Tag Archives: Christopher Carey

Interview with author C.G. Carey

Please welcome Chris Carey, author of Temporary Problems, to today’s author spotlight on Britbear’s Book Reviews.

Temporary Problems full coverFrom Goodreads:

John Fox has succeeded in a achieving a mundane life, the suburban house, the silver car, and the steady white-collar job. He doesn’t know anything is lacking, until he meets the woman who will be the love of his life, Sheri. Events conspire to separate the lovers, and in an attempt to avoid returning to the humdrum, John immerses himself in military life and ultimately the war in Afghanistan.

In Operation Herrick, John’s journey takes him from flying on secret Royal Navy helicopter missions, to eventually participating in ground combat operations with American Marines. He finds that war has its own allure of passion, terror, and humor, but at what cost?
Set in contemporary Britain and Afghanistan, Temporary Problems draws parallels between love and war, each having the power to heal and destroy.

Buy Temporary Problems at Black Rose Writing.

Hi, Chris. Wecome back to Britbear’s Book Reviews. Tell the readers–what was your inspiration behind Temporary Problems?

Do you know the saying that there is a book in all of us?  Temporary Problems was the story inside of me.  It’s a cliché answer, but it’s the truth.  The book mirrors my relationships with love and war and how they have both affected me.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read Temporary Problems?

I had written this for broad-spectrum appeal, and I think I came close to achieving that.  Most of the feedback from men and women has been positive but many agree it leans more towards a male audience.  It is written from a man’s perspective.

The story is entertaining enough for light reading, but it also supports the deeper messages.  There is coming of age, love, war, and even a bit of travel around Scotland.  On the military side, it is written from an unusual standpoint.

How much of Temporary Problems is based in reality?

That is very difficult to quantify, it ranges from total fabrication to near word-for-word diary entries. Some of the experiences were not my own, and almost everything in the book has been fictionalised to a greater or lesser degree.

The messages and feelings in the book are real.  Most of the events are based in reality.

There you go, a long and a short answer!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was in first grade, my father inspired me.

If you had to choose, which writer(s) would you consider a mentor? What is the most important lesson(s) you learned from reading his/her writing?

I usually read non-fiction and am not fixated on any particular author in that genre.  Of the fiction that I have read though, Tom Clancy is whom I have read most and so he must have influenced me a bit.  On this project, Bing West did provide some sage advice that I embraced.

I was fortunate to recently read a manuscript by Rodney Page.  That manuscript reminded me of some basic techniques for writing fiction, in particular methods to prevent over narration.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes!  Writing from the female perspective is particularly challenging for me.  I cannot count the number of times my wife laughed out loud at my attempts to write women’s thoughts and dialogue.  Seemingly, I don’t understand women too well.  Luckily I had a lot of much needed assistance with those parts.

How would you describe your writing style?

My wife strained to say, “contemporary, lively, and insightful.”  She’s the smart one.  I would call it rough, ready, and direct.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I have read all of my reviews and have thus far been able to reply to most of them. I am grateful to anybody who has taken the time to read my work and then taken even more time to review it.

At this stage, if somebody asks me a question, I’ll try and answer it, and then thank him or her.  If somebody is positive, I like to thank them.

[With regards to] advice for handling negative reviews?  I try to remember that peoples’ tastes in books are a lot like tastes in food and drink – they are all highly subjective.  Although I want everybody to like my book, some people will not.  Some suggestions I take on board, others I do not.  And then I thank them.

If the reviews are in a forum like Amazon or Goodreads, etc., I look forward to reading them, but unless asked directly by the reviewer to provide a comment, I plan to leave those forums to the readers.  The audience deserves to have their say without me chiming-in.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I can’t think of anything I would never write about, but I would have to find some aspect of it interesting.  I can laugh at most things and that opens up a lot of topics, although the end product may not be what people expect.

