Author CG Cooper connects to his time in service through novel-writing

Elizabeth Howe
November 19, 2018 - 11:59 am

Photo courtesy of CG Cooper

Maybe it was Mickey Mouse.  Or Space Mountain.  But best selling author, Marine Corps veteran CG Cooper, discovered his first novel's main character in the strangest place.

"The writing started on a trip to Disney in 2011," said Cooper. "My wife and two kids went to take a nap and — I don't know if it was sparked by the creativity of Disney World or something — but I couldn't get this idea of this guy out my head. I sat down, and two hours later I had some ridiculous number of words. The story just kept spilling out."

A year later, Cooper worked with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing to publish Back to War, the first novel in the Corps Justice series. Today, he's published more than 30.

His novels both pull from and allow Cooper to reconnect with his time in the Marine Corps. As the son of a sailor and a veteran himself, Cooper says military is in his blood — and leaving it was a difficult transition, as it often is. 

"I wanted to be connected again," said Cooper. "You leave and you think you know the world and you come out in the civilian world, and, for some people, it's a jarring experience. I was lucky to have a support system, family, extended family to help me with the transition, but you miss the camaraderie. The military's not perfect, but you miss the guys that you spend all that time with."

Cooper's characters are a conglomeration of his personality and experiences and those of the men and women he served with. 

"It touched on a lot of things I was going through — wanting to remember my time in service, wanting to connect with people who were still in, and really just giving back a little bit to that world that gave me so much."

Cooper now has several published series, but his longest and largest remains the Corps Justice series — the 15th book of the series, A Darker Path, published in June.

"My main series is the Corps Justice Series, and I've got a cast of characters in there that are ongoing," said Cooper. "They've taken on a life of their own. It starts with the first book with a vigilante type of situation — the law isn't taking care of us so we need to take the law into our own hands. It brings that honor and integrity into a gray space. As the series goes along we go international and deal with all kinds of hot spot stuff that you see in the news."

Some of Cooper's other series are spin-offs starring characters from the Corps Justice series. 

"I've got one series on Daniel Briggs who is a Marine sniper from the Corps Justice series," said Cooper. "It's his story about right after he got out of the Marine Corps. He was damaged, he was drinking, he was all these things. So it's very much kind of 'Jack Reacher' going from small town to small own and all the trouble he gets in."

For other veterans looking to write, Cooper has two key pieces of advice. 

"Be honest. And sit down and write," said Cooper. "Sit down and write. A lot of people overthink it, but it's not necessarily a science. Just enjoy the process, and write what you know. Just say it in a way that you would say it. Don't try to be Shakespeare or Tom Clancy — be you."