In Conversation With Marc Liebman Author of Inner Look, Forgotten, Big Mother 40, Cherubs2, Render Harmless and Big Mother 40
By Norm Goldman
Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest, novelist, Marc Liebman author of Inner Look, Cherubs2, Render Harmless and Big Mother 40, which was ranked #48 in Amazon.com’s list of top 100 war novels.
Forgotten was recently named as one of the five Finalists in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Historical Fiction category which goes along with the Five Star rating given to it by Reader’s Favorites. Inner Look was also given a Five Star rating by Reader’s Favorite.
Marc retired as a Captain after twenty-four years in the Navy and a career that took him all over the world. He is a Naval Aviator with just under 6,000 hours of pilot-in-command/co-pilot flight time in a variety of tactical military and civilian fixed and rotary wing aircraft. He is a combat veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Captain Liebman has worked with the armed forces of Australia, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Republic of Korea, the Philippines and the U.K.
Norm: Good day Marc and thanks for participating in our interview. How did you get started in writing? Why do you write? What keeps you going?
Marc: I’ve always wanted to write. Becoming a novelist with published works was a life long dream. While I was in the Navy, I contributed articles to a wide variety of magazines and was even a “correspondent” covering regional auto races. In the early seventies, I was a magazine editor for two years and that experience taught me some hard lessons about the craft.
I also learned it is very hard to make a living as a writer. In fact, I often tell people now that I am retired from the business world, I now can afford to be a writer!
There are really three reasons I write. One, is I enjoy the creative process and bringing stories to life. Two, it is a legacy to future generations of my family. My books are something they can enjoy in the future long after I’m gone. And last, I like talking to people who’ve enjoyed the books. There’s great psychic satisfaction in hearing how much someone enjoyed one of my novels.
I like to think my books are different. Each one as several interesting characters and a plausible plot and are in the correct historical context. This allows me to weave into significant historical issues of the past as well as the present. Plus, few writers create novels about helicopter pilots. Even fewer write about Navy helicopter pilots, and I think I am the only one who writes about a Navy helicopter pilot who is Jewish.
All of the above keeps me going and I still have more books to write. Trust me, it is not the money.
Norm: Did you read any special books on how to write? Do you work from an outline?
Marc: No. I bought some highly touted ones and after a few pages, found them to be not very useful. The main reason was that their advice was often very generic and didn’t address the issues I was struggling with. I went to several highly touted (and expensive) four day workshops and they were marginally helpful. I learned more from my failures and struggles in trying to write a novel and from reading authors I like than from how-to books.
Yes, I work from an outline, but it is the third step in the process that I follow. Here are the steps:
- Create the kernel – this is one or two paragraphs that is the story concept. Think of it as the first pass at the back cover blurb.
- Story concept – this is an expansion of the kernel into a two or three page, single spaced document identifying the main characters, plot threads, conflicts, and timeline.
- Chapter outline – My chapter-by-chapter outlines consist of bullet points on the events/passages for each chapter. Some of the chapter titles are included, but these often change as the manuscript is written and the number of chapters increases or decreases. And, as the manuscript evolves, I often deviate from the outline.
- First draft of the manuscript – This is exactly what it is. As part of this, I also create the glossary as well as a cast of characters with a brief bio of the principle characters that act as references as I write and then edit the manuscript. As I write, I keep a page at the front of the manuscript titled Author’s Notes which are reminders to me to make changes in the first edit.
- First major edit – A month or so after the manuscript is finished, I read through it and do the first major edit to add/delete passages to make it a better story.
- Polishing the manuscript – Each manuscript I have sent to a publisher has undergone at least 10 different drafts! BTW, the Author’s Notes page is a living, breathing page that gets topics added and deleted during the editing process.
Norm: In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of the writing process?
Marc: Research! Because I pride myself in writing manuscripts that are operationally and technically accurate as well as put in the proper historical context, this requires a lot of research. I spend hours poring over maps and photos as well as reading material on what I think will add interesting context to the manuscript.
Sometimes researching a scene or topic takes me down a rat hole and I waste a lot of time. Other times, it leads to information I can use in the manuscript. The bad news is one doesn’t know what you’ll find until you’ve read what you’ve found and had time to digest it. A lot of times, I have what I call “forehead slapping moments” when I discover something that will make a major impact on the manuscript. The anticipation of this makes the research fun and exciting. If it wasn’t it would be pure drudgery.
