It started in a grubby cinema seat in a tatty local cinema in an unassuming seaside town in 1970. I was a dishevelled eight-year-old boy and I sat open-mouthed in front of a sparkling Technicolour movie. Before my eyes the very foundations of British life and society were defended from tyranny by dashing, devil-may-care pilots riding in sleek, powerful fighter-planes. The film, The Battle of Britain , instilled a life-long fascination for the events of 1940, although my own ambition to become a Spitfire pilot one day was cruelly snatched away by the progress of aviation technology.
In my late teens I discovered one of The Few had grown up in my home-town and was buried in our local graveyard. Taking basic career information from available listings (in books, mind you, this was way before the internet) I started to research the life and times of this man and the Squadron in which he flew.
In early 2016, finding myself with time on my hands, during what could be described as a lull between careers, I opened my files and re-read my research. I realised the story was strong enough to provide the basis for a novel.
A few months later the first draft was finished, weighing in at 83,000 words. I dived straight into the first full edit. After a month of harsh self-editing, my novel stood at a shade under 77,000 words.
I sent the manuscript to half-a-dozen beta readers. While I waited for their reports I ran a second edit. Then, having received consistently good feedback from my beta readers, I began the long process of finding a way onto a publisher's list.