It's been my goal for a long time to write a novel about the Air Corps over Europe in World War Two. I wanted to tell the story, from enlistment through training and combat, followed by, in the case of my story, imprisonment in a German POW camp and a forced march at the end of the war. Historical fiction, however, is not worth telling unless it is accurate and rings true.
This summer, I've been working steadily on the novel. I have been very lucky to have eleven men who were 'over there' as my advisors. These eleven do everything from answer daily questions about anything from the cost of cigarettes to the best pub in London. They describe the terrors of combat and the humor of service life. Several also are reading the manuscript as I go in order to catch factual errors or correct scenes which do not ring true.
Their comments and emails alone run to a document of almost fifty pages so far, and this will be an important historical document in and of itself.
The novel should run about 80-100,000 words when complete. Though it deals with the entire Air Corps experience, I've also tried to make it character-driven. There are several unusual plot twists and it all builds to a surprise ending (what novel doesn't).
I'd like to thank my technical crew of advisors for their help all summer. They are:
1. Don Lewis, 15th Air Force, gunner, POW, Long March
2. Norris King, B-17 gunner, Shot down by Swiss, Internee
3. Will Lundy, 44th BG Ground Crewmen and historian, Flying Eightballs
4. Maurice Rockett, 95th BG, B-17 bombardier, Purple Heart
5. Delbert Lambson, 390th BG, Ball Turret Gunner, POW, Long March
6. Bob Cozens, 95th Bomb Group, Lead Pilot, Original member of 95th
7. John Carson, 15th Air Force gunner/armorer, POW
8. Dan Culler, 44th Bomb Group, B-24 engineer, Swiss internee and survivor of Wauwilermoos, a Swiss federal prison
9. Gale House, 95th Bomb Group, Chief Pilot, original 95th
10. DeWayne ‘Ben’ Bennett, B-17 pilot, 384th BG.
11. Leonard Herman, 95th BG, B-17 Bombardier, Purple Heart
Once the initial draft is completed, there will be re-writing and revision, but I've always found the initial drafting to be the hardest. My guess is, with a team of editors like the ones above, the revision could be a lot of fun.