INTERVIEW BY WAHEED RABBANI
Brodie Curtis mentions on his web site that F. Scott Fitzgerald famously stated, “there are not any second acts in American lives.” But, Curtis has managed to realize that, reworking himself from a California company lawyer, with the assistance of his spouse Sue, to a Colorado actual property entrepreneur. However now, having revealed two historic fiction novels, he’s effectively on his journey into a 3rd act!
Would you share your elevator pitch for Angels and Bandits, your second novel?
On the eve of World Battle II, working-class flight teacher Eddy Beane has accomplished harmful espionage missions for Air Commodore Keith Park. Eddy falls for certainly one of his flying college students, society woman June Stepheson, and when the German Luftwaffe assaults England in 1940, he finally ends up serving in a Spitfire squadron with June’s upper-class ex-fiancé, Dudley Thane. Aerial fight is intense, and each males present their abilities and braveness, however can Eddy and Dudley put aside jealousy and sophistication variations to grow to be preventing brothers for the protection of Britain?
You said (in a earlier HNR characteristic) that your inspiration in your debut novel, The 4 Bells, was John McCutcheon’s track in regards to the Christmas Truce of 1914. So, please inform us what moved you to put in writing your second e-book in regards to the Battle of Britain’s Spitfire pilots?
Angels and Bandits protagonist Eddy Beane is the reply to a free thread from The 4 Bells, my debut novel, which portrays occasions throughout the Nice Battle. However my inspiration for Angels and Bandits goes past a sequel and is rooted in deep respect and admiration for the RAF’s protection of unrelenting German Luftwaffe bombing assaults in 1940. That job fell to RAF fighter pilots with largely boyish countenances who had been inexperienced in life however tasked with the weighty duty of defending civilians. The story of how they confronted and repelled the German Luftwaffe with its daunting scale, effectivity, and weaponry impressed me.
I perceive that you simply did journey to the Flanders battlefields in your first novel, so in your second e-book, did you perform website visits in Britain, and what analysis did you undertake?
I had hoped to go to RAF websites and museums earlier than Covid-19 scuttled these plans. Process one was to be taught in regards to the aerial battle. Then I dug into auto-biographical tales of the pilots themselves and studied the Spitfire each by means of books and in-flight movies. My sources and hyperlinks for analysis for Angels and Bandits and The 4 Bells are right here.
The plot of Angels and Bandits is well-conceived, particularly the introduction of romance and battle. Did you discover writing from British and French aviators’ and upper-class ladies’s factors of view difficult? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Additionally, please inform us a bit about your writing course of.
I attempt to think about myself within the place of my characters. Angels and Bandits, at its coronary heart, is the story of younger males of many various socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities who needed to dig deep inside themselves whereas preventing in harrowing aerial fight and are available collectively for the great of their squadrons and, finally, the protection of Britain. Their very own phrases of their autobiographies helped me think about lots of the scenes. Sure, writing from the viewpoint of society woman June was difficult, and credit score goes to my wonderful editor Sue Millard from Cumbria, England, for serving to me hone this vital character. I plot out main scenes of my books, however I discover that the characters take me down their very own roads, and sometimes scenes change course considerably. Typically, that occurs in the course of the evening once I’ll jot down a thought on a notepad and develop it the subsequent day.
Your particulars of flying a spitfire and the canine fights are very reasonable. Have you ever taken flying classes, and if not, how did you be taught the flying strategies?
I’m not a pilot and, alas, I’ve by no means been within the cockpit of a Spit. However a treasure trove of details about the Spitfire has been recorded in historical past. Specifically, I’ve seen on streaming websites a good variety of bits in regards to the restoration of Spitfires and flying Spitfires. RAF pilot autobiographies embrace element on flying Spits and canine preventing. An archive of extremely shifting BBC experiences of Battle of Britain aerial preventing is obtainable.
You’ve some real-life characters within the novel, and the mixing of truth and fiction appears seamless. Some attention-grabbing insights in regards to the conflict are included, notably the invention of Messerschmitt’s insufficient gas vary. Was this significant scene within the novel based mostly on actuality?
It was a pleasure to make the nice Air Vice Marshal Keith Park an vital character. The gas vary limitation of a Messerschmitt 109 was actual. I grew to become excited about it when studying a Luftwaffe pilot’s autobiography.
You point out that your subsequent novel is about in pre-Civil Battle time of the Mississippi River paddle-wheeler showboats. Though Angels and Bandits ends with an exciting conclusion, there are hints in regards to the characters’ unsure future. Therefore, at a while, would you be returning to this sequence?
By no means say by no means! Keith Park finally led the air protection of Malta and have become the Air Officer accountable for the Center East, so it’s straightforward to think about Eddy and Dudley at his aspect!
What analysis e-book have you ever pulled off your shelf most frequently?
Stephen Bungay’s The Most Harmful Enemy. It breaks The Battle of Britain all the way down to its part elements—the politics, the lads, the plane, and different army gear—with a powerful knack for making factors with deeply researched statistics and anecdotes.
What’s the final nice e-book you learn?
Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing: A True Story of Homicide and Reminiscence in Northern Eire.
Thanks in your time in answering these questions, and finest needs in your “third act” author’s journey.
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