I asked acclaimed gay novelist Elliott Mackle to stop by and tell us about his Captain Joe Harding historical romance series. Several of my own fans pointed me in his direction and nominated the books for a 2014 LGBT Book Gem so, here he is, as requested.
I’ve said elsewhere that my Captain Joe Harding series is based on four years of Air Force service during the Vietnam era. That’s essentially true, but with reservations. For instance, each of the three novels includes at least one fatal plane crash. During my time in uniform I never witnessed a crash or even a serious mishap. I was a food service officer, not a pilot or air traffic controller.
But most officers, then and now, are assigned what’s called ‘additional duties.’ Among mine, at a Strategic Air Command bomber base in California, was occasional duty as a Disaster Control or Safety Officer. My tasks included driving down three miles of runway, and twice that of taxi way, sometimes at night, checking to make sure no parts had fallen off an aircraft. The potential to damage another plane was real and serious–as happened later, in 2000, outside Paris, when a Continental airliner shed a piece of metal engine cowling that damaged, and doomed, an Air France Concorde taking off right behind it.
I was trained to inspect flight lines, missile sites, maintenance areas and alert facilities, and to investigate and report on problems such as outdated fire extinguishers or incomplete training records. If an accident occurred, I knew to take charge of rescue operations until a higher-grade or better-qualified officer arrived. [Read more...]