They say the Army makes a man out of you, but for eighteen-year-old SPC Michael Anthony, this fabled rite of passage is instead a dark and dangerous journey. After obtaining his parents’ approval to enlist at seventeen, Anthony begins this journey with an unshakeable faith in the military based on his family’s long tradition of service. But when he finds himself in a medical unit of misfits as lost as he is, Anthony not only witnesses firsthand the unspeakable horror of war, he experiences the undeniable misconduct of the military. Everything he’s ever believed in dissolves, forcing Anthony to rethink his ideals and ultimately risk his career—and his freedom—to challenge the military that once commanded his loyalty.
For more information please visit www.masscasualties.com
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Michael Anthony. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A: This is my first book.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: My first book is this book, ‘Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq.’
Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
A: Well, a lot of authors hate me for this, but I was able to get the book deal on my first try. I had initially planned on self-publishing and then just handing copies of the book out, but then my girlfriend told me to try at least one place out, I did, and the rest is history.
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: Well, I hadn’t gotten rejected, but I was angered when I had gotten the book deal on the first try, I had wanted to be a writer since I was sixteen, but I had never really believed I could have been one, everyone told me it was too hard, and then to get a book deal on my first try, I was angered at myself, for not believing I could do something.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A: The Publisher is Adams Media, they are an Imprint of F&W Media. I chose them, because they are the only people I had written to, and I didn’t want to spend time shopping it around, I just wanted to write.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: It felt amazing, as if waking from a dream. I still haven’t really celebrated; I’ve just been working since then.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: I went on facebook and requested everyone I’d ever known, as a friend.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: No. I thought it was a great journey to see the book come to fruition, from what it was.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: That’s a tough question, because to grow, you’ve got to have roots and know where you are, since returning from Iraq, I’m still working on finding myself and where my roots are.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: I would have tried earlier, I didn’t try immediately, because I had listened to other people who told me it was hard, so I did nothing, but once I tried, I realized that things aren’t that hard, as long as you put in the time and effort.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: Since returning home and writing the book, I’ve been very active with veterans issues and helping suicidal veterans, and veterans with PTSD. The biggest accomplishment, is just that I can say I’m at least out there and trying to help out, and I liked to think through my efforts and the combined efforts of those I’ve worked with, that we’ve at least saved a few lives.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: A profession other than writer. I guess if I could have anything, I would want to play for the Boston Celtics.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: I haven’t combined the best of both worlds, and I don’t know if I’d give it up, I’d make more money playing for the Celtics and I love basketball, but I don’t know if I’d be as fulfilled and able to help and touch as many people, so I guess I’d have to stay where I am.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I would love to be still writing books, but especially writing movies, maybe movies and books!
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: Be patient, and put in a lot of hard work, and do ten times what you think is enough.