Travis W. Inman: cattle rancher, missionary, soldier, law enforcement agent, author
Travis grew up in West Texas on a cattle ranch, but he became a missionary and journeyed across Central and South America. He later joined the Army and then law enforcement, where he served for twenty years as a federal agent with the Department of Homeland Security. I know him as a funny, talented, multi-published author and Managing Editor for audiobooks for Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.
Travis, how do you think your background experiences (cattle rancher, missionary, soldier, federal agent) shaped you into the person you are today?
TWI: As a rancher, I learned that hard work is an essential virtue. I’ve heard people say that everyone wants to be a cowboy until it’s time to actually be a cowboy. Venturing out in a blizzard to bust ice so the cows can get water or to suffer the scorching sun to ensure the herd can eat during a drought is not fun. But, there’s a quality of life that only cowboys get to enjoy. For all the hard work, there’s no job that’s more rewarding.
As a missionary, I learned that human suffering is constant and even more pronounced when you leave the USA. But, the compassion of the Gospel is the one thing people can rely on to get them through the hard times. In the USA, the church cries out for the next movement from God, while in foreign countries, people cry out to simply know God. Americans have no idea how blessed they are, or how much they take for granted. To see the suffering inflicted upon Christians in third-world nations is heartbreaking. This knowledge helps me to keep perspective.
As a soldier and a federal agent, I learned that service to my country is a privilege that all citizens should embrace. We learn to serve others and appreciate diversity. Learning how to work as a team and seeking the good of the many is the secret to success. I also learned that not all people who wear a uniform are good people, but every one of them deserves our respect, as they are willing to give their lives to protect our rights.
How much of your past experience in the Army or law enforcement played into the development of the plot or characters in Moon World?
TWI: My time in uniform significantly shaped my vision of Moon World. There are numerous elements of Moon World military service that I fashioned after my own experiences. Both the successes and failures my characters experienced were directly drawn from my failures and successes. The notions of duty, loyalty, and honor are common ideals with military service in all countries. All soldiers hold to a certain creed: there is great honor in loyalty and duty. This is what shaped how my characters so readily embrace their differences and celebrated their similarities.
How did you come up with the ideas for the Earth Fire Series?
TWI: More than ten years ago, I envisioned writing a children’s book about a boy who saw a peace pipe in a pawn shop, which he took into the back alley and smoked. The pipe magically transported him into the Ice Age, and he had to figure out how to get back home. I realized I was endorsing shoplifting and smoking for children, so I went back to the drawing board and puzzled out how to get the boy into the Ice Age in a more legit way. I came up with the story line of a boy who was taken into a parallel reality by his father, where he grew up not knowing he was not from that Earth. When he discovers he is from a different reality, he uses the same technology to travel to the Ice Age, where he has to figure out how to get back home. Working through this process made the story significantly better.
You write in different genres. When Love Called and Then Came Grace, Books 1 and 2 in the Glenfield series are contemporary romances. Shadows: Once Choice a Future Makes is romantic suspense. The books in the Earth Fire Series are Sci-Fi. How much and what kind of research do you do for the different genres?
TWI: I’ll be honest … research is not my strong suit. I deliberately avoid writing historical fiction or anything that would require me to spend hours wrestling out the tiny details. The only research I do is to be accurate with a location I mention. For example, in When Love Called, the places my characters visit are legitimate places. Of course, I modify some buildings or business names to avoid lawsuits, but for the most part you can physically follow their paths. You can stand and see the same views the characters see.
My ADHD makes it difficult to expend the energy in chasing facts and deploying them correctly. And this is why it took me so many years to map out the Earth Fire Series storyline. I wanted there to be legit science in my story, but not be so married to the facts that it takes all the fun from the storyline. So, where I could be accurate, I nailed it. But I constantly lean on the “rule of cool” method. Where, everything is so advanced in the future that anything is possible. And if you make the ships, weapons, and tech super cool, most people will let you get away with playing loose with the facts. Having said that, I’ve always been scientifically minded, so much of my science bears merit. It is possible to use wormholes to travel to other realities, or even in time. While unlikely with our current level of technology, it is possible at some point in the future. And that’s super exciting to me!
From the back cover of Moon World, Earth Fire Series, Book 2
After narrowly graduating from bootcamp …
Cadet Zane Banach and his Section 8 friends are on their way to the Lunar Defense Forces to undertake flight training.
While exploring Artemis Dome, Zane is flooded with a series of memory blitzes that lead them to discover his father’s secret labs hidden under the Moon’s surface. Meanwhile, the Section 8 crew suspects Drake Bounds of planning to steal the replica of the Wolf Egg crystal and plot how to stop her. But their efforts place the entire moon at risk. Their adventure takes them from the streets of Artemis Dome to Crescent Park—the Moon’s magnificent theme park—and into the long-abandoned mines.
What they discover will change the course of humanity and reignite an age-old war.
Check out Chrome World, Book 1 in the Earth Fire Series.
Travis W. Inman’s other books
Where Blooms Love contributor
Wonders of the Galaxy contributor