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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Harvey Black Talks About His Passion for Military History

Harvey Black, Author of the Devil with Wings series talks of his passion for military history and how his research and careful attention to detail help create the reality behind his novels that cover true events.

I have wanted to write a novel since I was a teenager. Enthralled by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensmen series and Arthur C Clarke, I felt sure my first would be of the SF genre.

Joining the army changed all of that and my passion is for military history.  Devils with Wings, a military thriller, based around the adventures of two young Fallschirmj√§ger paratroopers during the early part of World War II, is a fictionalised adventure based on the famous assault on the impregnable Belgian fortress, Eben Emael.

Once finished, I knew I would want it published, if only so I had a hard copy and could claim to the world that I was an author. But how? On reading various articles in ‘Writing Magazine’, I chose the self-publishing route, providing me with all the options I was looking for: book cover; printing; website; distribution and marketing. My book was published in September 2011.

Now published, what was next? Realising, unless snapped up by a top publisher, becoming a best seller would be pure chance; I would have to promote it myself. Support for new authors appears thin-on-the-ground, but book signings at all my local Waterstones book stores, twelve in total, seemed to be a good place to start. What a success, signing between 30 and 75 copies, along with Waterstones and Amazon online, I have sold over 700 copies in a little over four months.

There was no stopping me now, and Devils with Wings: Silk Drop, the second novel in a planned series of 10, was born. Supported by my mentor, Gary Smailes of Bubblecow fame and an author himself, I completed my second novel; same key characters, set during the airborne invasion of Crete, capturing the Island in only ten days.

Acquiring a mentor, structuring my chapters in advance, improving my dialogue and focusing on my characterisation has helped produce a better novel. It is a huge improvement on my first and I am hoping it will do well.

But something else was missing. Without the support of a mainstream publisher I felt quite isolated and turned to ‘Twitter’ in an attempt to further promote my novels. It was there I came across the Famous Five Plus Club, FFP, and now have fellow authors and reviewers to share ideas and concerns, mutual support and a great feeling of camaraderie. 

The scene is already set for Book 3, Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun, where I take Paul and Max from 40 degrees in Crete to -40 in Russia, near Leningrad, where they truly face hell on earth. Many of the Fallschirmjager units suffered up to 75% casualties.
Click here to watch the trailer.

Although my novels are Historical Fiction, I base them on actual events and take pride in researching with as much accuracy as possible, having visited Fort Eben Emael in Belgium, the Island of Crete and will visit Leningrad soon.

To learn more about Harvey, visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

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  1. I've only 'known' Harvey a short time and I'm fascinated by his books.I only wish my father were still alive he would have loved Devils With Wings. I shall have to get a copy for Hubby.

  2. Good for you, Harvey, for making a success of your first self published book! One of my favourite novels that I read as a child was by Arthur C Clarke... Islands in the Sky. It was utterly enthralling... and yet here I am writing YA Urban Fantasy. Who knew eh?!

  3. Congratulations, Harvey, and great idea. We tend to see WWII from one side only. And great way to research and write. I like the covers of your books, too. Susan

  4. Thank you for your kind thoughts and comments. :) The final draft of Book 3 in the Devils with Wings series, Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun, set in the bitter Russian Winter, temperatures dropping to -40 degrees. I will then start on Book 4 along with the first book in my new 'Cold War' series, the hypothetical invasion of West Germany by the Warsaw Pact in the 80's.

    If you check my Blog, Berlin, The Cold War Years, Parts 1 & 2, you will know where i am coming from with this.

    HB :)