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Crafting First Novel From West Point Experience

Arlington Writer Launches a Series

Terron Sims II of Arlington published his first novel on Sept. 10 in a four-part series. Sims’ book, “With Honor in Hand,” is a story of two mercenaries who face a moral dilemma when they take on a mission against West Point.

“With Honor in Hand” debuted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, and appeared in bookstores nationwide soon after. Sims said this has been a long journey, since writing the first 10 pages of the novel during his own sophomore year at West Point to Tate Publishing and Enterprises’ release of the book this month.

“I started writing this book mid-September of 1997, my sophomore year at West Point, and officially finished the book in early March of 2003,” Sims said. “I wanted to finish the book before deploying to Iraq because I didn’t want to risk being killed while serving our nation and not have finished it.”

He said the novel he originally wanted to write took a turn in a different direction when he remembered the words of West Point’s creative writing instructors — for authors to write about what they know.

“I knew West Point, so I decided to incorporate it,” Sims said. “Once I figured this out, I wrote most of the mercenary pieces at West Point, and when I graduated and had all four years behind me, I wrote all the West Point stuff.”

Even though “With Honor in Hand” is a novel, a good portion of the text was based on personal experience.

“The West Point elements are 85 percent real,” Sims said. “I amalgamated some people, changed the time lines of some stories, and had them apply to other people at certain times.”

Sims added that there were three layers to the novel’s meaning and purpose. The first was his desire to write about mercenaries, the second was to explain the deep meaning and symbolism to West Point cadet training and meal formation.

“The third was that I wanted to give homage to some of my close friends and some of my own experiences,” he said. “No one knows what a cadet’s life at West Point is like. It is my personal experience, which means it is real. Though it is different and more unique than most experiences, this was a means by which I could share how much I love West Point.”

The publishing process was not easy. Sims said that he finished his book before deploying to Iraq in 2003, but the agent at the time was unsuccessful in his attempt to find a publisher. He ultimately self-published the first version of his book in 2010.

Given that self-publishing was so expensive, leaving him unable to fund how own marketing, he began to look for a publisher. He found Tate Publishing, an agentless publishing company that saw something they liked with “With Honor in Hand.”

After a re-write and another editing process, Sims’ current version of his story was officially released.

This novel is his first foray into the published book world, and the first sequel to “With Honor in Hand” is also set to be published by Tate Publishing.

“It’s a four-part series I am writing,” Sims said. “I just finished writing part three two weeks ago. Then, Part Three is about Iraq, and Part 4 is going to be more about mercenaries.”

He added that he also has an epic he wants to write, and then he would like to venture into the non-fiction sphere of literature eventually.

He said he is not stopping at the written word, either.

“I want to focus this time period on making movies about these books,” Sims said. “That focus is going to start really soon.”

Sims, who served in the Army from 2000 through 2005, said his writing style distinguishes his book from other books about the military life.

“I don’t write like other authors,” he said. “I don’t go into long details about things that I know readers don’t care about. I’m not going to spend five pages describing the technical aspects of a satellite, because, who really cares? I will go into description about something that is more important to a particular character at a certain time.”

Sims hung his Army uniform up full time after his aforementioned tour in 2005, where he said he was primarily responsible in the “revamping of municipality in Baghdad.” He is now an entrepreneur involved in the Commonwealth’s party politics. He is an elected member of the Democratic Party, on the 8th Congressional District Steering Committee.

He considers his goals — in all areas of his life — lofty, yet attainable with the hard work and determination he has displayed since his early days.

And though out of his hands for now, his dreams for “With Honor in Hand” are limitless.

“I want this on the New York Times Best Seller list,” Sims said. “The underground version, I just did that for me. This one is for the world.”