Where do you call home?
For the past twenty-six years my wife, Greta, and I have lived in rural South Carolina. We followed my aviation career here and simply stayed after my retirement from professional flying six years ago. I really like the rural setting and the quiet and privacy it provides me for my writing.
What is your book about?
Riders of the Wind traces the courtship, marriage and adventures of Charles and Doretta Cross through the turbulent world of pre-WWII aviation, Prohibition and the great depression. The book follows Charlie Cross through his times as an airmail pilot, a pioneering airline pilot, a whiskey smuggler, the Cleveland Air Races of the 1930s, and his route surveys in the Mato Grosso of Brazil. It also follows Doretta through her training as a student pilot through her becoming a flight instructor herself and ultimately as one of the first female airline pilots. Riders of the Wind is a story told with excitement, humour, adventure, joy and sadness, accurately portraying the language, lifestyles, fashions, and mindset of the 1920s to the beginning of WWII.
If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Charlie would probably give you a discourse on flying safely or tell you a story of his airmail days. Doretta would complain of the male prejudice against women in aviation in the early years and Wilma Haley would serve you coffee and cookies and try to mother you.
Do you have plans for a new book?
Actually, the second book in the Riders of the Wind series, Winds of Fate, is already in publication in both paperback and in e-book format. I am in the process of completing the third book. The Winds of Kunlun Shan and this should be in publication by the end of December 2011.
What inspired you to write your book?
Riders of the Wind was inspired mostly by the life and career of my uncle and aunt Charles and Doretta Cross and the tales they told me in my youth, it is loosely based on their lives. It also works into the story some of the experiences of other pilots and some of my own experiences. Other segments of the book are purely fictional.
Would you like to be contacted by readers to do book reviews?
Certainly, if one has confidence in his/her writing one should always welcome reviews.
How did you come up with the title and cover design?
The title, Riders of the Wind is from a collection of poetry written by my sister. The cover is a pastel and pencil by myself of a 1929 Pitcairn Mailwing, one of the first aircraft designed strictly as a mail carrier. It replaces the original paperback cover designed by my publisher, which was unattractive and unsatisfactory.
Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
Charlie and Doretta Cross were based on my uncle and aunt and Alvin and Mildred Burton were based on my mother and father. Alvin was, in fact, an aircraft mechanic and Mildred also held a private pilot license in the 1930s
What books have most influenced your writing most and why?
I think that many books and authors influenced my writing. One was Earnest Hemingway for his Old Man and the Sea, and A Farewell to Arms. Another was Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Biplane by Richard Bach for his lyrical style of writing that is almost poetry.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Earnest Hemingway of course and Mary Stewart, the author of The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment, The wonderful books in her Merlin series. Then there are Richard Bach and Earnest Gann.
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
It depends, I tend to do a lot of reading in bed at night and e-books or paperbacks are more convenient. However for reference, photo or coffee table books I prefer hardcover.
Have you ever read a book more than once?
I have several favourites several of which are Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Mars by Ben Bova, and Air War by Edward Jablonski. As you can see I’m very eclectic in my reading tastes.
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Probably Doctor Zhivago. The book is long and one loses attention in places. The movie, in itself long, moves much faster and keeps the viewers attention better.
Patti says: I LOVE that movie. It is my all time favorite!
What book are you currently reading?
Homecoming Earth by Orson Scott Card.
What book do you know that you will never read?
Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I’ve tried several times but could never manage to wade through it.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and why.
Several, but mainly in the Sci-fi genre.
Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
In Winds of Fate I would probably change the ending since it is so sad. It was, however, the only logical choice. I suggest that anyone curious should read the book.
Who designed the cover of your book?
I designed my own covers for both Riders of the Wind and Winds of Fate since my paperback publisher’s offerings were unsatisfactory. Both are my own artwork, Riders of the Wind done in pastels and pencil and Winds of Fate done in acrylics.
Do you have a book trailer?
Not at the present time.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write what you know about. For example if you know about police work then write a murder mystery. If you’re an astronaut or astronomer, write a space opera. What I’m trying to say is to write intelligently about a subject you must have knowledge of it.
The Book:Riders of the Wind is an epic novel of adventure and romance set in the scene of aviation during the turbulent times of the nineteen twenties and thirties. The book follows the lives of Charles and Doretta Cross through the era of the great depression, prohibition, the airmail, and the formation of the infant airlines. It graphically portrays the danger, excitement and romance of flight in the pioneering years before World War Two and takes the reader into the cockpit with the airmail pilots of the twenties and the airline route survey pilots flying the heart of the Amazon jungles.
The reader will experience the golden age of aviation including the great air races, rumrunning, the birth of the airlines, exploration in the jungles of Brazil and much more. This novel is filled with romance, adventure, humor, sadness and mysticism, something for everyone. A “must read” for anyone interested in aviation or, for that matter, anyone who is merely interested in the history, dress and lifestyle of the pre-WWII era. This is the first novel of the epic “Riders of the Wind” series.
Thank you for the interview Bob. It has been nice getting to know a little more about you. Patti
I Interview and promote Authors and their books for my blog - leave request in comments box below along with your email address and I will contact you.
I will tweet and facebook the posting once it is complete.
Next. Make sure you follow this blog so that you can see when your Interview and book promotion has been posted.
Your interview will usually be posted within 2 - 5 days. (Indie Authors get first preference)
Patti Roberts - Author
Paradox - The Angels Are Here
Book trailer Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IovcxyZTFuU
facebook - http://tinyurl.com/3woe84l
twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/PattiRoberts7