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Saturday, 9 May 2015

What Types of Books Do You Read?

I'm a member of an aviation book group on Facebook and one member recently posted the question "what type of books do you like?" It prompted a number of thoughtful responses with some people firmly in the factual camp but others seemingly happy to delve into the fiction. It made me think about my own writing.

My factual books are based on the aircraft I flew and the roles I took on. If I didn't fly it I won't write about it other than in passing. Sometimes this provokes a "sniffy" response amongst the professional writers. That's not to be lazy and avoid researching because writing about aircraft that now, sadly, sit in a museum means I constantly have to top off the memories with pictures and reference material. I pride myself on accuracy and it's a dagger to the heart when I realise I got something wrong. With E books that's easy to correct. With a printed volume it stares at you forever.

My novels are based on fact to the point that I will avoid the dramatic plot line, rather keeping it within the realm of possibility. I want someone to say at the end of the book, I think that could have happened. The settings are places I served in or flew from. The scenes in the cockpit are often based on situations I found myself in. I hope the action sequences are close to reality; or at least how events would have panned out if we had been asked to play for real. The ability to develop a plot line and the characters is fascinating and the intricacies keep me awake at night. I like to call it faction.

I won't change. I don't want to produce volumes of books on topics I know little about. I'll carry on targeting my factual work in areas where I can add to the history. The novels will give the outlet for more lateral thinking.

What books to you enjoy. The answer might not be as simple as you thought.

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