My guest today shares a military history with my hubby, both former officers of the US Army. Please help me welcome author Ron Scott to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at his background and then find out more about his new novel.
Ron Scott is a retired Army Major. He served twenty years of active military service, first as a Navy surgical technician stationed with a Marine detachment aboard the U.S.S. Holland in Rota, Spain during the Vietnam War, then as an Army physical therapist, and later, as a JAG Corps criminal defense attorney. His wife of 48 years, María Josefa Scott-Barba Garcés, was born in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain, across the bay from the ancient Phoenician city of Cádiz.
Ron is currently a university professor, teaching ethics and jurisprudence. He has authored 14 textbooks addressing health care ethicolegal and patient care documentation issues, medical Spanish, and careers in health care. Privileges and Immunities (2021) is Ron’s first novel (published in English and Spanish).
Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?
Ron: My inspiration to write this novel was my assignment as an Army criminal defense attorney stationed in Frankfurt, Germany in 1986-87. The political geography of the time is 100% factual; the characters and their plights are based on people, clients and things I observed while on that assignment.
Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?
Ron: Zara, attorney Bryan’s wife, an Arab woman of color, who inspires her husband and nearly everyone she comes in contact with.
Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?
Ron: The idea for this story was sparked by my legal clerk, Karen, who wrote the Forward; Elena Kusky, my co-defense counsel; my many defense clients; and most of all, my wife, Pepi, who is the real-life alter ego of the character Zara. Pepi is even from the same town (Cádiz, Spain) that Zara came from.
Betty: Which character(s) were the hardest to get to know?
Ron: Colonel Reggie is the most complex and difficult character to really know, until the very end of the novel. Reggie is so bound to adherence to rigid military rules and structure, that his true character remains a mystery to everyone he interacts with.
Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?
Ron: While I had to update geographical refences, such as towns and cities, restaurants, and the like, everything else is based on real-life events I experienced as an Army attorney in Germany.
Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?
Ron: One draft. The novel had been in my head since 1987 when I left Germany for the States.
Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us?
Ron: Eighteen months, all done during the Covid pandemic.
Betty: Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?
Ron: All of the rest of my 17 books are texts and references, addressing health law, ethics, medical Spanish, and similar topics. I wrote all of them in shorter timeframes.
I really wanted to get the facts, pace and denouement of my first novel right, so it took longer. Against the advice of my editor, I even multi-tasked between Privileges and Immunities and its sequel, which should be completed this calendar year.
Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?
Ron: I wake up between 5 and 6 a.m., make a pot of coffee, sit down at my computer; and write, almost every day. I don’t believe in writer’s block, or at least, I’ve never experienced it. I have all my writing projects in progress or ready to write and am just in a race with time to complete them all in my lifetime.
Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?
Ron: None that I can think of.
Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?
Ron: Yes, my wife, Pepi, and our two sons, Paul (a master math teacher at a college prep school) and Ron, Jr., and Austin-based songwriter (“Liars”). These three gentle people, and my grandchildren and daughter-in-law Amanda, boost my spirit and give me the impetus to be a better person.
Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?
Ron: All in my overcrowded home office. I share the small space with 10 guitars, Beatles and other memorabilia, and my book and record collections.
Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?
Ron: Yes. I am, and have been, a university professor since 1985, first with Boston University’s Heidelberg, Germany campus while I was in the military. I’m still teaching fulltime at age 70.
Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?
Ron: Two books that I’ve written: this first novel, Privileges and Immunities, and Promoting Legal and Ethical Awareness: A Primer for Healthcare Professionals and Patients.
Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?
Ron: Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World (1932). Since I first read Huxley’s novel in 10th grade, it has been my favorite fictional book. I love it so much that I acquired and treasure my signed copy of the first edition.
Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?
Ron: My success comes from relating an important story to others and inspiring them to reciprocate and succeed.
Two Army couples stationed in Frankfurt, Germany in 1984-1985 – Roger, a combat company commander; Bryan, an Army criminal defense attorney; Zoey, Roger’s spouse, a bartender from Pittsburgh who knew Bryan while he attended law school; and Zara, Bryan’s wife, a Moroccan jazz bassist, who met Bryan at Le Chat Noir in Paris.
Both wives, sexual firecrackers. One fervently loyal to her husband; the other, fervently bending rules to their breaking points.
Zoey’s dark obsessions cause her to forfeit her life at the hands of an assailant she trusts. The quest for justice and the adherence to dying wishes in Zoey’s diary led to fulfilment for some but cost three more lives by their achievement.
This murder mystery is reserved for adults, age 18 or better, s’il vous plait.
Buy Links: Amazon
Something else we have in common is a character named Reggie! They are very different men, though. Mine is the father in my Fury Falls Inn series, but he doesn’t make an appearance until the last book in the series. So he’s more a mention than on stage like Ron’s character.
Thanks, Ron, for sharing your story and your writing process and motivation with us. I appreciate your time and wish you all the best with your writing!
Happy reading, everyone!
Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories
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