Guest Interview with S.S.Hampton, Sr.

Please give a warm welcome to author S.S. Hampton, Sr.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

What is The Gates of Moses about?

Venice is sinking. A powerful storm coming in from the Adriatic Sea will prove to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. An engineer who attempted to save Venice failed, and though he evacuates his staff, he remains. He hasn’t told anyone that many years before during a visit to Venice, a succubus claimed him for her lover. One member of his staff suspects the truth, and she slips back into Venice to confront the succubus, to free him before the stormy sea breaks the sea wall and submerges the city forever.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’ve always wanted to visit Venice. I’ve read how much of the coast along the northern Adriatic Sea is actually sinking, and rising sea levels from global warming, is putting Venice at risk. I think the image of such a beautiful city sinking beneath the sea is a powerful one. Throw in a dash of the Atlantis myth, and a pinch of legends about succubi, and it all came together. Along with some extensive plotting and re-plotting.

Describe your writing in three words.

Speculative. Dramatic. Paranormal.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

No. I develop the plot, and though it’s not written in stone, I generally follow it unless something in the story compels me to change course.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

No. Never have. I may borrow a trait or two, but that’s about it. My service in the Army National Guard, along with a deployment in 2006-2007 during which a Soldier from my unit was Killed In Action, and several were Wounded In Action, has left me with a certain, “attitude.” I tend to write a lot of military fiction, especially after my deployment. If I were to base a character on someone I know, and I wrote that the character was killed, or suffered horrific injuries, I would feel like I’ve cursed the real person to such a fate. I’m not superstitious, if that’s the word to use, but for that reason I won’t base any character on someone I know.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

No. I haven’t written a series yet where a character keeps appearing, but when I do I’ll have no problem with that because sometimes that has to happen.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

For the part of Dr. Gregorio Romano, the engineer, I’d choose Channing Tatum (The Eagle). He’s a bit young for the character I envision, but hey, it’s a film. For the role of his staff member, Patrizia Celentano, who returns for him, I’d choose Erin Kelly (Loving Annabelle), or Leelee Sobieski (numerous film roles). And for the role of the succubus Alessandra Lombardi, I’d choose Virginia Madsen (numerous film roles) or Monica Bellucci (numerous film roles).

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

No one. I’m not a member of a writing club, and I suspect family and friends would tell me that my story is great—even before I start editing it. I know it’s not great. So, I edit the manuscript until I believe it’s ready, then I submit it to the publisher.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Ahhh, I don’t remember. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What projects are you working on now?

Fiction-wise, there’s a story about a haunted German Tiger tank in the Afrikakorps during World War II. There’s several stories about December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and the world, according to some believers. A story about zombies. And I’m preparing for an initial foray into the Cthulhu Mythos (H.P. Lovecraft is one of my favourite authors). I like writing horror stories. I guess that as long as it isn’t real, a lot of us secretly enjoy the sudden “jump” when “something goes bump in the night.” And I like combining horror, or the paranormal, with military fiction. Somehow, to me, the two just go together. After all, it seems like there’s plenty of “true” stories about haunted battlefields. Anyway, on a non-fiction level, I’m getting my website up and running to showcase excerpts from my stories, along with story covers, and to post photographs (I’m also a photographer). I’m also trying to raise funds so I can conduct a PTSD research project here in Las Vegas, and up in South Dakota, for my final anthropology class.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Only that I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my stories, and you thought it was time well spent. And I truly appreciate your interest. Thank you.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

Dark Opus Press

Edge SF

Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing

Ravenous Romance

An engineer dedicated to saving Venice from the rising seas, fails in his task. As a severe storm and high tides threaten to burst through the flood walls, he resolves to remain in Venice with a ghostly lover who claimed his heart years before. A woman from his staff who loves him, does not evacuate, but remains to battle his ghostly lover before he dies in a sinking Venice…

The dull booms, like the measured beats of a primeval heart, echoed through the gray drizzling afternoon. Each boom was a countdown to a finely predicted cataclysm that man, through his mistaken notion that he could control nature, had finally admitted that he was powerless to hold back.

Dr. Gregorio Romano, tall, with dark brown hair and watchful hazel eyes, stood before the open tall narrow window of his corner office in the ornate, gilded Ducal Palace of the once La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, and peered into the gray drizzle toward the unseen barrier islands. The almost submerged islands of Lido and Pellestrina, with their channels opening onto the Adriatic Sea, formed the southeastern perimeter of the timeless Venetian lagoon. He listened to the echoing booms of the rising, stormy Adriatic, and thought of a mythical, prehistoric mother who gave birth to an imaginative species that dreamed of the impossible and often made it happen. And now the mother was ready to take back one of the greatest dreams of her children, ready to clasp it deep within her bosom.


“Yes,” he replied as he gazed at the gray choppy waters of the lagoon.

“Have you reconsidered? Are you ready to evacuate?”

“Not yet.” Gregorio tilted his head slightly as a sleek dark gondola glided effortlessly across frothy, white-capped waters and halted before the flooded wharf, the Riva degli Schiavoni, in front of the Palace.

Patrizia Celentano, the first and last female gondolier of Venice, looked up at him and gave a friendly wave. He raised a hand in return. Her gondola was a traditionally built and shaped boat, but rather than the traditional black as required by law, she painted it a dark wine color. Though she offered to erect a shelter to protect Gregorio from the elements, he always preferred to ride in the open.

“We can evacuate you by force if necessary.”

“You won’t,” Gregorio smiled as he turned to face his computer on the polished wooden desk. The broad, bearded face of his boss, Dr. Niccolo Ricci, nodded in agreement. “There’s no need, and a helicopter is scheduled to pick me up from the roof of my home tomorrow morning at 0600 hours.”

“The calculations might be incorrect. The gates could break tonight…”

“The Gates of Moses.” Melange Books, August 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-61235-440-8

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004. He was mobilized for active duty for almost three years. He continues to serve in the Guard, where he holds the rank of staff sergeant. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. He has wanted to be a writer since he was 15 years old. His first short story was published in 1992, and it wasn’t until 2001 that he had another short story published. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories, and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Melange Books, Musa Publishing,

A big thank you to SS Hampton, Sr. for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure. 🙂

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