Published by Endeavour Press (12 Oct. 2017)
Available in ebook and paperback
I’m pleased to welcome John R Bell to the blog, to talk about his novel, The Circumstantial Enemy.
The Circumstantial Author
by John R Bell
The title of my book is The Circumstantial Enemy. If you read it, you will see the pertinence of that title to the story’s young protagonist, a good guy caught on the wrong side of WWII. But there is also a twist to the title. The Circumstantial Enemy was written by a circumstantial author. Me. I am one of the vast majority of people who never had a burning desire to write a book. Fifteen years ago, a set of family circumstances and one potent statement from my daughter changed that.
“If you don’t write it, Grandad’s story will be lost forever,” she had said. I’ll never forget the yearning in her eyes. Grandad was 80 years old at the time and we both knew that he wasn’t going to be the first human being to live forever. The family had heard his tales repeatedly – trials and tribulations of a Croatian pilot coerced onto the side of Hitler in 1941.
My daughter wasn’t requesting a book; a stapled record of events would suffice. I reasoned that I was not a writer, but she countered that I had the time to write. My career as a CEO of a large company had just ended and I’d embarked on a consulting assignment requiring a heap of travel and plenty of lonely nights in hotels. Admitting that preserving Grandad’s captivating story for his decedents was compelling, I began my journey into authorship. Grandad agreed to a host of interviews. I soon shifted from passive listener to active journalist – probing for details and questioning events seemingly overstated. Most interesting was the old man’s frankness. He offered more than ever before, some of it shocking and disturbing. Between sessions I checked his facts to validate timelines and ensure life in POW camps on US soil were as described. Simultaneously, I read relevant non-fiction to better understand time, place and prisoner predicament.
When it was time to write his story, I found myself thinking as might a novelist – the notion that fiction hinges on the characters and what they want. Grandad had wanted freedom from repression. A year later, I had completed his biography. With enough copies printed for the family and a few generations to come, I thought I was done as an author. Not so. I’d been infected by that burning desire to write.
Three years later, I thought back to Grandad’s story. There was so much to it. So much that had never been told before. Perhaps I could dramatize that fascinating journey to freedom and redemption into a thrilling novel. A couple of thousand words of fiction and I realized my naivety; I was in over my head. Yet, that that failed to snuff my inspiration. I didn’t write another word for a year – reading every self-help book I could get my hands on regarding the writing of fiction.
Following the conventional process of research, writing, editing, rewriting (ad nauseam), and seeking an agent and/or publisher, The Circumstantial Enemy came to fruition in October 2017.
| About the Book |
When Croatia becomes a Nazi puppet state in 1941, carefree pilot Tony Babic finds himself forcibly aligned with Hitler’s Luftwaffe. Unbeknownst to Tony, his sweetheart Katarina and best friend Goran have taken the side of the opposing communist partisans. The threesome are soon to discover that love and friendship will not circumvent this war’s ideals. Downed by the Allies in the Adriatic Sea, Tony survives a harrowing convalescence before being shipped to a prisoner of war camp in America. But with the demise of the Third Reich, he considers the kind of life that awaits him in the homeland under communist rule. Will he be persecuted as an enemy of the state for taking the side of Hitler? And then there is Katarina; in letters she confesses her love, but not her deceit… Does her heart still belong to him?
| Author Bio |
John was born in Chigwell, UK and now resides in Vancouver, Canada. Before becoming a prolific blogger, author of business books and historical fiction, he was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and a global strategy consultant.