Speaker-Buzz Staff | August 17, 2018
Okay, so he doesn't look exactly like Chuck, but either way, it's always intriguing to hear varying perspectives of individuals who choose to live life intensely. Speaker-Buzz recently interviewed speaker and author of best-selling book "Echo In Ramadi," Scott Huesing; here's what we gleaned from that conversation:
SB: Tell me how you first began writing Echo in Ramadi?
SH: People sometimes ask how long it took me to write the book and I always say, “Eleven years.” That’s how long it took before I started interviewing the Marines and families. It wouldn’t have been the same story if I’d had written it in 2007. All told, it was about a year of writing, edits, and then my agent sold it. That’s when the work really starts. More editing grind, and then you have to learn publicity and marketing on your own to make it successful. To tell the story. No one tells you that part.
SB: How would someone describe you?
SH: As the guy who looks like Chuck Norris (circa, Walker, Texas Ranger)? I don’t let others define me. I describe myself as “selfish,” although I’m not accused of it by what I do. Deep down I think I have to fight the selfish urge consciously—I overtly do that by committing myself to lead others, but I feel it’s rooted in me—many others just won’t admit it. I think there is value in trying to care. Despite this feeling, I think it propels me to always focus on what is more important than myself.
What has surprised you most about working with people?
SH: I’ll talk about veterans and those who support us all day long—they always amaze me. People who I know personally and hundreds whom I’ve never met go out of their way to encourage what I do and genuinely care. I surround myself with these types of people. The rest I cut out of my life like cancer—I don’t have time for negativity.
SB: What do you find most challenging about life?
SH: Not dropping the F-Bomb during interviews.
SB: What's the best and worst thing to happen in your life?
SH: Deep stuff, coming from a U.S. Army Ranger, I didn’t see that one coming. Best career-decision was joining the U.S. Marine Corps. Although I never let it define me as a person, it shaped me in a way that allowed me to reach my potential as a young man. To this day, that warrior ethos drives me and fuels the engine to succeed at whatever I choose to do. Worst decision is thinking that I was invincible (like many Marines) to the effects of the events of combat. It catches up to you. I’m fortunate to have friends and family that understand that—trust me, it doesn’t take writing a book about your wins and losses to figure that out either.
SB: What do you wish other people knew about becoming an author?
SH: Writing a book is a long process. I walk into a bookstore and library and look around and think, “Man, there is no way I would like, or be able to read most of this stuff—ever!” But I respect how much time and effort it took every, single author to get that tiny, little book sitting on that shelf.
SB: What might we be surprised to know about you?
SH: True confession. I did not read my first book, cover-to-cover until I was a Lance Corporal in Operation Desert Storm. It came inside a white cardboard box; a care-package addressed to, “Any Service Member.” Of course, it was a war book, Guns Up! (Penguin, 1984), by Johnnie M. Clark. I just emailed him today and don’t know why I waited this long to say, “Thanks,” to him. Until then, I’d geeked my way through school on Cliff’s Notes.
SB: What would you tell someone who is thinking about a similar line of work?
SH: Do the work. Books don’t write themselves. Editors don’t fix you work. Publishers can only do so much. You have to put in the work. It’s a philosophy adopted from Steven Pressfield, War of Art, (Black Irish Press, 2002). You have to write about what you know and what you love to be authentic. Not everyone will enjoy what you write or your opinions sometimes, but most will. When you hang it out there (your writing, your story) you can’t focus on the negative or haters, trust me, they are there—that’s just poison you have to cut out of the equation.
SB: If you weren't writing or volunteering what would your life be like?
SH: Boring as hell and unfulfilling for me personally. I am happiest working for a cause, not for a bottom line.
SB: As the Executive Director of your non-profit, Save the Brave, what sorts of trends do you see?
