Readers > Stephen J. Schrader
You might say that my beginnings were fairly common. Born and raised in central Oklahoma. Grew up hunting and fishing. Earned my spending money as a kid delivering papers, mowing yards, hauling hay, chasing stray cattle out of the brush, mortician's assistant, that sort of thing.
I learned to love reading the works of Verne, Wells, Asimov, and Heinlein. By the age of fifteen I'd determined that I wanted to be a writer.
However, I also saw that young writers have a nasty tendency to produce one or two good books, then disappear from the lists. The reason was that they started too soon, their life experience is often too narrow to support a long-term career. Thus, I decided then that I would wait until the age of forty to write my first book, and concentrate on going as far as I could, see as much as possible, and have as much adventure as I possibly could until then.
It was only later that I discovered that the true definition of "adventure" is "someone else in deep shit, far away."
I eventually joined the Army, as a Tactical Radio Operator. This meant that I spent the next several years going from one infantry unit to another. Serving in Europe, Kentucky, and Alaska; spent one summer teaching at West Point, and working with several of our Allies.
Eventually, I got tired of living in the woods, and applied for retraining as an Army Counterintelligence Agent.
Several months' worth of working at supporting Army Covert Operations, (Hey, somebody has to make sure James Bond gets his paycheck on time.) followed by an assignment to Panama.
This was shortly before the situation with Noriega went to hell. I spent the next year-and-a-half having many "adventures." These included being shot at on several occasions, and having a car totaled out from under me.
Eventually, the Army decided that the Panama situation might require a military solution, and started upgrading their capabilities accordingly. Part of this included reactivating the Counterintelligence Analytical Cell within the staff of the U.S. Army South. Here, I was just bent enough to become the acknowledged expert in CI Analysis.
"Just Cause" was followed by stints as an instructor at the U.S. Army Intelligence School, Personnel Security Manager for the U.S. Army MI Officer's Corps, Analyst for the Chief of MI for the U.S. Army, Personnel Security Expert and CI Analyst for the 2d Infantry Division in Korea, and the Special Security Investigator/Manager for the 101st Airborne in Kentucky.
By the time I returned to Kentucky I was starting to slow down. Just too many broken bones, torn this, scarred that, steel parts here and there. The price paid for an "adventurous life."
Upon leaving the service, I was pushing forty and decided to return to my first love. Got a nice 9 to 5 job, and now I've written my first eight books.
Stephen J. Schrader