The Debutante Ball welcomes Bob Mayer (+book giveaway!)

We are delighted to welcome Bob Mayer to take a twirl at The Debutante Ball. Actually, we felt a little weird asking him to twirl, and we refrained from asking him to don the tiara and gloves. He is a former Green Beret, after all.

New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer has over 40 books published. He has been published in many genres, including thriller, science fiction, suspense, romance and non-fiction. He has appeared on PBS, NPR and the Discovery Channel and in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and Army Times as an expert consultant. He has over three million books in print and is in demand as a team-building, life-change, and leadership speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way concepts and Warrior-Writer. You can find him online at or at

Bob agreed to take The Deb Interview and had some brilliant things to say about publishing, promotion, and why he’d like to be his dog. Make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win one of two fabulous books!

Take it away, Bob!

Talk about one book that made an impact on you.

When I took command of my Green Beret A-Team my commander gave me a copy of the book: Bodyguard of Lies. It was the history of covert operations during World War II. What struck me was how ruthless and brutal it was. Especially the story of Noor Khan and the speculation she was parachuted into a network they knew had been taken over by the Gestapo to give up false information she believed to be true during torture. It taught me to always be paranoid in covert operations. I feature the story in Who Dares Wins as ‘The Woman Who Was’ as opposed to the story of ‘The Man Who Never Was’, which I also feature as an example in the book of a blood lesson. I believe examples where people died tend to stick in readers’ minds.

Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?

Augustus McRae from Lonesome Dove. Thus I have Cool Gus, my yellow lab, who ran off today to the ocean with Sassy Becca. They came back dripping wet and covered in sand, but quite happy.

What time of day do you love best?

I’m a morning person. I get my best work done before lunch.

Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.

If I shared it, I’d have to kill you and put your head in a safe. Joking. I don’t write military thrillers anymore because I’m too close to the subject matter. They say write what you know, but you can know some things too well.

Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel – something that’s not even in your book.

Primary motivators are key. My current WIP is historical fiction. I have two main characters. For one, who appears to be noble and a hero, his primary motivator is guilt. His ‘son’ eventually realizes this and it’s why they have distance between them. For my other character, the boy’s true father, his primary motivator is desiring redemption. I believe being able to give every major character’s true primary motivation in one word is very helpful in making them real and consistent.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Perseverance counts more than talent. That’s a tenet of Warrior Writer. Writing a good book is just very, very, hard work.

Which animal would you like to be, and why?

Cool Gus. It’s a dog’s life and he’s a very pampered dog.

What are the hardest and easiest things about your job?

Hardest: writing. Easiest: Being an author.

What’s your next big thing? (new book, new project, etc.)

My historical fiction. Touched By Fire: West Point to Shiloh is the tentative title. I’m launching a new series. The first book begins at West Point in 1840 and goes to the battle of Shiloh. Then the rest of the books go on from there. I’m very, very excited about these books. If you’ve seen the mini-series Rome, I’m doing the same thing, where my two main fictional characters influence history in epic proportions.

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?

The best job was Special Forces A-Team leader. Working with 11 highly skilled, highly motivated and highly trained people on extremely dangerous missions around the world is something most people can’t even imagine.

You write in so many genres, from sci-fi to romance to non-fiction to suspense. What’s the most challenging thing about that?

Author Cherry Adair said something last year I have finally heeded. Write one genre and become very good at it. I’ve settled on historical fiction as my passion.

What do you believe is the biggest change in publishing in the 15+ years you’ve been writing?

eBooks. To the point where I’ve started Who Dares Wins Publishing. I think the next three years are going to see more change than most people anticipate. I believe it’s a great time to be an author, but you have to educate yourself and work very hard at both the writing and the business end. We’ve designed our entire Write It Forward campaign to educate authors about the changes that are coming; much faster that pretty much anyone anticipates.

Deb Tawna adores your romantic comedy collaborations with author Jennifer Crusie (who also took a twirl here at the ball). What’s the best thing about that partnership?

I learned so much. We both brought a lot to the table. Jenny learned that characters can actually go outdoors. I learned about how to layer characters and much more. Working with such a talented writer is a great experience.

How is social media like Twitter and Facebook and blogging changing the game for authors?

So much that the first book we put out at Who Dares Wins Publishing beyond my backlist was: We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by author Kristen Lamb. The point made in the book right away is to focus on content rather than the medium. 95% of authors are wasting time on social media because they didn’t plan their content and have a plan. I think it’s a great opportunity, but, like everything else, you have to do it right.

I recently did a blog post on Write It Forward about the Three P’s: Platform, Product, Promotion. Authors have to look at all three and work very hard at all three. Each area can be improved with work and they all feed off each other.

The future is limitless for authors as long as they are aware and work hard.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Bob! It was fabulous having you here, even without the tiara.