An interesting side note is that you learn a lot of trivia that clutters your mind!
Two quick anecdotes about research….
First, in RENDER HARMLESS, there is a scene at the Berlin Stadt Hotel in 1976. The Stadt Hotel was one of a chain of four star, luxury hotels run by the East German government and the Stasi (East German secret police) for Westerners coming to do business with East Germany. Every major city had one.
My father took us to the Berlin hotel in the 1964 and I remember sitting in the restaurant at the top of the hotel where you could see into West Berlin.
The stark contrast between East Germany (dull, drab, not many cars, not many people on the street) and West Germany (full of cars, well lit, lots of people, vibrant) was evident.
Fast-forward to writing the manuscript in 2012 and 2013 and I wanted to have a scene in the hotel. The Berlin Stadt hotel was demolished after the wall fell and I spent almost four hours on the Internet one Sunday morning looking for photos of the restaurant and details of the hotel. All that work boiled down to less than a hundred words at the beginning a passage.
Second, after I finished BIG MOTHER 40, the first of my published novels, I sent it to my first detachment officer-in-charge who finished his career as a Rear Admiral for a review.
After he wrote what is now on the back cover, I called to thank him and he told me that after reading the book, he was convinced I spent more time with the NATOPS (the U.S. Navy’s pilot operating manual) writing Big Mother 40 than I did when I was flying in the Navy. Probably not true, but it makes a point about the level of effort needed because I wrote a lot of passages with my copy of the HH-3A NATOPS manual open on my lap.
Norm: How has your environment/upbringing coloured your writing?
Marc: Wow!!! This is a very interesting question. I think this is really a multipart answer. First, I was a service brat – my dad was a career Air Force officer and we lived in the U.S., Canada and Germany while I was growing up in the 1950s and early 60s before I went off to college. This exposed me to a lot of different cultures and, I was forced to make new friends every time we moved!
Another part of this was living early post-war Germany. While many Germans wanted to forget the Nazi regime ever existed, the hangover and the guilt will go on for generations. I vaguely remember my parents discussing war criminal trials as well as about those that who got away.
I also got to meet many, many Germans because we didn’t live in U.S. housing. While my parents were not devout, we are practising Jews and I grew up around people who had tattoos on their arm, i.e. they survived the concentration camps.
The older I get, the less forgiving I am of the German people for supporting Hitler and letting the Holocaust happen. As a kid, and even as an adult, I saw anti-Semitism up close and personal in ways most Americans never experienced. In many ways, I could say I lived among the Nazis. This was the internal pressure that led me to write RENDER HARMLESS and will lead to other books about the Nazis such as a book called RETRIBITION sitting on my laptop waiting for the first major edit.
It is also what drove me to define the character Josh Haman. In CHERUBS 2, anti-Semitism raises its ugly head and will continue to do so in future books when appropriate.
Growing up as an Air Force “brat” and moving a lot puts one, even in the 1950s and early 60’s into a multi-cultural environment. Friends came and went as their fathers were transferred from one duty assignment to another. For example, being in a Boy Scout troop was unlike others in the U.S. It was an ever-changing mix of races, religions, and cultural backgrounds that essentially made me color blind.
And last, my parents encouraged me to read and from that, I got my love of books. I read military, biographies and political history as well as historical fiction. Back when I was a kid, I was really into science fiction, but for some reason, stopped reading it.
Norm: Are you a plot or character writer and what helps you focus when you write?
Marc: When I am writing a scene, I become the character I’m writing about. And, as I peck away on the keyboard, I can “feel” the emotions as I try to put the reader behind the eyes of the character so he/she can see what the character sees/feels and what they are doing. In other words, I try to let the characters tell the story through their words and deeds, not me and this leads to deviations from the plot outline.
In most cases, the passage starts with context to set the scene. I try to add something about the senses – sight, smell, sound, touch to give the reader a sense of the place. Then, comes action followed by dialogue. So when I think the passage doesn’t need conversation, it either becomes a narrative or a character “doing something.”
The hard part is each scene has to add to the story or the plot by either creating tension, providing more insight into the character or conflict that is or will be resolved later in the story. When I’m in the editing/polishing mode, each passage is evaluated against that criteria. Often, there are passages I think are brilliant but they don’t do anything for the story, so out they go.
So I guess this makes me a “character” writer and they make the plot bob and weave as it works to the conclusion.
Norm: In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much do you believe is too much?
