Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most
common questions I've been asked so far.
Why does the Mustang have such a cult following?
How long did it take to write Roseanna's Reply?
Roseanna's Reply took two years to write, usually three to four
hours a day of work. It took another 18 months to get it right after
the first draft was complete. By that I mean, after 18 months,
enough people had read the proof copies and I had made enough
changes and corrections that I was finally reasonably happy. As a
writer, I don't think you ever get to the point where you are
satisfied with a manuscript, you're just done with it.
When you started writing, did you know where it was going to end
Of course I had a basic story in mind from the beginning and that
never changed.and I think that might be a little unusual,
particularly with serious (as opposed to hack) historical fiction
because it really is a journey.
It is a complicated story. How did you keep track of all the
I had an outline and continued to scribble notes to myself during
the writing process. Just as important, I also had an 8-foot long
timeline pasted on the wall so I could be accurate in melding
historical events and details into the fictional story.
What is special about Roseanna's Reply?
When you look at most of the historical fiction on the market, I
think it is fair to say that Roseanna's Reply is out of the ordinary
in a number of ways, and this was by design. Its structure is out of
the norm. It does not follow the strongly advised formula for its
genre. There are hundreds of non-fiction books out there on the
Mustang. But I have not found another novel that treats the
development of the P-51 Mustang, the world's most famous fighter, as
the central point of the plot.
The airplane certainly does have a huge worldwide following of
aviation buffs, WWII history enthusiasts and just plain folks who
will drive hundreds of miles on a weekend to see a couple of these
things fly at an airshow. There are more than 150 Mustangs flying
worldwide and, believe it or not, their numbers are actually growing
rather than declining. This is an airplane that was designed nearly
70 years ago, costs about $2,000,000 to buy today (if you can find
one for sale), and burns about 60 gallons of aviation fuel for each
hour of operation. Why is it so popular among pilots and fans alike?
All I can tell you is that you have to see, hear and feel one go by
on a low pass to understand. A lot of people will tell you that even
the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels come in second place.
What was the biggest challenge in writing Roseanna's Reply?
Book publishing has changed dramatically in many ways during the
last few years, and that rate of change is accelerating. One of the
truly revolutionary changes has been with the advent of on-line book
sellers, Amazon leading the way. Every piece of historical fiction
in publication today, is available from Amazon or its competition.
One of the revolutionary changes that has come with this is that
Amazon encourages it customers to post reviews of the books they
purchase. No longer does a prospective reader have to depend on the
hackneyed recommendations of professional book critics. In an
instant, they can learn what real people.just like them.really think
of a book. Most of the reviewers are brutally honest. So this was a
real challenge with a book like Roseanna's Reply that tries to cover
a lot of ground in one volume. Write a boring story or get some of
your historical facts wrong, and these people will rightfully rip
your book to shreds and dramatically effect sales. More than a few
formerly best selling authors have learned this the hard way.
Combine this with the fact that there are so many Mustang history
experts out there who take great pride in arguing every minor detail
and you can understand the risk an author takes tackling a subject
like this with the claim that the historical context is accurate.