||||The Larks|||||All This Way for a Shilling|||||Yellow Impi|||||Back Burner|||||Other Nonsense|||||About Me|
This novel was a mighty learning curve. It started from a short story concerning a flight of SE5s and slowly morphed into 120,000 words that took me to places I hadn't planned. The dateline moved from 1918 to 1916, so the SE5s disappeared almost immediately. Then the plot development demanded a flashback to Gallipoli - and that took me completely by surprise.
Released in 2014, it climbed to a top-ten position in war fiction and drew considerable critical acclaim. Unfortunately, many readers hated the abruptness of the ending.
It took me more than two years to get over my preciousness and consider the possibility that they might be right. I'd left the principal character, quite literally in the air. The extended edition brings him back to earth and lets us into the secret of what happened to him next.
Born: 1st July 1896, Erdington, Birmingham
Initial rank: Second Lieutenant
A trainee draughtsman in civilian life, Andy joins the Royal Flying Corps in the summer of 1916. His initial piloting skills are relatively unimpressive but he quickly learns to survive long enough to become competent. Sensitive and mercurial, he struggles to make sense of a world where fear becomes an addiction.
Born: 3rd April 1895, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire
Initial Status: Volunteer Nurse, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry
Stainton is the daughter of Connie Hamilton, an acolyte of the privileged Paris café society. Despite her mother's somewhat Bohemian outlook, Stainton is reserved and individual. She's fiercely intelligent and has inherited her mother's energy and ambition, making her a powerful force.
Born: 24th January 1876, Condobolin, New South Wales
Initial Rank: First Lieutenant
Cubby joined the Australian Imperial Force in 1914. He was seriously injured in Gallipoli and joined the RFC for pilot training after his recovery. He volunteered as an observer before completing his pilot's ticket and joined 128 squadron in this capacity in January 1916.
Born: 18th November 1894, Ipswich, Suffolk
Initial Rank: Second Lieutenant
The son of a bishop, Colin has a relaxed, matter of fact view of life that seems to make him immune to the pressures and demands of front-line survival. Unlike Andy, he's an instinctive pilot with conspicuous skills from his first day on the squadron.