Pitch Madness #13 – William Alan Webb and “Standing The Final Watch: Book One of The Last Brigade”

1. Let's hear your pitch.
When Nick Angriff’s family is slaughtered in a terrorist attack, leaving no loved ones to miss or mourn him, he agrees to command Operation Overtime, an elite military unit stored in suspended animation against the possibility of national collapse.
He awakens sixty years later to find the United States government destroyed and a bizarre religious sect enslaving the survivors. Resurrecting America becomes Angriff’s sacred duty.
To save others, however, he must first stay alive. Angriff discovers two extremist factions of the dead U.S.A. infesting his brigade, still fighting old battles, and he’s in the cross-hairs of both.
His choice is stark: dig out threats within Operation Overtime first, risking the death of innocents, or face assassination to fulfill his mission and end the slavery and slaughter.

2. If you were querying me, what would the teaser of your book be?
Hidden content goes here

3. Who is your target audience? What genre is your book?
SF Adult

4. How did this story come about? Who or what inspired you/this story?
There was a scene that has been playing itself over and over in my head for years. A group of people trapped on a rocky outcropping, about to be killed, when a helicopter gunship shows up from nowhere and saves them. I have no idea where THAT came from, but eventually it annoyed me so badly that I wrote it down, the first fiction I’ve written in 30 years.

5. Is this your first book?
No, not my first. I finished a fantasy novel in 1987, even got a high-powered agent and everything. She got me personalized rejections from every major house, critiques and suggestions, including a hand-written note from Judy Lyn Del Rey herself, but it still didn’t sell. Rats. I’ve been working on a World War two book for 7 years, pretty specialized stuff.

6. Why did you enter #PitchMadness?
Why not? What I need now more than anything is professional feedback and representation. I’m pretty confident in the book itself, and the already finished sequel is flatout kickass.

7. Do you have any past experiences with this story you would like to share?
Hidden content goes here

8. What can we expect from your story in the future, do you have any plans?
Yes, I have very definite plans. I’m a businessman by trade, and if you don’t see writing as a business, then you’re fooling yourself. I drew up a business plan surrounding this book and am executing it as we go. I’m blogging about the process, I call it my journey to 200 No’s. If I reach that point without accepting a Yes, and there have been Two Yesses at this point, then I have a plan what to do next.

9. Can we hear an excerpt?
“A tropical environment, tell me about the conditions.”
“Conditions weren’t too bad to start, sir. We moved in on the third day of the attack and used the Malaysian Air Force’s base in the area. It was near the coast and the salt air was a problem from the get-go. We had to pay special attention to look for corrosion, mostly on contacts, O-rings, rubber gaskets, and in the ordnance pods. Bugs were an issue too. There were clouds of mosquitoes and flies, and they were constantly clogging the filters. Centipedes too, they crawled into everything and if they stung you, you were down for the count. The airfield itself was grade-A. Hard surface, hardened bunkers, good workshops and equipment, it was pretty much the same as flying from one of our own bases. That lasted for about a week. Our birds flew seven to ten sorties every 24 hours, day and night, and it took a toll on the aircraft and crews. Then the jimbangs broke through and we had to second wife it in the pitch dark. It was a real soup sandwich…”
“Jimbangs?”
“Yes, sir, the ISSA foot soldiers. The Malaysians called them ‘jembalangs’, in English that means ‘goblins’. They were ugly fuckers, big noses and chins, they looked like goblins. Somewhere along the way it got changed to ‘jimbangs.’ Some of our older guys called them Ali Babas, burps, ceefees, walfers, all kinds of names, but jimbangs is what stuck.”
“Jimbangs…” Carlos said. “I like that. What was that other one, walfer?”
“Walking fertilizer, sir.”
Carlos smiled. “Go on.”
“Not much else to tell, lieutenant, it was pretty kinetic. We retreated from base to base for the next three weeks until we wound up back at Singapore, where we got evaced to Guam. Most of our combat time was out in the jungle, but the engineers did a thumbs-up job chopping landing zones out of the forest. It rained all the time, there weren’t any spare parts, what else? Once we were grounded because of no fuel, but we hijacked an air force convoy and un-assed it down the coast. That was close, too, the jimbangs were breathing down our backs. We finally had to start cannibalizing the less airworthy birds just to keep the others flying. The attack battalion went into combat with a full load of Apaches, 24. We came out with 3, and those were held together with duct tape. We burned them on the tarmac at Singapore just before wheels up to Guam. We all got Bullwinkle Badges out of it, although nobody gave a shit. We left 7 seven buddies over there, but we should have lost more. Our zoomies were top notch and brought a lot of guys out who should’ve been dead. Is that what you wanted to know, Lieutenant?”
“Zoomies?”
“Rotorheads, Lieutenant. Helicopter pilots?”
“Rotorheads I know, Sergeant. We called jet pilots zoomies.”

10. Have a website or social media platform for your story?
Yes, my twitter account is @jointhebrigade1, and I have a facebook page that’s still in the process. I’ve reserved domain names for the series but haven’t gotten there yet. I’m too busy writing the prequel and the sequel to the sequel.

11. Tell me about the process. I have yet to talk to someone who did war history. Is this based on truth or true recallings or all fiction with a historical setting?
The WW2 book is very much non-fiction. Very specialized. It concerns German Army Group South and the defense of Hungary and Austria in 1945. Not usually best-seller kind of stuff, but hey, I enjoy it.

12. That's quite the collection. Would you say historical novels have become a passion?
Well, not necessarily. My my favorite genres are crime, military SF and well written history non-fiction,

You can connect with William on Twitter @JointheBrigade1