Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Q&A with 'Nadya's War' C.S. Taylor @TinyFoxPress

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.



About the Book:

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.



Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Hello! Thanks for having me!

Mostly I pretend I know what I’m doing raising four mini-me’s with the Mrs. And when I’m pretty sure I don’t know what I’m doing and it might be important that I do, I use my exceptional Google-fu skills to fill in the gaps. Seems to be working so far. Everyone still has ten toes and ten fingers, and the house has never caught on fire. I figure that’s winning on some level.

When did you start writing?

Grade school somewhere. My first adorable attempt at a book was writing “Mr. Soccer” which was a spinoff from the old popular “Little Mister / Miss” books. After that, I wrote a little 8-9 page book (still in grade school) for a class project that was the sequel to the movie Aliens. I might be biased, but I do think it was better than Alien 3. From there I kept trying my hand at short stories, especially through middle school, and by high school I’d managed to put out my first, full-length novel. I still have a tattered copy tucked away. It’s fun to look at every now and then, provided I have a drink or two first and there’s no chance it could escape into the public’s eye (it’s very cringe worthy).

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

The first attempt at a full novel is a big milestone, but since I’m here talking about Nadya’s War, I’ll go with that. It’s easily the most taxing story I’ve written, not only because of all the time and energy I put into researching everything, but because it’s a very character-driven story, despite some very intense and driving action when it comes to the war. As such, I found myself more and more in Nadya’s head, and I’m sure there’s a lot of transference that happened in all of that.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Somewhere remote and scenic. Castle maybe? Or a nice lodge on the lake in the mountains somewhere? If it’s purely to focus on writing, I’d probably want to lose the internet to keep distractions down, but practically speaking, it would probably be a good idea to stay somewhat connected if things pop up. I wouldn’t want to pick a time and place that would have a ton of biting, cold weather though.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Pick up the piano again. I played quite a bit from grade school through college. Life, however, rarely lets you have everything you want, and so my playing ability has suffered greatly. There are a few Chopin pieces (Ballade No.1, Op.23 for example) and one Liszt (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2) that I never really mastered and were always *just* outside my reach.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

That’s a good question. Maybe feudal Japan? I’ve never written anything in that period, but it is a point in history I do like a lot.

Back to your present book, Nadya’s War, how did you publish it?

Very, very carefully and with a lot of help from everyone at Tiny Fox Press and JKS communications. After writing it for a year, spending another really polishing it up, getting invaluable feedback and revising for the umpteenth time, I knew I wanted to get it out there, and Tiny Fox seemed to be the best option.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I didn’t, but I did read a lot online, and what I couldn’t get online from articles or discussions with various experts across the globe on WW2 history, military aviation, etc. I found by ordering a lot of books, either outright buying them or getting them sent to my local library. If I spoke Russian, I’d easily have double or tripled the amount of source texts I used.

Why was writing Nadya’s War so important to you?

Like most stories I’ve done, it started off as a general idea of an interesting set of characters in a setting I really liked—a young pilot during WW2 who was part of the 586th all-female fighter regiment of the Red Army Air in this case. But as I got beyond the first few pages and the writing really took off, I knew I was onto something that not only would I really enjoy and be proud of, but it was something that centered around some of the bravest women of the war that unfortunately, not many people know about. In a way, I’m giving them a small slice of recognition they’ve deserved for a long, long time.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Lots of brainstorming. Sometimes I do get the rare inspiration that comes out of the blue and run with that, but usually my best ideas come from a string of others. For example, with Nadya’s War, I was originally researching and plotting out a story with the 588th night bomber regiment (the infamous Night Witches), but I couldn’t get the plot to do what I wanted exactly and stay true to the 588th’s historical timeline, so I moved on to read about the 587th, which was another all-female regiment that flew the Pe-2 bomber (very prestigious). The characters I wanted in this book, however, weren’t all alive, sadly, by the time the 587th saw combat, so that was one mark against it, and then I realized I really wanted some harrowing dogfights, so I jumped to the 586th and didn’t look back.

Any final words?

I hope you and all your readers check out a copy of Nadya’s War and enjoy it! I know I’m biased, but it really isn’t your typical book about war filled with gore, so I can honestly promise it’s not “more of the same” when it comes to the usual WW2 genre. That said, it is true to the time period and the realities of aerial combat and all the threats these women faced on the ground as well, so it has its gut-punching moments, too.

Thanks for having me, again. It was fun!

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