Author F. Scott Service is so many things to so many people and definitely a source of inspiration for those who’ve had the honor of entertaining him in their personal experience. Personally, I have a huge respect for his person and work as a writer.  In a recent conversation, F. Scott Service, we got a chance to discuss the things that fuel his ambition, something I’m sure you will enjoy.

Warlock Asylum: Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and share some insights about your work with our readers. Please introduce yourself. Who is F. Scott Service?

F. Scott Service: You’re very welcome, I’m happy to be here. Who am I? I’m a guy who loves to write. But along with that, I’ve been a husband, soldier, friend, son, brother, lover, travel bum, gardener, backpacker, bike rider, reader… and probably someone who thinks way too much for his own good.

Warlock Asylum: What inspired you to pursue a career path as an author?

F. Scott Service: Oh, gosh, many things. So many things. And Playing Soldier speaks to this question in depth. But probably the best answer I can give you is that it’s my childhood love. I would say that I started writing when I was ten years old. I discovered my mother’s old manual typewriter one day and pecked out a story on a whim. I wrote a three-page thriller about a psychopath on a murderous rampage. Of course, it wasn’t really any good. Silly, actually.

But at the time, I was so proud of myself and got a real rush out of writing it, my mind alive with imagery, dialogue, just the sheer thrill of creation. Life took me in many different directions after that, as it seems to do with a lot of us until I finally settled down to write professionally. But I fell in love with writing and imagination as a child… and here we are.

Warlock Asylum: What were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome in order to make your career as a writer prosper?

F. Scott Service: I think it would be safe to say that I’m still a starving artist. But that’s okay. What’s more important is that I’m doing what I love in this life. Nothing can take that away. I’ve often said that if I end up living under a bridge with my pen and paper, still, in some form or fashion, putting out books that matter, that move people in a positive way, that touch their hearts, then I’m doing my job and I can live with that. I love what I do and when I pull in my last breath I will always be able to say, “I did,” instead of, “I should have.” Life is a blink. So I’m doing what I want with it.

Warlock Asylum: Along with your personal drive and ambition, what steps did you take to educate yourself in order to achieve your maximum potential?

F. Scott Service: I have to be honest. Over the years, I’ve begun to move away from institutional learning as a primary means of education. Going to college is great. If that is one’s ambition, hey, go for it. I have a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. But education comes in many forms and I feel that some of the best avenues come with experience, exploring life, reading diversely, traveling, being open to learning from people who we may or may not agree with, schooling yourself with their culture and heritage. Personal growth, I feel anyway, is probably one of the best ways to realize potential… understanding yourself and to be a student of the world around you, this rich planet with all its living history.

Warlock Asylum: As a former Marine, I am fascinated by your book “Lines in the Sand: An American Soldier’s Personal Journey in Iraq.” How did this work come into existence?

F. Scott Service: Interesting question. I guess the best way I can put it is that Lines in the Sand was accidentally deliberate. By that I mean, I didn’t intend to write a book, per se, when I was scribbling in my journals during my tour of duty. They were for posterity more than anything else. I wanted something to look back on when I got older, a record of something that I knew would be life changing in many ways. That proved to be true, but surprising in terms of what I didn’t expect to transpire and how my emotions would evolve.

It took a long time, years in fact, for me to open them again when the war was over for me. And it was mainly curiosity that compelled me to read through them… a certain sense of inquisitiveness of who that person was since I had tried very hard to forget Iraq. But it dawned on me when reading them that I actually had a decent story within those pages, so I set about transcribing them. Turns out, that was the launching pad for what I do today. Life is full of these strange, little twists.

Warlock Asylum: In regard to “Lines in the Sand,” how did the process of getting this book published affect your psyche?

F. Scott Service: Well, first of all, I didn’t realize when I was transcribing them, not until much later when I had a finished draft, that writing Lines was not only cathartic but therapeutic. It was difficult writing because I had to relive a lot of stuff I didn’t want to… in my mind. But I learned that facing those events, the extreme trauma of that time, was probably one of the best things I could’ve done for myself, in terms of finding some peace with the war. I was able to finally shake hands with the memories rather than turn away in pain. And publishing it was a big deal. The book biz is difficult and to be honest, I’m not fond of that end of what I do. But in the end, when you have that finished product in your hands, something tangible you can actually flip through, something that represents all your hard work… your life… there really is no greater feeling. It’s inspiring to see that it’s real, that those are your words, your story. I reckon it to an inner flood of satisfaction.

Warlock Asylum: Another book that you have authored titled “Playing Soldier” is also formulated around an autobiographical terrain. Can you share with us a little bit about how this book came into being?

F. Scott Service: The inspiration actually came from Lines in the Sand. When I finished transcribing those handwritten journals into a manuscript I found that it was quite a tome, over 900 pages. Logistically, from a business standpoint, I couldn’t publish a book that size with any reasonable expectation of sales due to production cost. It’s just not pragmatic in today’s publishing world. So, as the saying goes, I was forced to “kill some darlings.” Playing Soldier incorporates some of that previously deleted material. That was the starting point. But it soon ballooned into a much more comprehensive story of my life with Iraq being a character, not the central focus. And I found that it was immensely gratifying because even though Playing Soldier doesn’t focus solely on the war, the two books together bring my Iraq experience to a suitable fruition. There is more I could bring back from the cuttings of Lines, perhaps in a third book, but for now, I’m content with these two books as the odyssey I had originally intended to tell.

Warlock Asylum: What can we expect to hear from F. Scott Service in the near future? How can our readers receive updates on any upcoming projects that you are involved in? Any final thoughts?

F. Scott Service: The near future? Well, you never know what the future will bring, living in the moment is more where I direct my attention. But in that light, I’m currently working on two more books, one of which will be my third memoir. I’m beginning to move away from writing about the war, moving in different directions. This third book revolves more around my life with my best friend, a guy I literally knew since I was in the same crib with him… our parents were long-time friends. He shot himself last year and I feel it’s important to write our story, our story of growing up in America, what that means, and how we both ended up where we did. It will doubtless evolve as I write it.

My website is probably the best way to keep in touch with me. And please, do feel free to reach out anytime. I’m more than happy to talk and answer questions from folks.

Final thoughts. Well, I guess I would say that, if some people are interested in reading my books, please try to look beyond them as just another veteran writing just another war book. As I’ve said, the war is a character more than anything else. A trigger. A catalyst for transformation. But in their hearts, they are stories of learning through living. They’re journey stories exploring how I’ve evolved and how I’ve looked into new ways of presenting myself to the world. What I hope is that they will touch people in a positive way, perhaps shed some insight into other, positive alternatives toward living. Thank you for speaking with me.

F. Scott Services

Publisher: MindStir Media (September 16, 2020)

Memoirs (Books)

Historical Middle East Biographies

Iraq History (Books)


Leave a Reply