Tony Blackman is well known in the Military History world with his successful non-fiction titles, Victor Boys and Vulcan Test Pilot…just to name a few. He has made the leap into the Fiction Genre and has published a wonderful selection of Aviation Mystery Books. His upcoming title, Dire Strait is a very unusual story about a mystery submarine in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. It is the sixth book in a series featuring Peter Talbert, insurance investigator. The other titles are Blind Landing, The Final Flight, The Right Choice, Flight to St. Antony, and Now You See it.
However, in order to learn more about Tony and his fascinating career as a Test Pilot and Author…we decided to ask him a few questions:
When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer? What inspired you?
When I left the Board of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, I realized that I had been very fortunate because I had spent my whole life in the Aerospace Industry teaching, flying, testing, marketing, designing and developing the latest electronics, and finally becoming a regulator. My life had always been driven by technology…and self- publishing was just coming on stream, so I sat down and wrote my first book. It was an autobiography, but I didn’t realize at the time that I could have easily found a publisher. Then…the very first Avro Vulcan Mk2 delta bomber (which I had delivered to the Royal Air Force) was about to fly again, and so started my association with Grub Street, with whom I have now done four books.
What triggered you to start writing fiction after becoming so well established in the non-fiction genre?
When I had finished my Vulcan book I knew I could write, and I always had a good imagination. Flight Safety fascinated me and unfortunately accidents always happened, no matter how safe the aircraft seemed to be. I realized that there was a gap in reality because the accident investigators only wanted to understand the accidents. They tried preventing the accidents from occurring, while the airlines, the insurance companies, and the pilots, were all involved commercially when an accident occurred. It seemed only sensible to invent a hero whose job it was to point where the liability rested, so he could defend his clients if he could. So needless to say…Peter Talbert was born, and I decided that he had to have a personal life as well as a technical one.
How much research do you complete for your fiction titles in comparison to your non-fiction titles?
Research is important for any writer. I often find that I have to work harder and harder for each fiction book that I write because I don’t have experience in the subject. However, I have found that the Internet used sensibly is a superb tool. For my first book, no research needed to be completed since I was almost an expert on the subject that I was writing about. This first book included topics like automatic landing, electronics and aircraft maintenance. In my second book, I was able to write as a result of my experience at the Civil Aviation Authority, and they controlled the UK National Air Traffic System at the time. I also had the experience of demonstrating aircrafts in the third world. However, as Peter Talbert’s character evolved and I continued to write, I needed to do some further research in order for the fictional story to remain true to what is was being based around.
My latest book was only possible because I had test flown the Nimrod maritime aircraft. I had researched the latest developments when writing my book Nimrod Rise and Fall, but that wasn’t enough. I had to learn a little about the hunted, the submarines, as well as the hunter. For my next fiction book, I need to learn about valuable paintings and the scams that occur because Peter Talbert’s wife is a director of the Canberra National Gallery.
Keep your eye out for Tony Blackman’s newest Fiction Release Dire Strait! It will become available in the coming weeks in Print as well as an eBook! If you want to learn more about Tony and his books Click Here