Full-time Airman, part-time author

  • Published
  • By Todd Cromar, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Master Sgt. Brian Sharkey, 514th Flight Test Squadron, has been an aircrew flight equipment technician in the Air Force for over 20 years. In his personal time he enjoys writing fictional literature—specifically horror stories—and is currently anticipating the release of his second published novel.

Growing up in a small town in Montana, Sharkey joined the Air Force in 1995 as a way to see what the world had to offer and put himself through college. Throughout his life he has thoroughly enjoyed reading fiction with his favorite authors being Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe.

Influenced as a child by his grandfather who was a poet, Sharkey began writing poetry for the pure enjoyment of it. He then developed a love and passion for writing fiction after having a horrifying nightmare one night, which gave him the story idea for his first book.

“I love writing,” he said, “imagining a fictitious character and creating their story as it takes its own shape in your head is oddly gratifying. I don’t think you need to have a degree in English to be a writer, you just need to love writing—and have a good editor!”

Sharkey does not write for the money but would like to make it a career. After writing and publishing his first book, he experienced mixed results and learned personal lessons.

“I would say my first book was both a success and failure,” he said. “The book, titled Based on Real Life Events but not actually based on real events, is a horror story and was the first book-length story I had written. I think that was a success in and of itself.”

He continued, “The part I considered a failure was that the book wasn’t well edited and I think I could have done a better job of writing it. Overall, my writing experiences have been fairly good, aside from the occasional writers block and the nerve racking knowledge that what I have written will be read by people I know and respect. However, I’ve received more positive reviews than negative and I’m always open for constructive criticism.”

Sharkey found the real challenge to the entire process came after the creative writing.

“The process of editing and publishing is arduous and time consuming, but if you have a good editor and publisher, they can make it a good experience,” he said. “Working with the people at Glass Spider Publishing, a local company, has been great. They're getting my book sold through Amazon and Kindle and that is a large feat.”

Like most, Sharkey is challenged with balancing family, career, education and his passion of writing.

“Balancing everything in life can be difficult at times,” he said. “My family always comes first followed closely by my Air Force Responsibilities. The tricky part is balancing school with writing. It’s hard for me to decide if I should concentrate more time on getting my bachelor’s and master’s degree, or writing my next book that could potentially lead to a successful writing career.”

He is excited and looking forward to the release of his latest endeavor. This second book, also a fictional horror story and titled Nocturnal Awakenings, will be published and available this week. It is about a small town in Montana that experiences a string of unusual deaths. As the body count rapidly increases, the local sheriff and deputy try to piece together the mystery surrounding the deaths and the sudden appearance of a beautiful stranger.

Sharkey writes for personal enjoyment and hopes that his horrifying tall tales provide exciting entertainment for the reader.

“The only thing I truly hope to accomplish is to create stories that I enjoy writing, as well as intriguing books that people can enjoy reading,” he said. “I think that to write for any other reason would be pointless. I would hope that every reader will be able to relate to some part of my stories, and have some sort of personal connection.”