Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I joined the Royal Air Force as a Navigator in 1973. After training, I flew the F4 Phantom on squadrons in the UK and West Germany. I was one of the first aircrew to fly the F2 and F3 Air Defence Variant of the Tornado on its acceptance into service and served for many years as an instructor on the Operational Conversion Units of both the Phantom and the Tornado. I commanded the Tornado Fighter Squadron in the Falkland Islands and worked extensively with the Armed Forces of most NATO nations. I have published four factual books on aviation topics and a series of novels in the Phantom Air Combat series set during the Cold War.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent factual book, “Tornado F3 In Focus” is about one of the aircraft I flew. I was involved in its development throughout its service life in various guises. It had a poor reputation when introduced on the squadrons. Despite much effort to improve the capability, many still considered the aircarft to be a “basket case”. The book tries to dispel some of those myths. My latest novel “Provocation” is set during the Cold War and revolves around Soviet aggression along the Berlin Corridors. When a transport aircraft is forced down and the crew are captured, the principal characters, flying their Phantom jet, intervene. My inspiration, as always, is to take the reader into the cockpits.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to think of my novels as “faction”. Everything I write is set in places I served during my military career. I like to make the scenarios true to life and believable. To do that I set the action in real places and use scenes in the cockpit that I experienced when flying. I frustrate some critics by going a little deep and using real flying terms but if I want realism it’s a price I pay. My factual work is quite detailed. I try to strike a compromise by including enough detail to attract the serious enthusiast whilst keeping the books readable.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My childhood inspiration was the Biggles books by WE Johns. It set me on the path to a career in miltary aviation. If I can even partly offer similar flying action to my readers I will be happy.
What are you working on now?
My next fcatual book will be called “Operational Test – Honing the Edge” and will look at how we tested combat aircraft in the Royal Air Force before and after introducing them into service. My next novel is at the formative stage but will continue the theme of F4 Phantom operations. This time I’ll be back in the UK investigating Quick Reaction Alert operations. The tentative title is “Infiltration” keeping with the theme of single word titles.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Amazon is an amazing resource allowing authors to publish books which would otherwise never be available to readers. Bookbub has proved to be a very effective marketing tool. An interactive presence on social media is essential in the modern climate.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I would say stick to the genre which you know and can write about authoritatively. Be persistent and when the system knocks you back, try again and eventually, you will enjoy that elusive break. I’m still looking.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It came during my flying days. Watch out for fluffy clouds. They might be pretty but some have granite centres. That advice kept me alive.
What are you reading now?
The Gladiator series by Simon Scarrow.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I intend to make more time to write. I have plenty of projects in the margins which will keep me busy for the forseeable future.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Truly impossible to answer. The Battle of Britain by Len Deighton is up there.