Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Bill: “… Fiona it is very nice of you to invite me.”
Fiona: “Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Bill: “My name Bill Fortin… and my age, well, as luck would have it… this year it has become my very favorite number…69. But, please don’t read anything more into that other than if you were to turn it upside down I would probably be dead!”
Fiona: Where are you from?
Bill:“Born and raised in the United States… Baltimore, Maryland to put a point on the GPS map coordinates.”
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Bill:“Married to a wonderful partner, Judy, three children from a previous marriage… we reside in Westminster, Maryland with 3 border collies, Moss, McGee, and Molly Jane. Two parrots, two cats, and two horses… served in the United States Army, 3rd Armor Division, from April 1968 to April 1970. Retired from Bell Labs in 2001, currently the CEO of IBS, Inc., specializing in systems engineering. Master’s in the Management Sciences from the University of Baltimore.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Bill: “I just submitted Book #2 to the editor. Besides the stress of all of the anticipated arm wrestling… there is the added commitment to provide payment for her expected therapy treatments. It just isn’t enough to cure ones insomnia anymore…
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Bill: “You’ll laugh at this… in 1969 I had a near death experience… I was struck by lightning. It was almost 45 years later that I was confronted with an overwhelming desire to revisit that time in my life. The research took seven months and the result… was a novel called Redeye Fulda Cold.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Bill: “The jury is still out on that question… The conversations I have put on paper are the same as the one we are having in this interview… if what I write invokes thought or just entertains then I guess the label can apply to me at some point…
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Bill: In 1968 I found myself standing in the Fulda Gap in the very Cold War. The realization, the importance, of that role… I really never understood. This part of world history was not known by most Americans. To finally understand what ‘we’ accomplished… by standing the watch on the East German border, provided an insight that had been missing in my education for over 40 plus years.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Bill: “The title, ‘Redeye Fulda Cold’, REDEYE denotes the first shoulder fired weapon system utilizing a ground to air missile. The infra-red tracking technology engineered by the General Dynamics Corporation provided the nickname.
Book 2, ‘Stinger: Operation Cyclone’, [Release date November 2017] is the second generation of the Redeye technology. This Cold War experience takes place in the 1980’s providing a solution to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Bill: “Yes, I was told after I had submitted the Redeye manuscript that telling thestory with a 1st person perspective was unusual. However, the comments on Amazon and several of the professional reviews were very flattering. So…
I sent a draft chapter outline of Stinger written in the 3rd person to a SF, [Special Forces Operative] a Green Beret’, who told me that he would have me killed if I didn’t change the main character back to a conversation in the 1stperson. Truthfully, the 1st person is much easier for me to tell the story…”
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Bill: “The two mostly asked questions …Number one, how long…did it take to write it? And, the second most asked… ‘Did that really happen?’In other words… ‘How much of what you wrote was based on personal experience?’
Redeye was at least 60% real… the people, the places, and the weapons… were formulated on past memories and research of that time period. Stinger, on the other hand, while based on the history of events in the 1980’s, has included several famous people of the time, but, provides a storyline and conversation that are 100% fiction.”
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Bill: “When I retired from Bell Lab’s in 2001, I had completed a 37 year career in the Bell System. The last 15 of those years I spent in the international markets. Besides the year in Germany in 69, I have lived-in and traveled in 39 countries. The sales territory, planet earth, will allow me to forgo the need to travel… hopefully for at least the next 100 years…”
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Bill: “I designed the basic graphics, Steven Walker [S.R. Walker Designs] put it to the canvas… so to speak.”
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Bill: “Absolutely, it was George Santayana who said, “Thoseof us who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The forgotten history of the Cold War is what I hope to bring to the attention of the reader.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is yourfavorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Bill: “This is a great question. I found Mark Greaney in 2013 when I was trying to understand the Catch-22 marketing protocols;designed to keep all new author publications completely secret from thepublished marketplace. Mark had released several of the Gray Man series by this time… he had just joined up with Tom Clancy and has been on fire ever since. Mark is one talented guy… he has been extremely supportive.
Barry Eisler redefined… for me at least… the true meaning of the term action packed. Yes, I would suggest anyone showjumping his storyline character, John Rain, should be wearing a seat belt while turning the pages…
WEB Griffin, Bill Butterworth and son, I would say… have had the most influence on my writing. I find one of the traits I look for in a novel is its appeal to be revisited after a time. I have reread every one of their stories several times… over the years…”
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Bill: “That’s easy… my editor, Donna, will be released from psychotherapy just in time to put the finishing touches on Book #2. Seriously, Donna took Redeye to a professional level after I left XLIBRIS in 2014. She has been and is still very much an important part of my writing.”
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Bill: “No, but it certainly has been a pleasant addition to the daily conversation.”
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Bill: “Another interesting consideration… no, the stories and their characters are as real as I could have made them… no changes.”
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Bill: “Oh yes, a glance back into the events of the Cold Warhas provided a front row seat to understand our presentglobal circumstance.”
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Bill: “Chris Pine as Rick Fontain and Kevin Costner at Bill Douglas. Also, there would be a whole lot of 60’s rock & roll songs…”
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Bill: “No… other than to say I found the story telling to be the easy bit… it’s the marketing that is not for the faint of heart.”
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Bill: “The Cold War did not end in 1989… if you don’t believe me… just ask the people living in the Ukraine.”
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“A. J. Tata’s “Three Minutes to Midnight” which actually turned into three days later at 3AM in the morning… Tony is an actual warrior who has walked the walk and has a writing style that infuses the action right into your very soul…”
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Bill: “See Jane Run… Run, Run, Run… [Just kidding] It wasn’t the very first book… but one that I will always remember… Heller’s Catch-22. Yossarian seemed to capture the essence of what it must be like for Senate leader Mitch McConnell.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Bill: “The mailman… depends on the time of the month.”
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Bill: “Former US President Ronald Regan… a true conservative thinker.”
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Bill: “Besides sky diving and rock climbing; which is a complete lie… I spend a lot of time reading.”
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Bill: “Fox News… every morning to check to see if World War V has started…”
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Bill: “I’ve been on a seafood diet all my life… see food and eat it… Anything Italian and both kinds of music… Country & Western!”
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Bill: “I guess I would need to register as a Democrat… or just watch Opera reruns.”
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Bill: “I’ve been told that I must die on trash day… however, there will be a note in my pocket that will say that I was loved, trustworthy, and a very capable man…”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?