Monday’s Friend: Stan Hampton, Sr
Today I’m pleased to welcome back to the blog the fascinating Stan Hampton, Sr.
SJT: This is your fourth visit to my blog. Anything new in your life since last time you visited?
SH: You know, you are right. I did not think I had visited that many times. The last time I visited was early February, this year. Since that time, I finished my first semester at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), and passed all classes enrolled in. I still need to get my GPA up so I can qualify for studying for a semester in Ireland. I moved again, third time in a year, but at least I am happier where I am now. And, I guess that is it. Not bad for an old man, eh?
SH: While in the military, take advantage of every training opportunity possible. Work on the marriage, work on being a better father and a better man—perhaps the marriage will not end in divorce. Stop being so angry and bitter—all of that does nothing except burn a person up inside. Learn to live, rather than just survive or exist. And get a degree, now. Do not wait for decades. Getting a degree early on could mean a better quality of life for you and the family. An Associates, Bachelors, or Masters does not guarantee a job (especially during the Great Recession), but it does open more doors of opportunity.
SJT: Your time in service has clearly influenced your writing, since you write about a number of characters who have either served in the military or have relatives who have done so. Do you see writing about such characters a way of dealing with the trauma of living through conflict, or is this more a case of ‘write what you know’?
SH: Probably more of a case of writing what I know. I have written two “realistic” military stories. Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot (MuseItUp Publishing) is about a young soldier at a convoy support center in northern Kuwait. He is preparing to go on a convoy security escort mission shortly after learning that a fellow soldier was killed by an IED. Dawn at Khabari Crossing was originally a college English writing assignment. I revised it for my short story collection Intimate Journeys (Melange Books). The protagonist is a soldier about to return from active duty mobilization and deployment, and facing an uncertain economic future during the Great Recession. Those two were somewhat easy to write.
For my UNLV Creative Writing workshop, I wrote DD Form 1076, which is the form used by the military to record the personal effects of deceased soldiers, especially those Killed In Action. This story, which I have wanted to write for some time, was inspired by a real incident. In June 2007 my company was about 30 days away from ending our year-long deployment, and returning home. And then one of our soldiers was killed by an IED. Those were difficult days for many people. Because DD Form 1076 is inspired by a real event, personally, this was a difficult story to write. Yet, I have felt a need to write it.
Regarding other military stories that take place during the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT), An Incident on MSR Tampa, The Lapis Lazuli Throne, and Dancing in Moonlight (Musa Publishing), or stories that take place in the past or the future, most have a supernatural aspect. I just think that war and the supernatural go together.
SJT: In your forthcoming novel, PRAIRIE MUSE, you revisit the main protagonists in SHARING RACHEL. What made you decide to write a sequel about these characters?
SH: On reflection, I really do like the characters Burt and Rachel Markham, and their world. They may be so appealing because they are ordinary people, happily married with two grown children, and small business owners. Yes, they are stretching their personal and sexual boundaries, and why not? That is their business. Anyway, Sharing Rachel is about their first adventure. So why not additional adventures? Sometimes it might be an adventure they sought out, other times (Prairie Muse) an unexpected adventure may come their way. Because of who they are, and their lust for life, I really do see further adventures ahead for Rachel and Burt.
SJT: Without giving away too many spoilers, tell us a little about PRAIRE MUSE.
SH: Well, to back up a little, in Sharing Rachel, Burt and Rachel Markham’s daughters leave in the summer of 2013 for a university on the East Coast. Faced with an empty nest and a predictable routine stretching far into the future, Burt and Rachel decide to explore their personal and sexual boundaries. This summer exploration carries on into the spring of 2014.
Prairie Muse picks up in May 2014—perhaps the initial blurb works best:
“The fireworks are about to begin as the sexual adventure of Rachel and Burt Markham continues. Small business owners and a happily married couple of 20+ years, they live in the small town of Four Corners, Kansas. The year before, with the permission and encouragement of her husband, Rachel had the freedom to explore the depth of her sensuality through having her first Bull. After saying farewell to her Bull, Rachel and Burt settle back into the routine of small town life. Then, African-American frustrated artist and new fireworks territory sales manager Horus Grant arrives in Four Corners. He is searching for new sales territory for the Missouri-based company, and he decides to open a fireworks stand next to Rachel and Burt’s seed and feed store. Outwardly friendly and personable, he is plagued by hidden demons. Though based in near-by Wichita, Horus finds himself returning to Four Corners again and again, and not just because of the fireworks stand. Rachel is also drawn to him and soon realizes she may hold the key to Horus’s slim chance of defeating his demons, of healing, and learning to live again.”
SJT: When is the book coming out?
SH: PRAIRIE MUSE should be released in August 2015.
SJT: Do you have any further plans for Burt and Rachel?
SH: Heh heh heh…
Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.
He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.
In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
After 14 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.
As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.
Stan Hampton, Sr can be found at:
Dark Opus Press
Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing
Amazon.com Author Page
Amazon.com. UK Author Page
Goodreads Author Page