Who is H. Paul Honsinger?

H. Paul Honsinger is the author of the “Man of War” Series, gritty Military Science Fiction novels with an age of sail flavor set in the year 2315.  The books follow the adventures of the 28 year old wily Max Robichaux, skipper of the stealthy Penetration and Attack Destroyer USS Cumberland, along with his friend and ship’s Chief Medical Officer, the brilliant Dr. Ibrahim Sahin, during the Earth Union’s interstellar war against the Krag, implacable aliens who believe that their Creator-God has decreed that they must destroy the human race.  Two books of the series, originally issued in self-published editions, are now available in new editions from 47North books:  To Honor You Call Us and For Honor We Stand. Paul has completed the third volume, Brothers in Valor, which 47North will issue on June 30, 2015.

The adventures of Max Robichaux and Ibrahim Sahin will continue in the next series, already begun by Paul, the “Brothers of the Black Sky” Trilogy (tentative title).  The planned books in this series are:  To Stations My Lads, Our Courage Defiant, and Hearts of Steel.  More volumes featuring these characters will follow in an indefinite series.

Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on January 21, 1960, Paul is the son of Harvey G. Honsinger and Judith Arceneaux Honsinger.  Judy still lives in the southwest Louisiana area, as does Paul’s younger sister, Kathlene Deaville.  Harvey, who was a Western and Historical Novelist late in life, and who had careers as a Television Director and as an Agent, Supervisor, and Administrator with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole, passed away in 2012.

Paul was graduated from Lake Charles High School in 1978 where was Vice President of the Student Counsel (perhaps the only “nerd” in the history of the school to hold that office) and Captain of the school’s Speech and Debate Team.  He received early recognition for leadership as one of the school’s delegates to American Legion Louisiana Boys State where he received the A.R. Choppin Award as the outstanding citizen of the 1977 Boys State session.  He worked with Boys State for nine more years, becoming the Staff Academics Coordinator and returning for several years thereafter as a guest speaker.  Paul also attended the Louisiana Governor’s Program for Gifted Children and later served in several faculty, staff, and administrative capacities with that organization, including Debate Instructor, Student Government Adviser, Dormitory Counselor, Head Dormitory Counselor, Administrative Consultant, and Legal Counsel.  As the Program’s legal counsel, he drafted the legislation which gave the Program legislative recognition and formally established it as a Louisiana educational institution.  See, Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:1989.1 et seq.

After attending Louisiana State University for one year, Paul transferred to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he focused on Political Science, History, and Economics, while writing for the Opinion page of The Michigan Daily.  He holds a Bachelor of General Studies from that university.  Paul also earned a Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University where he was a member and Associate Editor of the Louisiana Law Review.  He practiced with a major firm in Louisiana before moving to Arizona where he practiced with major firms in Phoenix, a small firm in Bullhead City, and had his own successful sole practice in Lake Havasu City.  Paul has also taught school, sold cars and trucks, driven school buses, written movie reviews for a weekly newspaper, and coached debate teams.  He has a lifelong interest in space, science fiction, military history and tactics, Roman and Byzantine history, and international relations.  He is a long-term cancer survivor, having made it through a bout with Stage IV B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1996.  After six months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation treatments, Paul has been cancer free since January 1997.  He currently lives in Lake Havasu City, Arizona with his wife, stepson, and two eccentric cats. His daughter majors in Music at a university in Southern California.  He likes to dabble in Astronomy, collect handguns and pre-1960 military surplus rifles, and cook Cajun food for his family.

40 comments on “Who is H. Paul Honsinger?

  1. Oh, I think I understand your second author – Philips is your wife’s last name and Harvey G. Is a pen name based on your Dads name. Clever way of recognizing your wife’s contribution without detracting – or distracting – from her own authorship of her books.