SH: I love that there are so many organizations available to veterans, and it keeps growing in a positive direction. I call them, “Boutique-501s,” because there is literally something out there for everyone. Most do it with the best intentions of helping vets—but there are also some shady ones too, so people have to do their homework before they get involved. Save the Brave is 100% non-profit. No one on our team takes a salary—we do it all for the vets.
SB: What do you do when you aren't working or volunteering?
SH: I never stop working. When people say, “…so, how’s retirement from the Marines treating you?” My answer is always the same, “I work more now than I ever did.” But it’s a different kind of work, and I love what I do, the people I meet and being my own boss. I never say, “No,” to opportunities because I’ve found that I never know what they’ll hold in store—for me I always focus on the good that comes out of them.
SB: What else can you tell me about writing?
SH: I thought to be in the U.S. Marines was a tough job—then I became a writer.
SB: If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
SH: Impatience. I would eliminate it from my entire body if I could. It is the ultimate distractor that cripples my work, my relationships, and my peace of mind.
SB: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
SH: As a sought-out expert on military writing and a successful storyteller—still writing and helping to share the stories of our nation’s real heroes. How I’ll do that depends on the forum, technology, and access—but they are out there, and are worth telling. Over the next ten years, I see myself as an embedded journalist or commentator to bring stories from where they happen to those who’ll never experience them firsthand.
Five Buzz Questions:
SB: Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
SH: Hunter. I’ve always been competitive.
SB: What’s your favorite ‘80s song and/or band?
SH: Most cave-in and go with staples like Def Leopard or Rick Astley. I’m going to have to say The Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (Def Jam, 1986). I wore that cassette tape out on auto-rewind.
SB: What’s your favorite ‘80s movie?
SH: Tough question—I’m going to have to go with a military favorite, Stripes, (Harold Ramis, 1981) Any good comedy film that lets me unplug and laugh. I pride myself on being under-cerebral which give me the capacity to watch idiotic movies.
SB: What were you like in high school?
SH: I didn’t fall in with any click. I played sports but was a horrible student and a nightmare for my parents. I skipped class. I rode a motorcycle. I ran from the cops. I drank underage. Fought. I got caught by the cops. Fought and drank some more. Ultimately it all caught up with me, and I barely graduated with a stellar 1.24 GPA. Then I was introduced to the Marines—they seemed like a perfect fit for an 18-year-old troublemaker who thrived on taking risks. The Marines were the biggest group of risk-takers I’d ever met and never let me down in that regard.
SB: What’s the last film you watched?
SH: The last great film I watched was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh, starring Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand. Amazing writing.
SB: What do you want to be when you grow up?
SH: Most will go with the cliché answer of, “an improved version of myself,” which works if you’re live your life on inspirational Facebook memes. I’ll go off the reservation and say, “a cyber-enhanced version of myself with bionic modifications.” That way I can out-live and out-last those unwilling to change. Better living through technology.
SB: What inspires you?
SH: People. Those who have the capacity for giving and taking care of others—what I call ‘protectors.’ Those who give more of themselves even when they don’t necessarily have to.
SB: What are you known for?
SH: I am a connector. Connecting people who have the talent and skills to help others. Sharing the people that have enriched my life so that others can benefit from their combined experiences.
SB: What do you work toward in your free time?
SH: Trying to find more time.
SB: What’s your favorite corner store or coffee shop?
SH: Any place that serves espresso or good dark-roast. I like to support local, family businesses whenever possible. But Starbucks was a family business at one point too, I suppose.
SB: What are you most often quoted on?
SH: “There is no such thing as Combat Leadership—just Leadership.”
Scott A. Huesing Bio Page | Speaker-Buzz
About Scott A. Huesing
Scott is a retired United States Marine Corps Infantry Major with 24 years of honorable service, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer. He works with companies to provide leadership development and motivational programs. Contact Speaker-Buzz if you're interested in adding Scott to one of your corporate programs or private events. Send an email to info@speaker-buzz or call p: 737.888.0038 for additional info.
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