This past weekend I found another reference book for my work-in-progress. For nearly a year I've been deliberately adding to my collection of historical resources. But I didn't suspect how long I'd been collecting.
In my latest acquisition – a book about U.S. Army Aviation during the First World War – a photo of one aircraft reminded me how long this story has been percolating.
In September 1970, my father took me to the Bryan, Ohio, airport to see a De Havilland DH4 that was re-enacting the fiftieth anniversary of transcontinental airmail service. The next day the Bryan Times was filled with accounts of the town's place in aviation history. In a shoebox of old photos, I'm sure I still have black-and-white snapshots of that biplane.
That event was far from my conscious memory when I began crafting my novel. Somehow it just seemed right for my hero to be a pilot in the Upper Midwest, who in 1925 was flying a DH4 powered by a V-12 Liberty engine.
Maybe it's true what they say about writing what you know – even if at first you don't remember it.