    • I probably need to do a page or at least an entry about Harvey G. Phillips and why the name doesn’t appear on the 47North versions of the books. You have summarized a great deal of the rationale. Laura Jo Phillips is my wife’s pseudonym–her name is actually Kathleen Honsinger. When she started writing, we had a law office and it just didn’t seem like a very good idea to be practicing family law and publishing novels where one woman mates simultaneously with triplets. She has also written books two YA books under her own name. Another reason behind the Harvey G. Phillips name is that I was actually known as Harvey Phillips to my wife’s readers from answering their emails, comments on her website, responses on her facebook page, and so on. We wanted Laura Jo Phillips’ readers to know that these books were from the same person who helped Laura Jo come up with a lot of the science and technology in her books (which are, of course, Romances where science and technology are purely incidental–so these contributions were fairly minor) and maybe attract a few sales that might get the ball rolling. So, how better to write a book under my own name while also showing the Phillips connection by, essentially, co-authoring a book with me in the form of my pseudonym–like a book by Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens. BTW, the H. in H. Paul Honsinger stands for “Harvey.” I always went by “Paul” to avoid confusion with my father, who was actually quite well known back in my home town of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The 47North editions will be published in my name only–“Harvey” has served his purpose. My father will be along for the ride, though, in the form of the inspiration he provides, the “Swamp Fox” nickname for Max, and in the author picture printed in each book, in which I am wearing his string tie with the slide made from a Texas Ranger badge handed down from his ancestors, one of whom was a Texas Ranger back in the horseback and Colt Single Action Army revolver days.

      • I see that your wife wrote 2 YA books under the name Kathleen – Amazon.ca has the series listed as The Mixed blood trilogy. What happened to the 3rd book?

      • The books in that series have enjoyed only very limited sales, in comparison to those from her work under the Laura Jo Phillips name. She likes the series and would love to return to it, but financially that is not a good use ofher time right now.

  2. Just discovered your books and im really enjoying them. Top stuff. From one Sci fi cooking nerd to another, well done.

  3. Just finished your first 2 books. Absolutely Terrific! Only one complaint, too short! I am look forward to the next 15. Where in your background or training did you lean such insight into leadership?

    • Thank you for the kind compliment on the first 2 books of the series. As for the shortness, they seemed pretty dang long when I was writing and editing them! Your question about my insights into leadership is a complex one to answer. I can’t give you a short, simple answer like “I was a Lt. Colonel commanding a column of tanks in the first Iraq war” or anything like that. Instead, what you call my insights came from several places. First, I have always had an intellectual interest in the problems of leadership–practical, intellectual, and ethical. All my life, I have read books on the subject and studied the lives of great military, political, and other leaders. I’ve read a lot of the memoirs written by WWII submarine commanders.

      Growing up in Louisiana, I always had a particular interest in Huey Long. I have also long had an interest in Patton, Rommel, Lee, and in the Punic Wars.

      In addition, I was for many years a faculty and staff member at the Louisiana Governor’s Program for Gifted Children, a summer enrichment program under the administration of Dr. George Middleton. Middleton. Hmmm. Name sounds familiar. Dr. Middleton truly was an expert on leadership and I learned a lot from watching him and from his explicit efforts to teach me. As a teacher, I helped the students work through some of the issues associated with leadership, particularly in the unit I taught on Machiavelli’s The Prince. Further, at age 24, I was the Head Counselor when the program had nearly 200 students living in University housing for 7 weeks. For years after that, in a number of different positions, Dr. Middleton kept me a member of his “kitchen cabinet” that advised him on the key decisions he made in running the program. Some of the discussions that Max’s kitchen cabinet have echo the discussions we had years ago. The new Director who succeeded to the post on Dr. Middleton’s passing, occasionally consults me on some of the more thorny issues to this day (I can no longer work with the organization, as the program is in Louisiana and I am in Arizona).

      I was also long involved with the American Legion Louisiana Boys State program. Not only is the program explicitly about leadership and government, I rose to the position of Staff Academic Coordinator, which meant that I was the person in charge of the government and leadership aspects of the program (other Staff members were in charge of things like Logistics, Physical Recreation, Entertainment, Health, etc.) so, not only did I learn (and completely rewrite) the basic curriculum of the program, I was also minutely involved in the leadership of dozens of counselors and 700 or so boys.

      Whenever I join any kind of organization, I am generally identified as a leader and put in some kind of leadership role even though I don’t usually make any effort to get myself put in charge. For example, I joined the Masterworks Chorale of the Louisiana Choral Foundation, sat on the back row contentedly singing Baritone for 3 years, and suddenly found myself President of the Choral Foundation.

      Plus, I have a reasonably good imagination–I think through the problems that Max might encounter and how, in light of my knowledge of the psychology of leadership, he might solve them.

  4. Is Fleet Admiral Middleton’s character inspired by General George S. Patton?

    By the way, you take your sweet time working and perfecting the third book. Because as much as I want to read and listen (on audiobook) your third novel, I am hoping for a book that will engage me as much if not more than the first two. Finally, please know that as long as you plan to write, I intend to listen!