Marc: This is where the operational, historical and technical constraints limit what can happen in one of my novels. Often operational, historical or technical constraints restrict what I can write. Let me give you an example I just finished wresting with while writing MOSCOW AIRLIFT. Hopefully, it will go to a publisher sometime in June.
The book takes place in 1992 in and around the attempted coup by the KGB to derail the dissolution of the Soviet Union and create what we now know as the Russian Federation. So, many of the events of the plot have to come to a conclusion in around August 19th, 1992. So that’s one constraint that is historical.
Second are the major political figures – Gorbachev, Yeltsin, the head of the KGB and the Red Army. Many of these men are still alive. Since I can’t put words in any of their mouths and I don’t have access to their notes or interrogations, I had to create characters that were in positions of power and could influence events on both sides. That’s where as a writer, I can get creative.
When I write a flying scene, I download the pilots operating manual so I can read about its systems, flight characteristics as well as the normal and emergency procedures. These become both operational – what the airplane or helicopter can do – and technical – details about the airplane’s systems – constraints.
So, as a historical fiction writer, I can’t change history nor can I change the “things” (airplanes, guns, etc.) my character use, so I don’t. Instead, I concentrate on making them interesting people and put them in difficult situations within the context of what is available to them at the time.
Norm: How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book, FORGOTTEN?
Marc: The answer starts with how U.S. servicemen were treated by both the North Vietnamese. They were beaten, tortured, and starved in complete violation of all four protocols of the Geneva Convention that the Vietnamese signed them in 1953, long before the U.S. became involved.
As the number of U.S. POWs increased, two things happened. One was the North Vietnamese government’s refusal to provide an accurate list of the POWs they held. Second, after the peace treaty was signed, the Vietnamese took years to provide a full accounting of what happened to the individuals known to have been captured alive and never came home.
Do I think POWs remained in captivity at the end of the war? If you asked me this question in the 1980s, I would have answered yes. Now, I am not so sure. I’ve talked to several people involved in recovering the remains of guys who went MIA and they are convinced that there were none. Given the secrecy and machinations of the Nixon administration, there’s too much circumstantial evidence – some believable, some not – to come to a definitive conclusion. Every time I broach this subject to an expert in the POW/MIA field, I get the same question back, why would the North Vietnamese not return everyone?
My answer is leverage and here’s why. The North Vietnamese knew Nixon and Kissinger were eager to get the U.S. out of the Vietnam quagmire and didn’t have the political desire or support to include anything in the accords that even hinted at military action as a threat to hold the Vietnamese accountable.
Even though they were losing on the battlefield and running out of manpower, they won the political battle. The U.S. simply lost the will to fight. The only lever we had left was promised foreign aid and when the Vietnamese violated almost every provision in the accords, the Nixon administration refused to provide the aid. Hence, we lost our leverage.
So let’s come back to a pilot who has to eject from an airplane. It’s a given that when one has to eject from a battle damaged airplane, one can get hurt during the ejection. Then, if you come down in the trees, the chances you can get seriously hurt are very high. And, if you get hurt, there’s no medical care and you may die from your injuries. Or, you could be bitten by a poisonous snake or insect and die. Or, or, or…. So, I believe a high percentage of the pilots shot down landing in the jungle perished and who didn’t check in via their survival radio perished.
Here’s the scenario that bugs me. When one comes down in a rice paddy and are captured alive, the government – especially if it is a signatory to the Geneva Convention – is obligated to protect you from angry citizens. Several U.S. pilots were killed by the locals while soldiers from the North Vietnamese Army and government officials looked on.
So that’s one aspect of it. It may sound clinical, but it is not when one considers the second reason. I went to Vietnam as a combat search and rescue (CSAR) pilot. It was our job to get to downed pilots and rescue them so they don’t get captured. So, in many ways, this story is personal.
FORGOTTEN starts with a botched rescue. A helo flees from the scene and fails to make the rescue because the aircraft commander is a coward. Not making a rescue is tough to swallow, but cowardice in the face of the enemy is any CSAR pilot’s (and the survivor’s) worst nightmare.
Another is I went to college during the mid-1960s and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) were on every campus advocating revolution a violent overthrow of the U.S. government. SDS had an action wing that was firebombing recruiting centers and other military installations. I met and even dated (unknowingly at first) women who were SDS members.
