Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NADYA’S WAR by C.S. Taylor Interview & Excerpt

Author: C.S. Taylor
Publisher: Tiny Fox Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Historical Fiction


Nadezdah "Little Boar" Buzina, a young pilot with the Red Army's 586th all-female fighter regiment, dreams of becoming an ace. Those dreams shatter when a dogfight leaves her severely burned and the sole survivor from her flight.

For the latter half of 1942, she struggles against crack Luftwaffe pilots, a vengeful political commissar, and a new addiction to morphine, all the while questioning her worth and purpose in a world beyond her control. It's not until the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad that she finds her unlikely answers, and they only come after she's saved the life of her mortal enemy and fallen in love with the one who nearly kills her.



Seven of us zipped through the overcast sky, a dozen meters beneath the cloud layer. Gridnev flew lead and a girl named Tania from First Squadron flew on his wing. Alexandra and I cruised next to them about thirty meters away. I pictured myself as a modern version of my ancestors who rode into battle on horseback, courageous and strong. If only they could see me now, sailing through the air to drive off the invaders. I wondered if they’d be proud or jealous. Maybe both.
The four of us escorted a flight of three Pe-2s from the 150th High-Speed Bomber Regiment across the snowy landscape. That unit was led by Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Polbin who I’d heard was quite the commander. I’d also heard he enjoyed music and sang well, like me, which made me think we’d get along—even if he was a die-hard communist and loyal to Stalin.
The twin-engine Peshkas flew nearly as fast as our fighters, something I was grateful for. I’m certain the three crew members inside each bomber were thankful as well, since unlike the German Heinkels and Stukas, these planes were tough to catch for any aircraft. That being said, I was glad I was in my Yak-1. I wouldn’t have wanted to fly one of those bombers at all, no matter how prestigious they were. They were still big targets, and far less nimble than the fighter I had. I prayed we’d keep them safe.
All the Pe-2s, however, did have fresh, winter paint jobs. Their off-white and tan colors hid them well in the surroundings, and if I wasn’t paying close attention, I’d even lose sight of them from time to time. Their target was a rail depot the Germans were using to bring in supplies and troops headed to Stalingrad. Obliterating it would disrupt logistics and force the Luftwaffe to keep it safe once rebuilt.

C.S. Taylor is a former Marine and avid fencer (saber for the most part, foil and epee are tolerable). He enjoys all things WWII, especially perfecting his dogfighting skills inside virtual cockpits, and will gladly accept any P-38 Lightnings anyone might wish to bestow upon him. He’s also been known to run a kayak through whitewater now and again, as well give people a run for their money in trap and skeet.

His latest book is the historical fiction, Nadya’s War.


Where are you from?
Hello! Thank you for having me! I’m from Oregon, originally, but I grew up not too far from Central Florida. After highschool, I bounced around a lot when I joined the Marines.

Tell us your latest news?

Not that long ago, my latest novel (historical fiction) Nadya’s War was released by Tiny Fox Press. It’s the story of one of the young pilots in the 586th all-female flying regiments as she struggles against crack Luftwaffe and a host of political issues inside the Soviet Union. It spans from early August, 1942 to the famous counterattack the Russians made at Stalingrad.

When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing somewhere in first grade with some fanfiction aimed at the Litter Mister series by Roger Hargreaves. Perhaps fanfiction isn’t the right word, more like expanding the universe with new characters (Little Mr. Soccer was my contribution). Ever since I kept having the urge to churn out something, whether or not it was a short story or an attempt at something larger. It wasn’t until high school that I tackled the full-length novel, but I did. Not that it had a prayer of getting published, but it at least made me realize I could string enough sentences to form a novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably after my first or second novel attempt. I don’t think I can point to a single day where I said to myself, “I’m a writer.” It was always something I just did, not was. That’s weird, if you think about it. Plenty of people who use oils and pastels quickly assert that they are painters (or they seem to me, at least), but in my experience, it seems for some reasons writers are less eager to take on that title.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I’d just read The Legend of Huma and I really liked it, so I started crafting some characters and tried to put something together. Dragons, swords, and sorcery are a far cry from the World War 2 novel I just put out, but it seems common enough that writers often start in one genre before settling in another. At least, that’s what it was in my case.
Do you have a specific writing style?