As for the rest of you, want to win some amazing books from a guy who obviously knows a thing or two about making a career as an author? We’ve got two (count ’em TWO) great eBooks to give away. The first is Bob Mayer’s The Novel Writer’s Toolkit: A Guide to Writing Great Fiction and Getting it Published. It’s jam-packed with great tips for writers. We also have a copy of Warrior Writer: From Writer to Published Author for a second lucky winner. Want one? Just leave a comment and let us know if you have a preference between the two. We’ll choose winners on Friday, December 3 and will post them on the site Sunday, December 5. Good luck, and happy writing!

18 Replies to “The Debutante Ball welcomes Bob Mayer (+book giveaway!)”

  1. In my best spinster hen voice from the Looney Tunes cartoons: “LAND SAKES IT’S A MAAANNNN!”

    Personally, I think a Green Beret could pull of the tiara with aplomb – who the heck is going to hassle him? Navy Seals are better suited to the gloves, the tiara completes with the goggles.

    Great interview and thank you, Bob. Good luck to everyone who enters the contest.

    Deb Kim

  2. Love this interview! Is this the 2010-2011 Deb class’s first male guest blogger? Feels like there should be a parade or something!


  3. I agree that sometimes non-authors say “write what you know” too often and sometimes we can be too close to a subject to write about it. The other argument I like for that one is “who actually knows a vampire?” or “Who has flown in a spaceship to Mars?” Without imagination, we would have some pretty limited subject matter/genres to choose from.

    I believe that “write what you know” actually applies more to the universally recognized, like emotions: fear, suspense, anticipation, joy, etc. When we can make our readers feel those emotions from what we’ve written, when we’ve struck a nerve, the reader will want to choose our books again and again. (That’s what I hope anyway!)

    And as for the diamond tiara? I’d trust mine with Bob Mayer. Who better to guard those E color, VVS1, one carat plus, emerald and princess cut diamonds on my tiara? LOL!

  4. Bob is great in person too (2008 Pikes Peak Conference). His emphasis on conflict really helped me focus my writing and ensure every scene had something worth saying.

  5. Hey, what fun to come here and see a guy! Great interview. I agree about perseverance being the most essential attribute for an aspiring writer, which is why I’m busy persevering my rear end off. 😉

    Touched By Fire sounds like it’ll be a fantastic read–something that will appeal to both me and my husband. Do you know yet when it will be released?

  6. I loved this interview!

    I especially appreciate the advice (attributed to Cherry Adair) “Write one genre and become very good at it.” Although I believe I am a better writer for having exploring various genres, I have come to realize that there is a certain style of story I absolutely feel compelled to write: serious fiction on the darker side…

    I’d love to have either book.

  7. I have both books already, so leave my name out of the hat. Just wanted to verify that both books are valuable to writers. Suddenly there’s a picture in my mind of some gal in a 1940’s movie crying hysterically (scripts were almost all written by men) until the noir-y detective slaps her back to reality. That’s kind of how I feel about these books. Not sweet, but good at helping a writer get back on her feet and headed out of the forest.

    Nice blog, BTW. Love the premise and the personality. 🙂

  8. Thanks for all the comments. The manuscript is currently with my agent getting read this weekend. So by next week I’ll know whether we’re moving forward or it’s time for plan B. Publishing is a strange business and getting stranger by the day. I’m currently writing a blog for Write It Forward about the changing roles of agents and some of my thoughts on what will happen there and what should happen, not necessarily the same things. This follows blogs on publishers, bookstores, etc. Change is coming exponentially, not linearly.

  9. Bob, I have to admit I was unfamiliar with your work, but I know from Deb Tawna’s shrieks of glee that we’d all be in for a major treat. I was blown away by this interview. Not only does your new book series sound like a must-read, but your advice on both writing and the business of writing is dead on. I’ll be following your blog from now on, and I’m eager to dive into your backlist. (Hmmm, that sounded too dirty to say to a Green Beret.)

    Thanks for spinning at the Ball!!!!

  10. Hi everyone! Great interview today.

    I took Bob & Jenny’s online workshop a few years ago and it was
    a tremendous learning experience. I’d enjoy either book.

  11. Hi
    I enjoyed the interview. There were some great takeaways in it for me. I am currently enjoying Bob and Jennies latest collaboration. Great to see how two writers are working together…
    I’d enjoy either book by Bob


  12. Great interview. I love the idea of Civil War era historical fiction, a genre I could see myself settling into one day.. (Civil War or otherwise) My concern about such a project is that I probably wouldn’t be able to resist to the temptation of having my hero build the first fighter plane out of toothpicks and sardine cans, or maybe smuggle in a T34 tank through a wormhole he found in General Grant’s liquor cabinet. Historical SCIENCE fiction, what fun.

    As you can see, I could clearly benefit from either book.

  13. Great Interview, thank you for posting.
    Historical fiction, possibly the most challenging genre . . .

    I’d enjoy either book I’m sure, but something tells me I need my own copy of Warrior Writer.

  14. One of the best things about a social network is the exposure it gives me to new writers or writers I have not yet discovered. I’m excited to get my hands on Bob Mayer’s books!

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