So FORGOTTEN is a mix of POWs who get left behind, SDS and drugs. Add in a CIA operative with shady dealings that include selling secrets and a former POW who became a collaborator and voilà, you have the beginnings of a book.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Marc: Three words…. Janet Pulaski’s sexuality. In writing the manuscript, I had four choices. One, take her completely out of the book. I rejected this because I wanted to have a “home front” story. That led me to the next three choices.
Two, I could have kept her heterosexual and faithful…. While most POW/MIA wives were faithful to their husbands, for a novel, I rejected this because it didn’t add tension (other than for the husband’s safety and the uncertainty of when he would come home) or conflict to the plot.
Three, I thought about keeping Janet heterosexual and have her go to LA, San Francisco or Vegas to have one night stands. If I turned her into an assassin, then how could Randy and she get together after he came home? The only option was turning them into a team of assassins but I didn’t see that in Randy after 9 years in captivity. The thin he would want most is to avoid jail. So, after going back and forth through the editing process, I rejected it because it would become “routine” set of sexual adventures unless I let her get involved in really deviant sex.
Four, start with Janet being heterosexual or bisexual and then turn her into a lesbian and an assassin. This approach offered the most possibilities. Then, I could let her feelings for Randy emerge at odd times and ways in the book. As a result, I think she became one of the most interesting and complex characters I’ve created.
Norm: How did you go about creating the characters of Janet and Randy Pulaski in Forgotten?
Marc: I touched on this a bit in the last question about Janet so let’s start there.
Throughout the book, Janet maintains her “flame” for Randy even though events force her to realize that the two of them can never be together again.
The idea of turning her into an assassin was a vehicle I could use later in the book to bring resolution to three characters – the traitor/collaborator O’Reilly, the opportunist CIA officer Savoy and the Cuban Páya. It also allowed me to play on the fact that she was member of SDS’s Action Wing. There were three threads to Janet’s life after Randy is shot down – life as a POW/MIA wife, the process the U.S. goes through to go from “possible POW, to MIA to MIA, presumed dead and her career as an assassin. Also, by turning into an assassin, I could write an infinite number of action scenes as a way to deal with the passage of time. Keep in mind the book starts in 1970 and ends in 1982!
Becoming an assassin isolates Janet from society. She can’t have a normal relationship with anyone because of the questions she’ll be asked by anyone who wants a serious or long-term relationship. So, the isolation and resulting loneliness had to be resolved so I created a character she met in Cuba and created a love story with that. The other option was to have Janet killed off. I actually wrote one version with it and then decided to keep her alive!
Randy was easier and through him, I wanted to share the emotional roller coaster POWs face during captivity and the brutal treatment they received from the North Vietnamese. While there were five other POWs, I used Randy as the primary “voice.” I also wanted to bring out that POWs depend on each other to keep their spirits up and they must never lose faith that the country will come get them. In FORGOTTEN, by dragging them out of the normal POW prisons, I could hammer home this last point.
To introduce Randy, I started with the botched rescue in CHERUBS 2 where Josh’s first aircraft commander Higgins demonstrates his cowardice and runs away leaving Randy in the water to be captured. This created some tension and conflict in both Randy and Josh that plays out later in the book.
I gave Randy a Polish father who fought with the Polish Army in Italy so there would be some natural conflict when I brought a Russian in to interrogate him and the collaborator, O’Reilly. On any given day, it’s a crapshoot as to whether the Poles hate the Germans or the Russians more. I added in the bit about the Katyn Massacre to provide some additional historical context. What is also not well known is that the Poles fielded the third largest Allied army (larger than the Free French) and during the Battle of Britain, Polish pilots made about 20% of the kills. Everyone thinks the Polish Army performed poorly in 1939 and if you look at the result, the answer is yes. However, if one digs deeper, it actually did quite well considering that it was overwhelmed by two larger armies and was under-equipped when compared to the Wehrmacht.
Norm: Can you explain some of your research techniques, and how you found sources for your book?
Marc: That’s easy. I start with books in my bookcase and the Internet. Google is a wonderful tool because it gives me choices. As an avid reader of history, it gives me a sense of what’s happened in the past and I can use that as a guide to help sort out which sites are better/more accurate than others.
On my bookshelf, I have several books that I constantly go back and use as a reference. And, when I find one that I need for research and/or want to read, I buy it.
For example, I bought a NATOPS Manual for the A-7B in which Randy was shot down. Another is that I downloaded the operating manual for the Makarov pistol.
FYI, on Amazon, if you find the book with material I’m looking for, I can “open it” and in some cases search for key words. I’ve done that several times to learn interesting tidbits.
