For more than twenty-five years, as we slept on pillow-topped queen-sized mattresses, he claimed a rack aboard one of four nuclear submarines, working to keep us safe. On his last submarine, he was one of the two men whose permission was required to launch the submarine’s nuclear warhead-tipped missiles.
He finished his career with tours in the Pentagon and in the Washington Navy Yard. Upon retirement from the Navy, Rick tried his hand at writing and was offered an initial two-book deal from Macmillan / St. Martin’s Press. (Since expanded to another two-book deal.)
His first novel, The Trident Deception, was hailed by Booklist as “The best submarine novel since Tom Clancy’s classic – The Hunt for Red October”.
Rick’s second novel, Empire Rising, is due out Feb. 24th and critical praise has been equally profuse. Publishers Weekly said of it: “Another riveting military action thriller by Rick Campbell. A MUST READ for fans of this genre.” And Booklist? “The story rockets around the globe and the pages cannot turn fast enough. Readers who miss Clancy will devour Campbell.”
Here’s the blurb for Empire Rising as described by Barnes & Noble:
Very much in the spirit of Jack Ryan, Campbell has crafted a tightly plotted and horrifyingly believable story in which China, desperate for access to oil in a near-future where supplies are running low, declares war and reveals itself to be much better prepared than anyone expected. After a military disaster that sends the United States reeling and leaves the Chinese free to act, a trio of well-written characters work to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Combining thrilling espionage-style adventures, detailed naval battles, and incredible SEAL Team missions, Campbell has created what might be the perfect military thriller.
Jan: Welcome, Rick! To begin with, shall we establish the interview ground rules? Given your background as a college wrestler and your impressive military career, if my questioning gets out of line, do I need to be concerned for my safety or ability to travel?
Rick: Only if you’re flying over the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. :)
The Trident Deception and Empire Rising are the first military thrillers I’ve read, and I was immediately struck by the balancing acts you’re require to perform. To begin with, civilian-readers such as myself require ongoing education about technical details, military history, and jargon so that the narrative makes sense, and so that we might appreciate the challenges facing your characters. At the same time, you don’t want readers choking on information. How do you ensure you hit the sweet spot between information and overload?
Rick: You’ve identified a critical issue I struggle with. [Read more…]