    Greetings from Colombia/ South America (and yes, you have a bit of a following in these parts of the world)

    • Actually, Admiral Middleton is based partly on the late Dr. George Middleton, who was something of a mentor to me. Admiral Hornmeyer, on the other hand, is inspired partly by Patton, and partly by Curtin LeMay, and some by William Halsey.

    • As I should have said in my earlier reply, thank you for writing and for listening. I’m glad to hear from readers, especially from lands that are so distant from my own.

  5. Paul:

    I severed as a nuclear submarine line officer (final rank of LT) for seven years in the US Navy and I have enjoyed reading your books. If you would like someone to talk to about how modern submarine warfare is carried as part of developing plausible tactical situations for your books, I would be happy to help.

    • During my first semester at the University of Michigan, I lived down the hall from Ann Wittkowsky (sp?) whose father was the mayor of that fair city (or, at least, so she said). I always thought that the name of the community was particularly picturesque, (like the towns of Breaux Bridge, Bunkie, Dry Prong and Farmerville in my own home state of Louisiana) so I used it in the book.

  6. Great books…I spent many years in the Navy, much of it on CRUDES ships. You capture life on a destroyer very accurately. In addition to your leadership experience, you must conducted Navy-specific research as well…In any event, looking forward to enjoying many novels to come! Good luck with the series.

  7. OMG!!! It’s about time you get this third book out!!! I’m like a junky who needs another fix!!! It’s cool that you have a release date… I’ll be waiting for it in July!!! Keep up the good work, Paul!!! Your books are awesome!!! This is coming from a hardcore sci-fi fan!!!

  8. thank you H Paul for these books ,but i really love that you don’t make the people wimps and cowards that just in time gets some balls then turn back to a wimp. great story line in each book, and no super women to deal whit . i love pure sf and this is it

  9. Just finished the third book and you have absolutely moved into the category of my favorite authors. The bane of all readers is enjoying books too much and your series is definitely one of them. I appreciate the pieces of art and want to express my eager desire for more!

  10. Just started your first book and boy is it a good one. As soon as I heard Robichaux, I thought hmm, but when I heard Max ask if so-in-so was a coonass, I said oh this author has to be from Louisiana. Sure enough you’re from Lake Chuck. I’m from DeRidder, about 45 mins north. Such a small world. Just wanted to say I am thoroughly enjoying your books and can’t wait to get into the next one. You’ve already made it to my top 5 SF authors. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  11. Nice job. The Science is decent, but, like most works, what sets these books apart is the development of the characters and the struggles that they endure. I look forward to reading many more of your tales in the future.

  12. Hey Paul. I grew up in Lake Charles and I remember we were classmates in Hilda Walker’s Happyland Kindergarten on 18th St. and at Oak Park Elem. and Oak Park Jr. High. It’s good to see that you’re doing well. I still live in southwest LA in Moss Bluff. I remember your dad was the director of Lee Janot’s daily TV show at KPLC back in the ’60s. And now that I know one of the kids from my past is an author I need to find the time to read one of your books. From all the reviews I’ve seen, they’re mighty interesting. : )

    • Robert, it’s good to hear from you and I hope you are doing well. It’s funny how well people seem to remember Mrs. Walker’s Kindergarten, even when they can’t tell you squat about their second or third grade teacher. Who can ever forget Bubbles the bad tempered Pomeranian, or the Thinking Bench, or the Pickup Time song. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I remember all that stuff. My best to you.

      • LOL…It’s ironic that you mention some of our former teachers, Paul. I run into Kim Coldiron quite often and recently got a chance to see his mom who taught 5th grade at Oak Park Elementary back in the ’60s and ’70s. Miss Wilda got quite a laugh when I told her how we kids were all scared to death to get sent to Mr. Conway’s office if we happened to get out of line. Luckily I never had to go to the office, but fear of the unknown was probably what helped keep me in line. She said “if only y’all had known, Clyde Conway was really a nice guy and didn’t have a mean bone in his body.” I teased her that here I am 55 years old and NOW I find out that Mr. Conway wasn’t the monster we all thought he was! Ha! Ha! Anyway, best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. : )

  13. You are an absolute master of your craft, Mr. Honsinger. I fervently hope (and pray) that you will remain healthy and happy. That being the case, I anxiously await your future master works.

  14. Finally got around to visiting this page. NOW I know why I feel like Max is someone I know. My family on my Moms side is from Sulphur and Vinton areas. Love the books and will remain a loyal reader.