Wikipedia, often much maligned, is a great source because it provides an interesting bibliography that can be further explored as well as links to other Wikipedia sites. It also provides a synopsis with dates and other helpful info. I also look at a lot of sites that specialize in the topic being researched.
Google Maps is a great tool. I use it to look at streets and country maps and switch back and forth between the map and the satellite view. The risk here is that if you are using it, you have to figure out the difference between what is there in Google today and what existed in the time the novel is taking place.
Norm: How much of the book is realistic and are the characters in your book based on people you know or have encountered or are they strictly fictional?
Marc: Very little. Josh Haman is very loosely based on my career in the Navy, but nothing in FORGOTTEN is related to my career other than having participated in several Joint U.S./Thai Cobra Gold exercises. Annual Cobra Gold exercise were initiated because the Thais wanted U.S. help to stop or prevent the on-going incursions by Pathet Lao and Khmer Rouge forces supported by the Vietnamese Army.
The POWs are all fictional characters, however, when the American POWs came home in 1974, Captain Stockdale wanted to court martial three men suspected of collaboration. This was the genesis of the O’Reilly character For the record, the DOD and the Nixon administration wanted no part of a court martial.
The waved off rescue is based on a real event, but exaggerated to turn the Higgins character into a coward. Other than the historical notes to give context, the book is total fiction.
Norm: What is the most important thing that people don’t know about the theme of FORGOTTEN that they need to know?
Marc: We can never forget the sacrifices the men and women in the military make to defend our freedom, our values and our way of life. It is ironic that I am writing this on the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is the day we remember the men and women who died in the service of our country.
Many Americans take it for granted as just another a holiday that kicks off the summer season.
We should, and I am glad that, at least in the Dallas area where I live, there are more and more events that document the actions of those of us who served, and those who gave their lives.
Becoming a POW is something that those of who served never want to experience. For a variety of reasons, the trials, difficulties those who were captured faced, often seems to get lost. Their sacrifices and what they endured is often much more difficult than what others on the battlefield faced.
Norm: It is said that writers should write what they know. Were there any elements of the book that forced you to step out of your comfort zone, and if so, how did you approach this part of the writing?
Marc: Yes. I didn’t know much about lesbians so I took to the Internet to learn more. I read everything from pornography to treatises on what they are and are not to surfing several web sites that cater to lesbian fiction. It was interesting to say the least. This led to writing some graphic sex scenes, something I had never done before. Out of my research, arose Janet Pulaski who one reviewer characterized as a nymphomaniac lesbian assassin. Need I say more?
One more thing. Reading the POW debriefs again (I read several of them in the 1980s) was painful. These were my comrades in arms and I had to temper what they said because if I put the actual torture scenes in the book, I was afraid they would turn off the reader.
Writers write and this is more about discipline than anything else. Once you know who and what the character is, it is just a matter of putting pen to paper (creating ones and zeros?) and creating the character. To use the British expression, one has to muddle through.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books including FORGOTTEN?
Marc: Visit my web site – www.marcliebman.com. There are two parts to it, the speaker and author sites. In both, there’s lots of information on flying helicopters, the books – all of the professional reviews are posted in their entirety – the Josh Haman series, me, etc. etc. There are also some short vignettes on each book. As new novels come out, more will be added. Plus, I am always adding material to the site and when I do, it is noted in my blog.
Also, start reading my blog. It is published on Sundays (usually!!!) and is linked to my page in Amazon and Goodreads. You can go back and read the entries which readers may find interesting. There’s stuff on the ups and downs of being a novelist, challenges I’ve faced and over come, etc.
And last, contact me through my web site and ask to be placed on my mailing list. I send out newsletter every three months and this way one can keep up with what I am doing.
All my books are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. If the buyer has a favourite bookstore, the store can order the books directly from the publisher or Ingram/Lightning source.
If a reader wants signed copies, he or she needs to go to my web site –www.marcliebman.com – and click on the link that connects to the author site.
In the top right hand corner, it says “contact.” Click on that, fill out the form and send me a note asking for a signed copy or copies of any one of my books. I’ll respond with an email to set up a call, take a credit card number over the phone and the book(s) will go in the mail the next business day.
If the book is to be sent to a U.S. address, the cost of postage is $3.50 for the book rate and takes five to seven business days to get to the buyer. If the reader wants it sooner, I’ll add $12.00 to the cost of the book for Priority Mail and it takes two business days.
