graphics, logo mats, wall graphics, and uniforms used by the new Bayou Burgers, Po’Boys & Daquiris restaurant at Yokosuka’s Club Alliance.
*I spent nine months studying Japanese and working out at a Karate dojo in 1982 before returning to North America. A job was offered to me in Tokyo in 1985, and I thought it would be a two-year experience. I’m still living in Kawasaki.
Q: Which bases in Japan have you worked in/continue to work in?
A: I visit Yokota, Atsugi, Zama, Yokosuka, and The New Sanno regularly. We try to visit Sasebo, Iwakuni, Misawa, and the bases in Okinawa quarterly.
Q: How did you get into writing, and what made you decide to write a novel?
A: I’ve written and published short stories and essays and have been blogging for several years. Writing a novel has always been one of my dreams, and it finally became a priority. The Courier’s development and multiple rewrites spanned over three years.
Q: How many books have you written and how many are published?
A: The Courier is my first novel, and the second part of the Gregg Westwood Series is under development. You can purchase The Courier on Amazon in both E-Book and printed format. We release an audio version in November.
Q: How did you choose your subject for this, and why did you set it in Yokosuka and Yokota?
A: I asked myself what would happen if a salesman without military training entered into a dangerous situation unfamiliar to anything in his world. Could he stand up, perservere, and protect his people?
Spoiler alert: The novel moves around Tokyo, Yokohama, Miura, Kawasaki, touches in Kyushu, and explodes through Bangkok. I’ve visited these places and feel the descriptions will come across as authentic. The Yokota Officers’ Club Samurai Lounge appealed to me as an excellent place to launch the story.
Q: How do you think (besides in the setting) do you think this resonates with the military community and what do you want readers in the military to take away from it? What about the non-military community?
A: The reaction to the book will depend on reading tastes of both the military and non-military community. The Courier is a thriller novel with military, revenge, espionage, and conspiracy aspects. It might appeal to readers of Lee Child, Jack Carr, Ben Coes, and Mark Greaney.
Q: What were the challenges of getting a book published overseas? What advice do you have for other writers in the overseas military community?
A: There are incredible resources available to “indie authors” allowing the production of a professional quality product. A smart looking cover, excellent editors, and expert formatting technicians can be hired to groom your novel. I’d be sure to invest in these services before offering work to a first novel competition or exposing your art to professional and amateur critics.
Q: Besides working on bases in Asia, what is your military connection? Did you serve?
A: I was born in Canada and did not serve in the U.S. military. My friends, who are U.S. military veterans, offered a lot of support to add accuracy to the novel.
Q: What’s next in your writing career?
A: Book two in the Gregg Westwood Series will be released next year. It starts where The Courier left off.
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