Three years of research is finally taking form in words on paper (so to speak – really it’s just words stored digitally, but humor me…) So far I am through three chapters and plowing ahead. I’m still doing research too, which makes for a fun parsing of my time. I would complain but I am loving it.
The research is taking me down some paths I had not planned on traveling – which is what research has a tendency to do. I spent two weekends ago going over material from the Revolutionary War – both research and writing. What does the Revolutionary War have to do with Bert Hall? Let’s just say that I have learned if you want to write about the man, you have to dig into the family history. Bert Hall comes from a long line of rebels – both in the Revolutionary War and his father in the American Civil War.
I have solved more than a few mysteries in the last few weeks too. The biggest was around Bert’s autobiographies. He wrote one right after the Great War and another ten years later. I finally have good primary research material detailing why Bert’s second autobiography, One Man’s War, not only didn’t jibe with his first – but introduced material that was outright fiction. When you are a researcher and you hit a homerun like this – in the form of a stash of letters – it’s just plain fantastic.
For me this book is the last book of a trilogy of sorts. I started with Terror of the Autumn Skies about Frank Luke Jr. In that book I found a reference to Frederick Zinn who helped qualify what happened when Frank was shot down. That led me to write a book about Frederick Zinn – Lost Eagles. One of Zinn’s lifelong friends was Bert Hall of the Lafayette Escadrille. I researched enough of him to realize that Bert deserved a book on his own. It’s a little weird where your research takes you; it can be a rollercoaster ride. And like a ride, it is a lot of fun along the way.
This book is coming out this autumn. I have some fun things planned when it comes out, fun if you are a WWI aviation aficionado/buff, so make sure you follow my blog from time-to-time. Until then, I need to get back to Chapter 4…