What’s your next writing project? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I’ve got a few ideas for my next book project, with two front runners.  I’m either going to write of my great-grandmother’s experiences around the time of the Russian Revolution, or a fast-paced military fiction piece set in the Middle East.

My great-grandma lived a very interesting life, especially early on, and my parents interviewed her in the early 1980s.  It might be my first attempt at a creative-nonfiction/memoir, as her story is incredible.  I may fictionalise it into a novel.  Either way it would also be an incredible challenge for me.  I mean, write a whole book from the female perspective?  Daunting.

I learned from this book where some of my strengths are as a writer.  Writing about the war, although emotionally difficult in places, was creatively easy for me.  The words almost wrote themselves.  I may write to my strengths and blow up Iran, ISIS, or maybe Detroit.

Thanks for the informative interview, Chris. Where can readers learn more about you and your writing?

Webpage | Facebook |

About Christopher Carey:

cgcarey-author-photoC.G. Carey grew up in California and is a lifelong Oakland As fan. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines at 17 as an Infantrymen and later attended university in Scotland. He commissioned into the U.S. Navy where he went on to fly in E-25 off of the Eisenhower, Royal Navy H-35 over Afghanistan, and serve with the U.S. Army in Iraq. His awards include some Air Medals and a Combat Action Badge. He retired to Virginia.

The OIF/OEF Diner’s Guide

Britbear’s Book Reviews welcomes fellow Black Rose Writing author CG Carey, and his book, Temporary Problems, for today’s guest post, The OIF/OEF Diner’s Guide.

Temporary Problems full cover

From the back cover:

John Fox has succeeded in achieving a mundane life, the suburban house, the silver car, and the steady white-collar job. He doesn’t know anything is lacking, until he meets the love of his life. Events conspire to separate the lovers, and in an attempt to avoid returning to the humdrum John immerses himself in military life and ultimately the war in Afghanistan.

In OPERATION HERRICK, John’s journey takes him from flying on secret Navy helicopter missions, to eventually participating in ground combat missions with American Marines. He finds that war has its own allure of passion, terror, and humor, but at what cost?

Set in contemporary Britain and Afghanistan, Temporary Problems draws parallels between love and war, each having the power to heal and destroy.

Buy Temporary Problems on Amazon and Black Rose Writing.

The OIF/OEF Diner’s Guide

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and then up again, I felt obliged to put together a diner’s guide to reminisce.  Who knows, maybe those who feed the troops in the future will incorporate some of the highpoints?

I’ve not included anything smaller than the Forward Operating Base level, as the food supplied anywhere smaller would likely have been delivered from a F.O.B., or would have been field rations/MREs.  Not to mention that the ambience at such locations was often marked by burning feces, near constant automatic weapons fire, and various forms of fireworks provided by the local population and their foreign visitors.  In other words, they sucked too bad to be mentioned.

Worst to Best

Camp Buehring, Kuwait

There were up to three dining facilities (DFACs) on Buehring and they all sucked.  The largest and fanciest of the three was the worst.  This was a small training base, and the only location on the list to give me food poisoning.  If you find yourself at Buehring, stick to Subway.  No stars.

U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Pasta without sauce, and sauce without pasta; who cares as long as the suckers keep paying their mess bills, right? Ham sandwiches every day – yes, every day for aviators.  My squadron saved the sandwiches up and used them for an eating competition. There were no winners.  Adding insult to injury was that we had to pay for that crap they called food.  Once on that tub, you are screwed as there are no other options.  Your best bet is to steal cereal at breakfast, and eat it every meal day, every day.  If you’re flying, pray to divert someplace – any place.  Walk on fat because you’re going to get skinny.  No stars.

Camp Bastion Cookhouses – All, Afghanistan

From the island that gave the world haggis, Britain felt obliged to again display its culinary ineptitude to its former colonials.  At no point should roast turkey breast have air bubbles running through it.  Bizarrely, they managed to do just that and it tasted as strange as it looked.  Whoever was running the place also had a sense of humor, as there was signs posted everywhere reminding people not to sneak out any food.  Don’t worry mate, it was everything in me just to get through the door – your chow’s safe.  It was often loud and never failed to disappoint.  One star.