Can I cop out and say my own? I’ve certainly been influenced by a lot of authors I’ve read, and usually whoever I’ve read the most recent and adored manages to creep in to what I’m writing on some level. I’ve worked in both third-person and first-person points of view, as well as past and present. It took me some getting used to writing in third- or first-person present, but it has its uses, I think, especially if the story (or the section of the story) has both immediacy and uncertainty.

How did you come up with the title?
Originally it was called “Little Boar” as that is the callsign that Nadya is given (on account she’s hotheaded and often charges her enemies, both in the air and on the ground). After some discussion and spitballing it and several other ideas, “Nadya’s War” was settled on.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not necessarily a message, but without spoiling plot points, there are a lot of open questions asked and big questions about life that Nadya wrestles with as she’s in the middle of a war and tries to make sense of how things work on a higher level. Hopefully once a reader is finished, he or she will be turning those same questions over, too.

How much of the book is realistic?

Nadya’s War is as realistic as I could make it. As it is historical fiction, I knew I had to get everything right as that’s the expectation of the genre. While Nadya is fictional, many of the supporting characters are not, and major events that happen to them—as well as events that happen in the war—are all documented and true to the historical timeline.
Also, I spent quite a bit of time researching the operation of the planes used, as well as how aerial combat often unfolded during WWII (not to mention, WWII is a general interest of mine to begin with). So as the action unfolds, the reader will be treated to fast-paced combat that at times is both disorientating and unfair. I do skip the gore for the most part, but there are a number of gut punches as the war goes on (consider that a general warning for readers).

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, but the book is based heavily on experiences I researched. While I never had the opportunity to meet any of the women in the 586th all-female fighter regiment, I did find a few sources who had interviewed many of them. From those interviews—as well as interviews with the other two sister regiments (the 587th and 588th, also all-female)—I put together Nadya’s character and the plot.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Going back to my fantasy roots, Tolkien by far. Such rich characters and a detailed world that he created, and a fantastic story writer altogether. More modern influences, especially for the military aspect, have been Tom Clancy and Mark Sullivan. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Can I go back to Tolkien? If not, maybe Patrick Rothfuss. Either of these would return to my fantasy roots, but both are exceptional writers, and the latter managed to make one of the best, original stories for the fantasy genre in a long, long time. Even if I’m writing stories that are very different than his, I think I would learn a lot from him.

What book are you reading now?

I’m taking a break from all things serious and have started reading Christopher Moore’s Second Hand Souls. If anyone is ever interested in pure fun (and at times, a healthy dose of strange), he’s a top pick.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I got a sneak peek at Abbey Lee Nash’s Lifeline since we’re both with the same publisher. I’m not usually a YA kind of guy, but her novel definitely sucks you in from page one, so I’m eager to see what else she’ll put out.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently solidifying what I want in terms of follow ups to Nadya’s War. The natural sequel to the book is to continue with the 586th fighter regiment, but I might move over to the 587th which flew the prestigious Pe-2 light bomber. Before I knock out a novel for either of those groups, I’ll likely put out a novella with the 586th again (or perhaps follow one of the girls who was originally in the 586th but was transferred out to Stalingrad due to political infighting within the unit).

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
I think it would be a huge faux pas not to lead off with Tiny Fox Press and my editors that helped tremendously before it was finally released. Those aside, all my wonderful beta readers and fellow authors I’ve met online and in person that I speak to are definitely right up there as well.

What would you like my readers to know?
Hope you enjoy Nadya’s War, and feel free to drop by my humble site and say hello (http://cs-taylor.com/).



No comments:

Post a Comment