Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Author Interview: Pete Abela
Tell us about your novel Wings.
Wings is a stirring, cross-generational account of the love of flying inspired by the true story of Walt, a WWII RAF pilot, and his grandson Scott who has his sights set on becoming a modern day airline pilot.
Wings weaves together two tales: one set in war-torn northern England, and the other set in the modern-day Illawarra region of New South Wales. As Scott learns about the sacrifices and difficulties Walt overcame to take to the sky, he battles his own challenges in order to follow his dream. As Scott progresses, his grandfather declines – Walt loses his wife, his sight and his hearing – but throughout these difficulties is still there to offer support and encouragement. In following Scott's progress towards his dream, Walt also keeps alive the wonder of his own youth. With insights into the modern day aviation scene and life in the Royal Air Force of World War II, this is a must for anyone who has an interest in history, aviation or simply an old fashioned love story.
Is aviation a passion of yours?
Passion might be overstating it, but I do have a strong interest. Aviation is a theme in my family – my grandfather was a pilot, my brother is a pilot and my father must be one of the world’s greatest exponents of Flight Simulator. Next to them, I’m a mere idler. My only claim to fame on the aviation front is that I collect Biggles books and hold 91 of them.
Do you think the golden days of aviation are behind us?
My grandfather certainly reckons that is the case. With modern advances (eg planes capable of pulling multiple Gs and computerized flight control) the balance has shifted to the technology and the pilot is akin to a passenger (his words!). In the 1920s and earlier, the planes were quite primitive and not always capable of supporting what their pilots were trying to achieve. He says that the thirties and forties were the golden age, with man and machine in close to perfect balance. It was during this short period of ten or twenty years that planes and pilots were well-matched. It’s an interesting theory.
What are your strengths as a writer? What do you feel you do well?
I write in a lean and uncluttered style which makes my books easy to read and digest. I am also able to craft natural sounding dialogue and keep my stories moving at a nice pace.
What are your weaknesses? Where do you feel you could improve?
The downside of my lean style is that I sometimes fail to impart sufficient descriptive text which can make it hard for the reader to imagine either the setting or the physical actions and reactions of my characters. This is one of the main things I focus on when I edit. I’m always asking myself, “What expressions / movements would the character make in that situation?” and “Do I have sufficient information to enable the reader to picture the scene?”
If you had to write a soundtrack for Wings what 5 songs would you have to include?
That’s a tough one because I’m not really a music fan. My gut reaction is to pick at least one song from World War II (eg “We’ll meet again”) and a song or two from the Top Gun Soundtrack (“Dangerzone” or “Take My Breath Away”). I’m struggling to come up with any others, which I think highlights another of my weaknesses: namely, a lack of ability to identify soundtracks for my novels.
Can you tell us anything about your second novel?
My second novel is about a first time Dad called Gary. Through the course of his wife’s pregnancy, his job is threatened and he is consumed with worry about the financial future. When his son is born with a life-threatening condition he faces a new set of concerns which throws a whole new perspective onto his earlier difficulties.
Gary ultimately faces a dilemma. On the one hand, the offer of money and promotion, offset by a long commute and less family time; on the other, little money but ample opportunity to spend time with his new family.
It is essentially a medical drama, tracing Gary’s experiences through job loss, the birth of a child, medical emergency and the sometimes contradictory forces of family and finance.
Where can my readers find you online?
You can find me at:
Thanks again for interviewing me. It was great fun.
Pete is an author from the city of Wollongong, just south of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia.
For most of his adult life, Pete has been a left-brained computer scientist whose love of reading eventually led him to take up writing. Having surprised himself and those around him by getting Wings published, he’s now having fun dreaming up marketing strategies and publicity stunts – tasks he never could have envisaged doing ten years ago. He continues to stretch the boundaries of his right hemisphere and is now working to complete a second novel.
His left brain hasn’t been totally neglected through this process. Pete works as an IT Manager in order to help keep his wife and four kids fed and clothed. When he’s not working, reading, writing or enjoying the company of his family, Pete likes to sneak away for a bit of exercise – either tennis, soccer or a laborious run.