  15. I have loved your books! They are great reads. I read them all on a kindle. I miss the hardcopy double vertical spaces or the triple asterisk to indicate a change in scene. I had to go back a few times to pickup the change of scene. A good transition always makes for a better read.

    Tom Massey

  16. Are you writing another book I have not heard anything about your next book and I am very curious and hoping it will be just as good as the others and available on audible soon after you are finished.

  17. Just finished book 3 (had read books 1-2 a while back and just realized book 3 had come out last summer!) and just bought Deadly Nightshade to read next. Having spent 11 years in the Navy (5 years on the USS Hyman G Rickover SSN 709) as a nuke machinist mate, I enjoyed and embraced the life on the ships you portray. Of course, the thoughts of spending years in space like that *shudder* but I guess interstellar war of extinction focuses the mind.

    It was frequently discussed on the submarine that Submarines would make the best space / warship crew, as we have lived with many of the same dangers since submarines have been around. I found frequent reminders of submarine life (especially in the helm of the ship, the “straight board”, etc.

    Keep up the great writing and fully enjoyable books. Looking forward to reading many more.
    Sean Davis
    MM1/SS (nuke) 1991-2002

    • My first nine years in the military was in the U.S. Navy I was on SSBN 634 USS Stonewall Jackson from 87 to 89 I find a lot of what’s in these books to be about seven Ranser that’s way it feels to me

  18. Mr. Honsinger: I stopped reading the Star Wars books once Disney bought the company from Lucas and ruined the story line. I have since read sci-fi books from about a dozen authors. While I liked all of them. Yours are the best. The adventures of Max Robichaux are awesome. I particularly like the Admirals rants. When can we expect book 4?!

  19. Are you going to do a book for I can’t imagine it after three books it’s over after the Cumberlands destruction is gonna drive me crazy if it is I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve been in the hospital I’m US military and I found them very entertaining and help keep my mind off things that I’m going through right now thank you for doing the books just really like to know if there’s going to be a book 4

  20. Mr Honsinger please continue the the stories, I have read all four of your books, and reread them as they so very well written. You make the characters so very much alive. It has been so long since your last release … When or if are you going to release another book on the Cumberland’s crew???
    The third book was such a cliff hanger and the short story of LCmdr Maxime Robichaux was a great insight to the character’s mindset. I really do hope you are still planning to continue the series. 🙂  

  21. Hello Paul, greatly enjoyed the first three books. Is there a future for this most excellent series? Please say it is not over. Enjoyed your series.

  22. Paul, I wanted to tell you how your stories have fired the imagination of a not-so-young latin-american reader, who has devoured every story and re-listened to every one over and over again with growing enjoyment each time.
    They have rekindled my own nascent desire to write stories! I think I love your stories because they are inhabited by real persons I recognize, want to know, empathize with and I want to believe have the same kind of hearts and blood that flow in my own veins.
    The youngest aboard, the hatch-hangers bring back to life a 10 year-old boy, a yearning for belonging, camaraderie, and mentors. I want to be courageous, and valued by others I admire.
    What a marvelous world we would inhabit if each man treated as valuable each boy, and them immersed in a brotherhood similar to the one the hatch hangers thrive in aboard the USS Cumberland!
    When Max is brave, clever, and always the optimist in face of the worst dangers, I see that which I yearn for most in myself.
    When I see how he engenders loyalty in all around him, I understand how you value that precious quality in man.
    Your volumes are not merely science fiction, they transcend any genre and become literature to me.
    I have had my own ‘cardio issues’ in the last year and a half, a real wake up call to me at age 62. So keep up the good work! Get better. I will, I can’t wait.
    Count me in! I will snap up volume four the instant I can pre-order it from Audible!
    How will the valiant crew of the USS Cumberland headed by Max Robichaux, with his friend Dr. Ibrahim Sahin ( along with the best coffee in the universe of course..) at his side… face down the enemy Krag?

    • Wow! Do you want to be my publicist? Write the next jacket blurb (except that my current publisher doesn’t do jacket blurbs with quotes)? Seriously, I appreciate your kind words and high praises. You came right out and told me that I accomplished, at least in your emotional universe, exactly what I sought out to accomplish. Thank you for taking the time to express that to me, as I value it highly.

      The next novel in the series should be out sometime next year. I’m working on it busily as we speak.

      Thanks for writing.

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