In Scott’s words: “It is a romantic love story and thriller that is set in post 9/11 Afghanistan. Teams of Special Forces (Green Berets) were deployed to link up with Afghan freedom fighters who were fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban after the 9/11 strikes on US soil. The Taliban have taken Shararah, an Afghan nurse, and will execute her for being seen speaking to one of the Americans. The American, Special Forces medic, Ron Hawkins, comes to her rescue and they escape through the Hindu Kush Mountains, hiding in a secluded cave. Together, they develop a mutual respect for each other, quickly followed by romantic gestures, and finally an undeniable love for each other. Will they and their new-found love survive within the House of War?”
Scott Meehan is a retired Army Major. Al M. Scott is his pen name for fictional works. He served in the Army from 1980 to 2005 as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer. He married Trena Denise Bass in 1981, after meeting her in the Amazon jungle where she was doing mission work. They have a 32 year-old son, and 30 year-old daughter who is married to an infantry soldier. Their 3 year-old grandson is named Jaden. They live in Orlando, Florida, and besides writing, Scott teaches a variety of computer courses at local colleges.
What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor? I am currently working on the sequel to “Love in the House of War,” called, “A Flame in Paradise,” but I cannot say too much about it because mentioning any of the characters could spoil “Love in the House of War’s” dramatic conclusion. I will say that the story’s setting jumps forward to present day, 2014 and includes characters (many of the same) and scenes from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as well as the Kurds stand against ISIS is northern Iraq. A third novel, “Asha,” in this series is planned as well.
Otherwise, I have two completed novels (not yet published), and three non-fiction works in the planning stages.
Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel? There are several favorites for audiences of all genres. The following is for the romantic Christian:
As the sun sank below the ridge to the west, they packed up their gear to begin their move across the mountainside. The landscape darkened rapidly, with the amber-tinted river below slipping into blackness. The distant hills revealed scattering gleams of campfires. They left the area; Shara leading the way. As the two of them moved along at a steady pace, Ron thought of and old hymn that came to mind from his younger days as a kid in church, back in Elizabethton, Tennessee. He began humming softly, the song, Rock of Ages, cleft for me.
Shara stopped to listen. “That is nice. What is the song?”
“Rock of Ages.”
“It is a popular song in America?”
“Not really. Only in church, when we sing it on Sundays. It is an old song.”
“What are the words?”
“I only remember, Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.”
“You said from church. The rock is Jesus?”
“Yes, Jesus. That is what the church calls him today. The real name is actually ‘Yahushua,’ which means ‘God-saves,’ in Hebrew.”
“You believe that he is still alive?”
“Yes. Yes I do. He is alive. He is the living water. God raised him from the dead. We believe in the resurrection.” Ron took a sip from his CamelBak. “And I try to live like he is alive in me.”
Shara thought for a moment and then walked up to Ron. Standing in front of him, she stared into his eyes and held out her hand. “I’d like some, too, please.”
“Yes, of course. Water. You have the living water, yes?” Ron held the nozzle up to her lips so she could drink. She lifted her right hand to hold the nozzle with him, placing it directly on top of his. With her left hand, she held on to his extended wrist. As she drank the water, her head tilted downwards, her eyes looking up into his as she stared into them until she finished drinking. “Thank you. Very refreshing.”
Ron still held the nozzle in his hand like a statue as she turned around and began walking quickly away. “Wait for me!” Ron called as he quickly regained his composure, placing the nozzle haphazardly back onto the pack and swiftly retrieving his M4 assault rifle.
What was the inspiration for Love in the House of War? I was inspired by a combination of personal experiences with multi-culturalism, military missions, and both fictional and non-fiction books I enjoyed reading.
How did you decide what the title of this book would be? According to one sect of Islam, the world is divided into the House of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the House of War (Dar al-harb). Dar al-Islam consists of all the lands in which a Muslim government rules and the “Holy Law of Islam” prevails. The outside world, which has not yet been subjugated, is called the “House of War,” and strictly speaking a perpetual state of jihad, of holy war, is imposed by the law.
Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? More of a pantser because I’m always thinking of scenes in my head even before going to sleep at night or other sporadic moments. I only come close to being a plotter when I need to jot these thoughts down quickly (not in outline format though) until I can get behind a computer to develop the scene.
What made you decide to become an author? Initially, I wanted to write about my personal experiences (which I did in, “Stone in a Sling”) because so many of them were so extraordinary. Then, as I continued experiencing the phenomenal and hearing other stories from friends with the same background, stories started developing in my mind, many of which pull in the events and trends of today. I also have an inner motivation to get a message across a diverse audience.
In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character? Tell us why. The Afghan girl, Shararah, is my favorite character because of her resilience against hardship, her dreams for a paradise, and her devotion to what she loves as she emerges victoriously against all odds. She epitomizes all of the oppressed of the world who cling onto hope until they finally realize their dreams.
Do you set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book[s]? I wish I did, unfortunately, I have too many other irons in the fire.
What are you favorite books that you’ve read? Tell us one or two. I always enjoy reading the Bible on a daily basis, especially from the book of Psalms. The last book that I just finished this past week was Ian Fleming’s, “From Russia with Love,” an old 007 James Bond book with intrigue and romance. The ending shocked me and was nothing like the movie.
What is your favorite writing environment and/or accessories? Complete quiet isolation in terms of people. I will at times choose certain music, depending on my mood.
To Connect with Al M. Scott (Scott Meehan)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/AllanScottMee