Today’s guest is Lou Faulkner. Welcome, Lou and thanks for answering my questions.
What inspired you to write your story for the anthology?
A memory of a joy-ride in a Tiger Moth, and seeing the earth fall away under me while becoming immeasurably bigger. A book on the work of reconnaissance airmen in the Battle of the Somme. A line in that book saying that pilots and observers had to have complete trust and confidence in each other. Looking at the cover illustration to that book, and realising that yes, they really did fight their aircraft with the observer standing on the rim of his cockpit without safety harness of any kind, while the pilot had no guns of his own. No kidding they needed to trust each other.
Could you tell me a little about it?
It’s the last twenty-four hours before the Battle of the Somme begins, and as always, the airmen of the Royal Flying Corps leave the ground not knowing whether or not they will return alive – or whether their greatest risk comes from the enemy, or from the uncertain technology of their own aircraft.
Could you please tell me about your other work?
I write mostly military history. The built-in conflicts are legion, between nations, and between honour, duty, and common humanity.
What are you working on at the moment?
A novel set during the mid-eighteenth century. France and Britain, as so often, are slugging it out, this time for the rule of the high seas, while the scientific discoveries of the Enlightenment gather pace all over the known world.
Please could we have an excerpt?
From the Pride of Poppies story:
They sat for a moment in silence, drinking in the stillness, the lack of vibration, and dear God, the safety of home. Then Mitchell took off helmet and goggles, half-stood and shrugged out of the bulky jacket and chucked it onto the concrete. Vince’s joined it a moment later.
The air was warm and damp on Mitchell’s face, after the chill of the upper air; somewhere high above, where they’d been just a few minutes ago, a skylark was singing.
“You’re landing’s improving,” said Vince judiciously.
“Thank-you, O gracious one.” And Mitchell sketched a half-bow before clambering out onto the wing-step, from where he jumped to terra firma.
The first time he had come into this airfield after his initial familiarisation flight, he had made one of the worst landings that ever a man walked away from. A sudden gust of wind, an up-draught from the line of trees that had not yet been felled, as the airfield was then so new; the squadron’s old BE2c had been tossed up thirty feet and he’d tried to side-slip the height off instead of going round again.
“Bloody Australians!” his flight-commander had roared as he scrambled out from the twanging wires and creaking undercarriage of the all but undamaged machine – “D’you always have to fly upside down?”
I live in a small house (full of books) with a big garden, in Australia. Writing is the only way I know to stop the ideas from bugging me.
A Pride of Poppies – an anthology from Manifold Press
Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War
Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?
A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.
An anthology featuring authors: