Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A terrifying plane accident inspired Blue Angel

I’m sure there are a million things that can inspire an author to write a particular story. Here’s how BLUE ANGEL was born:

I started writing my first draft more than three decades ago. I was newly married to a wonderful man who was an officer on a nuclear submarine, the USS Haddock, stationed in San Diego. I was incredibly impressed with his sense of honor and duty. He loved being out to sea, and he loved helping to protect our nation.

When we were married only a year, he was deployed on a West-Pac (Western Pacific) sea tour. He was gone for six months straight (with brief stops at ports in the Pacific.) Our only communication was through family grams (50 word “telegrams” that could be sent to my husband while his boat was submerged.) Each wife received six family grams during the six-month deployment.

Since I was alone in San Diego, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. In the local media I’d heard a new romance writer’s group, the Romance Writers of America, was hosting its first convention in town. I was curious. While I didn’t attend that convention, I did sit down at the typewriter and start typing.

My first hero was a submarine officer who had lots of dinner dates with the heroine, a nurse. It didn’t take a professional editor to tell me it wasn’t working, so I started again. This time, I decided my hero would be a Navy pilot who had lost his best friend to a flying accident. Understandably, he develops anxiety about being in the cockpit. That plot twist comes directly from my experience flying.

When I was a 21 year old college student in Boston, I was returning to school after winter break and my plane (a DC-10) overshot the run at snowy Logan Airport and landed in the Boston Harbor. It was a terrifying experience. I was sitting toward the front of the plane, and I watched in horror as the nose of the plane separated from the body and descended into the icy water. Two men, a middle-aged man and his elderly father, had been sitting in the from row and they were never found. I had to walk on the wing, wade through hip-deep water and climb up an icy incline to get back to safety. (It wasn’t easy as I’d been wearing Candies shoes at the time.) While I was unharmed, I never got over the experience. I do fly today, but I never relax and enjoy it.

So, it seemed fitting to me to create a scenario where a fear of flying (and getting over a fear of flying) played a key role in my story. Also, most of BLUE ANGEL takes place in San Diego where I lived during my husband’s Navy sea tour. I loved the city–truly the most fabulous weather in the world–and hope that comes out in my book.

I hope you enjoy Blue Angel.
To Purchase
And On Amazon

No comments: