C.S. Taylor is a former Marine and avid fencer (saber for the most part, foil and epee are tolerable). He enjoys all things WWII, especially perfecting his dogfighting skills inside virtual cockpits, and will gladly accept any P-38 Lightnings anyone might wish to bestow upon him. He’s also been known to run a kayak through whitewater now and again, as well give people a run for their money in trap and skeet.
His latest book is the historical fiction, Nadya’s War.
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About the Book:
Title: NADYA’S WAR
Author: C.S. Taylor
Publisher: Tiny Fox Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: C.S. Taylor
Publisher: Tiny Fox Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Nadezdah "Little Boar" Buzina, a young pilot with the Red Army's 586th all-female fighter regiment, dreams of becoming an ace. Those dreams shatter when a dogfight leaves her severely burned and the sole survivor from her flight.
For the latter half of 1942, she struggles against crack Luftwaffe pilots, a vengeful political commissar, and a new addiction to morphine, all the while questioning her worth and purpose in a world beyond her control. It's not until the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad that she finds her unlikely answers, and they only come after she's saved the life of her mortal enemy and fallen in love with the one who nearly kills her.
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Thanks for this interview, Chris. Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?
Thank you for having me! From a writer’s standpoint I’ve been churning out stories one way or another since grade school, but it wasn’t until high school I wrote my first (awful) full-length manuscript. Well, it’s all relative, though, right? At the time it was good in that it’s always good to get that first “I wrote a book” milestone completed, even if it never sees the light of day. Since then, however, I’m glad to say I’ve gotten a lot better.
Currently I write historical fiction, obviously with Nadya’s War, but I do like dabbling in the wide swath of commercial fiction as well. I like to write stories that tackle new subjects or have completely new angles, which when I first started eyeing World War II, was hard to do as there’s already so much written about that war.
When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?
Find new authors to read or movies to watch. I’m a pretty big Dr Who fan, so every now and then I have to watch them all, tackling 1-2 a night for however long it takes. I also have a giant schnauzer that demands a lot of attention and exercise, so we go outside and burn calories together a lot.
Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?
13 August 1942
Anisovka, Saratovskaya Oblast
HEN I CLIMBED into my single-engine, low-wing fighter, praying to get my first kill, I never thought I’d fall in love with someone who’d have me shot.
I flew through my pre-flight checklist as fast as I could, verifying every setting and gauge in the cockpit. I was a last-minute substitution for a patrol near the Don River, and the added pressure of having to scramble put a tremor in my hands. I feared I would miss something that would prove deadly. A single overlooked item could be the difference between coming home in one piece and not coming home at all. And I had promised my little brother a game of cards when the war was over. I didn’t want to go to my grave knowing a fourteen year old had cleaned me out the last time we played.
“Nadya! Slow down!” Klara Rudneva shouted as she hopped on my plane’s wing. Her short stature and oversized male, khaki uniform made her look childish, but her face looked anything but. She reminded me of the famous operetta star, Anastasia Vyaltseva, as they both had the same lively smile, sparkling dark eyes, and angelic beauty. Despite the urgency in Klara’s voice, she gently slid a pair of goggles over my leather cap. “You’ll want to have these, Little Boar.”
I groaned as I set the trim and flaps to neutral in preparation for takeoff. “I wish you wouldn’t call me that. I’m not a boar.”
Klara was a mechanic at the airfield and had seen me off for all seven combat sorties I’d been on. She’d called me Little Boar since I’d arrived at the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment regardless of my constant objection. She gave the gritty harness that held my parachute on my back one solid tug before tightening my lap belt. “Little boars are hot headed and charge fearlessly at their enemy.”
“Boars are mean and ugly.”
“You are far from ugly, Nadya,” she said with a longing in her tone. “Not with those gorgeous cheek bones and golden locks of yours.”
“And fat head,” I tacked on. “You forgot to mention that, and you do think I’m mean.”
“Only when someone teases you about your Cossack heritage,” she replied, referring to an incident that had happened two days ago involving me and our commanding officer, and ended with me scrubbing floors for eight hours straight. “But if you are mean, be mean to the Germans. Be mean and deadly as my Little Boar should be.”
Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regard to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing? Can you tell us about your journey?
Anyone who has said smooth sailing, well, they’ve either won the lottery on the first try or are looking back with rose colored glasses, IMHO. There was a lot of writing really bad stuff along the way. Then there was writing somewhat bad stuff, but thinking it was good, and still getting lots of rejections. Then there were countless hours, days, weeks, months, years put into perfecting my craft (and its far from perfect) and finally writing something *gasp* good, and still getting rejections—the dreaded “I like this a lot, but I can’t sell it” came up more than once from some amazing agents I would’ve cut off a leg for.
If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?
A young pilot with the 586th all-female fighter regiment struggles against the Luftwaffe in 1942.
What makes your book stand out from the rest?
To the best of my knowledge, at this point, there is no other historical novel that deals with the 586th all-female fighter regiment. There are a few now that center around the Night Witches, a sister regiment, but I’m pretty sure I got the first one here, which is nice.
In addition to the focus being on some of the bravest female pilots you’ve likely never heard of, it’s not written in the typical WW2 novel fashion where there’s a heavy emphasis on the external war, battles, dogfights, etc. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of adrenaline-pumping scenes and some brutally realistic dogfights, but there’s an internal war that the main character goes through as well, and given that Nadya is obviously female, she has a very unique view of the historical events unfolding around here as compared to other characters in most other WW2 novels dealing with combat.
If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?
V-E Day. Does that count? Maybe Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day otherwise. Definitely not a Christmas / Thanksgiving / Valentine’s Day book, however. Well, you could probably give it on Christmas as a present to a huge WWII buff or anyone who like military / aviation history, but it’s not a jolly read.
Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?
Without giving away the ending, there’s potential to keep following the 586th as they did fight throughout the war, but only time will tell if I go that route.
What’s next for you?
In the immediate future, keep promoting Nadya’s War. In the slightly later immediate future, I’ve got to commit to my next novel (as in, this is what I’m going to write), buckle down, do my research and get a first draft together.