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

This was one of the fancier DFACs.  It was also over crowded and the food tasted like crap.  If you could get a seat, you would regret having waited in line to eat a marginally better meal than you received at Bastion.  Still, it was better than Bastion, and was pretty flash with neon signs and flat screens.  One and a half stars.

Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan

Maybe I had set my hopes too high?  Maybe I had consistently selected the wrong options?  Maybe it was just shit?  It was always quiet when I visited though and the contractors all wore white shirts with black bowties.  Although the food sucked, the quiet and absurdity of seeing those bowties in Helmand scores Dwyer a solid two stars.

Victory Base Complex – All, Iraq

I don’t remember all the names of all the DFACs on Liberty, Slayer, and Victory, etc. but as a rule, the food was mediocre and the atmosphere loud.  Sometimes they served wings, and some clown thought it was appropriate to shout, literally shout, about those wings non-stop.  I still fanaticize about his violent demise.  Two and a half stars.

Ali Al Salem, Kuwait

This DFAC was run by the Air Force, and you could tell.  The food was much better than Buehring, but it still sucked.  It was so flash inside though, wow!  Lights, neon, flat-screens, tiles, plates and silverware! Three stars.

C.O.B. Speicher, Iraq

This place was nice, big, clean, and reasonably quiet.  It showed the signs of quality suffering from too many mouths to feed.  The food was notably better than anything in Kuwait and VBC, and it was quieter too.  Nowhere near as flash as Ali Al Salem or Arifjan, but much flasher than the top three on this list.  Three and a half stars for only being mildly disappointing.

Flight Line DFAC Camp Bastion, Afghanistan

This was like your local dive.  It was not particularly clean, it could get busy, and the air-conditioning struggled to cope a lot of the time.  All that being said, it was pretty quiet, and was far superior to its closest competition, the Bastion cookhouses.  They also often had Gatorade and fake beers.  I usually liked what these guys fed me, and that they were open when other DFACs were closed.  Four stars for good food, staying open, and being quiet.

Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

Maybe this rank has been inflated because the Brit cookhouses sucked so badly, but when looked at objectively, it has to score highly.  It had identical quality food as the Flight Line DFAC.  Although housed in giant tents, it still gave the illusion of cleanliness and space.  It was often very busy, but usually quiet when I went.  It also was a bit more flash with better air-conditioning than the Flight Line DFAC.  Four and a half stars.

F.O.B. Summerall, Iraq

This place was not flash, but had the benefit of being in a permanent-ish building.  There were a few flat screen T.V.s.  This place was always quiet.  If guys spoke, it was at a near whisper.  The food was the best I’ve had on deployment.  The quality was helped by the fact that there were not very many people on the F.O.B.  It’s just as well the food was decent, as there were no other options except MREs or braving something from the locals out in Bayji.  Every Friday was stir-fry night, and you could count your stir-fry nights until leaving.  Five stars.

Summary

As a rule, the food we received in a combat zone was vastly superior to what we normally were/are subjected to back at home by our respective militaries, this is certainly the case for U.S. and U.K. forces.  I wonder what ISIS thinks of all the DFACs we left behind?

Did [I] miss your favorite DFAC?  Did you run into one worse than at Camp Buering?  Maybe you were poisoned at multiple locations?  Please feel free to add your stories and rankings in the comments below.

cgcarey-author-photo

About Christopher Carey:

C.G. Carey grew up in California and is a lifelong Oakland As fan. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines at 17 as an Infantrymen and later attended university in Scotland. He commissioned into the U.S. Navy where he went on to fly in E-25 off of the Eisenhower, Royal Navy H-35 over Afghanistan, and serve with the U.S. Army in Iraq. His awards include some Air Medals and a Combat Action Badge. He retired to Virginia.

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