Interview – John Darling – Code Frostbite

Book Name: Code Frostbite (STORM Volume I)


When Trevor Flashman, a young twenty year old with his whole life ahead of him, learns that his father has died in action while away on a mission, his world quickly comes crashing down. Hours after the funeral, he learns that his father may not have been the person he thought he was, despite their close relationship. Trevor is offered the chance to join STORM, the organization that his father actually worked for, and begins his training. In the process, he uncovers that his father’s Navy SEAL career was a cover for what he actually did, and also discovers that this secret organization has a very disturbing purpose: to eliminate a deadly threat that could wipe out the entire human race. After more digging, Trevor finds out that this threat has been around for centuries and responsible for hundreds of historic disasters, whose truths have been buried under lies, myths and conspiracies. In this new world full of secrets, Trevor tries to fight his way through a rigorous training while making new friends, as well as enemies, in a class made up of hand-picked ex-military personnel just like his father. Will Trevor let his emotions get the best of him when he finally faces the very danger that he has spent months training to fight? Find out in Code Frostbite.


Interview Questions:

What gave you the idea for Code Frostbite?

I actually got the idea for my second book before I came up with the idea for Code Frostbite. Code Frostbite is the first book in my series, and I wanted to create a storyline that took a character from civilian life into the STORM world from a first person point of view. The idea came to me when I was sailing on a containership carrying military cargo to the Middle East. For protection, we took a group of Navy SEALS as a security team when were in hostile waters. One day while I was on the bridge, one of the SEALS expressed how he loved zombie books. I decided to pitch the ideas I had already come up with at the time to see if it would interest him. He immediately loved the idea and offered his services to assist building the backstory of the series, as he wanted the military aspect of it to be completely accurate. He walked me through all of his experiences as a SEAL, from his first day in the Navy all the way up to his most recent mission. He inspired me to give the series a more Special Forces feel and thus, Code Frostbite was born.

What got you into writing in this genre?

I always had a weakness for zombie books, especially ones where the military was involved however, I have been disappointed with several books in this genre. I wanted to bring a different kind of story to light, as well as an entirely different take on the military science fiction genre.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing a little over three years ago. I actually began by writing a romance novel, which I plan on publishing at some point in the future, but I put it aside when I got the idea for the STORM series.

What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?

The writing process is a lengthy, but definitely an enjoyable one for me. Writing has turned out to be a great stress relief for me as well as a nice side job. Most of the time I’m working at my desk and always have at least three or four documents open. I write everything down. Every single idea I get goes either into my phone, on a sticky note or in one of my journals. I’m working on half a dozen different books right now and I’m constantly thinking about them. If I come up with an idea, I have to write it down so I don’t lose it.

Usually I try to write about 500-1,000 words a day. Some days I do get carried away and write more, while I’ve had my fair share of “writer’s block” days where I can barely squeeze out 100. I’ve found that I can write a complete book in 3-4 months. Editing takes another 1-2 months, depending on my time. I was able to complete my first two books while attending USMMA as a Midshipman.

Most of my influences have been from my experiences at the Academy, out at sea traveling the world and my friends and family. Dozens of people have supported my work, and as a result most of those people have been molded into characters for my series.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I take pride in being a very different kind of writer. I believe that my stories and ideas are quite unique and want to keep them that way. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. I believe I’ve evolved in looking for different ways to connect to readers. I started out by writing only topics I was comfortable with and about experiences I had. Now, I’ve branched out and try to incorporate different things in my novels. I’ve had a lot of fun doing research and interviewing people of all backgrounds. Being at the Academy provided me a plethora of people to interview. I got to speak to Midshipman that went to places I didn’t and who were on different career paths than I. It opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the series to go.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

“Keep writing.” Although it’s simple advice, I’ve found a lot of genius behind those two words. Writing has helped me through some tough times in my life and it’s also the reason I’ve had so many great life moments. One of my favorite things in the world is hearing from a satisfied reader. I’ve gotten random emails and phone calls in the middle of the night from people that loved my first book. It gave me so much hope and made me feel great about what I was doing. There’s no greater triumph for me as an author than knowing that I was able to impact someone’s life in a positive manner. That has happened because I followed two simple words; “Keep writing.”

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

At the moment I have only one book published and although I have several others written and will soon be ready to publish, Code Frostbite is the one I am most proud of. It took me two years to write, edit, re-write, edit again and finalize. I believe it symbolizes my own journey through life so far and how I’ve found a way to blaze my own path in a very confusing world. There were several times when I wanted to give up, thought that it wasn’t good enough to release to the world and wanted to delete. I’m proud that I didn’t stop and kept writing even when I had doubts. I’ve found that writing sequels is much easier. It’s just that first wall that I had to get over.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

I’ll pass along the same advice that I was given but with a little extra; “Keep writing and never give up.” Even if you don’t become the next J.K. Rowling, write your story as if you are. Put your heart and soul in your work and give something people can love. If you don’t believe in it, then no one will. And if you do stop writing for a while, that’s ok. But don’t let the dream die. Breaks are fine, but make sure you go back and finish. Once of the best feelings in the world is hitting that final key, sitting back in chair and getting to say the word “Done.”


Bio: I’m a recent graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy and currently serving as a Prevention Officer in the United States Coast Guard. I graduated with a degree in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation and minor in Maritime Security. While I was at the Academy, I had the amazing opportunity to sail on three different merchant ships and got to visit a total of twenty-six countries over the span of a year. I currently live in upstate. When I’m not working, I enjoy writing (obviously), playing ice hockey, refereeing youth hockey games, and spending time with my family, as well as my fantastic girlfriend.