Books shipped outside the U.S., go by first class mail and the cost is $25.00. For some countries, it costs more, some less, but $25.00 is close enough. The cost of postage is added to the retail price of the books that are:
CHERUBS 2 – US$19.95
BIG MOTHER 40 – US$19.95
RENDER HARMLESS – US$19.95
FORGOTTEN – US$24.95 (due to its length)
INNER LOOK – US$23.95 (due to its length)
Norm: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us and are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!).
Marc: I’d like to share two things. One is reviews. Sites like Book Pleasures are a great help, but to those who read this, if you buy and read one of my books, please write a review on at least Amazon and Goodreads. These reviews drive a lot of what they do to market an author’s books and that helps drive sales. Plus, it gives me feedback about what readers like.
Number two are new or in work writing projects. There are two more books in the Josh Haman series left to be published. The next one is MOSCOW AIRLIFT. It takes place in 1992 during the turmoil leading up to the August coup and the death of the Soviet Union. The Iranian’s are trying to buy nuclear weapons to use to support terrorist attacks against the U.S. Josh Haman is sent to Moscow to figure out what is happening and stop the theft. In it, you get to meet characters from CHRUBS 2, RENDER HARMLESS and INNER LOOK and what happens to them will surprise you.
The last book in the Josh Haman series has a working title of THE SIMUSHIR ISLAND INCIDENT. North Korea is one of the largest producers of illegal drugs (heroin and methamphetamines) as well as bogus prescription drugs. With the blessing of Kim Jong-Il, an expanded drug factory is set up at the abandoned sub base on Simushir Island. Jong-Il wants to base ballistic missiles on the island and Josh Haman, on the Seventh Fleet staff has to figure out how to put the factory out of business without starting a war.
The conclusion of the THE SIMUSHIR ISLAND INCIDENT is the logical conclusion of the Josh Haman series. I didn’t plan it that way, but now that it is almost ready to go to a publisher, that’s the way it will be.
Then I plan to start another series with a main character by the name of Derek Almer. The first two books in the series – FLIGHT OF THE PAWNEE and MANPADS – are already written and I am working on getting FLIGHT OF THE PAWNEE ready to go to a publisher sometime this late summer.
Originally, they were to be the last two books in the Josh Haman series, but I decided to pull them out, change the dates to the 2015 – 2017 timeframe to make them more contemporary and change the characters. These two will be part of at least a four book series with the other two having preliminary titles of RASBERRY 9 and THE ASSAM DRAGGIN’.
In FLIGHT OF THE PAWNEE, a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda wants to use nerve gas to kill at least ten thousand Americans on Texas/OU football weekend on the fifteen anniversary of 9/11.
To change the nature of the war against the infidels, Al Qaeda prime wants to disrupt the U.S. transportation system and shut down the electrical power to the NY and LA metro areas. Central to their plan is using man portable, air defense systems, a.k.a. MANPADS stolen from the Russians to simultaneously shoot down airliners at six major U.S. airports and use RPGs to destroy key power transmission stations.
The plot of RASBERRY 9 revolves around what happens to $30M in used bills taken from drug cartels by the DEA when the C-130 carrying it as its only cargo disappears into the Saudi desert. The wreck and crew is found, but no trace of the money destined to pay Afghani warlords to keep them loyal to the government.
THE ASSAM DRAGGIN’ is the story about a company contracted to provide helicopters to fly logistics support missions for the Afghan government, military and U.S./Allied forces. The hero’s company has to deal with corruption, Taliban and Al Qaeda agents infiltrated into every level of the Afghan government as well as a ruthless competitor who is doing everything it can – legally and illegally – to cause the company to fail.
On top of that, last summer I wrote a book called RETRIBUTION. It is a stand alone novel about four men – an American Air Force pilot, a Russian NKVD officer, an SS officer wanted for war crimes, and a German boy who is smuggled out of Nazi Germany in the mid-1930s – and their families. As the plot moves along from the end of WW2 to the early sixties, the four threads are woven together. Right now, I am not sure what I am going to do with this book. After I get through with FLIGHT OF THE PAWNEE, I’ll go back to it and decide what to do.
This is not all. I’ve become a “correspondent” with an online publication called Senior Skiing. Last winter, I contributed three pieces and have committed to do more this coming winter.
So, other than this, there’s not much on my plate!
Norm: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s been an absolute pleasure to meet with you and read your work. Good luck with all of your future endeavors.