Welcome to Delighted Reader! We are excited to have
M.L. Buchman here to talk about his new book, Pure Heat.
Pure Heat is a story that goes into depth into the ins and outs of fighting forest fires. How much research did it take to get all the details right? Or do you have a background in fire fighting?
Like my “Night Stalkers” series, it’s 100% research. Like any young boy, I always thought firefighters were seriously cool, especially after the volunteer fire department came out to do a planned burn on our back field (I grew up, at last partly, in a town of twelve hundred people and ten thousand head of dairy cow in upstate New York.)
I had the helicopter research done from my U.S. Army research. But to shift over to wildfire, I subscribed to several industry blogs specifically on wildfire and wildfire aviation. I read many personal accounts and memoirs, visited firefighting museums, studied equipment manufacturer sites, and talked to people. Then I let my imagination wander.
With drones helping out fighting fighters, what made you think to have a separate drone that was military class?
Actually, it is still very rare, due to FAA rules, to use drones to help on fire fighting. I spoke with someone who flew some test drones for NASA over wildfire. But the brand of drone I chose to emulate is being used very heavily by the military. So, as I researched the military drones, it became only natural to incorporate that into my wildfire romantic suspense. I know. It sounds terribly unlikely and convoluted, but that’s the way storytelling works for me, by following the winding path through the woods that leads to strange and interesting places.
Being male in a mostly female word of writing romances, what is your biggest challenge to overcome?
Surprise. Women are always surprised that a guy can write romance. My wife tells me its not a surprise at all once you know me, but then she thinks I’m pretty special anyway (it’s entirely mutual). I’ve always told love stories; even my heavy-duty apocalyptic science fiction Nara has love stories running all through it. Maybe it was being raised on Broadway musicals and all of those Crosby-Astaire-Kelly movies. I’ve also always written strong women at the core of my books. The leap to romance, at least for this male, was not a very far one. My three favorite movies genres are: romantic comedy (first), science fiction, and then thriller (drama, horror, and large rubber monsters—not so much). Who doesn’t want to laugh along with people falling in love? Okay, most males apparently don’t, but I sure don’t understand why.
Could you share a brief intro into your new series, Firehawks?
Firehawks is first and foremost a romance, because I do so love telling a love story. It is set in a world of wildland firefighters, mostly in the world of those who fly helicopters to fire. (Almost all of my experience of helicopters is research, but still I find them utterly fascinating.) Beyond fighting wildfires, “Firehawks” is a spin-off of my “Night Stalkers” series. Majors Emily Beale and Mark Henderson retire from the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to fight fire. Well, that could never be enough for them, so I throw military problems at their civilian teams, because you never know what you will find out in the woods.
Do you have the Firehawks series mapped out? How many books do you see in the future?
I originally sold it as a three-book series and have two planned shorter novels for side characters (Akbar, the lead smokejumper for the team, will get his own story on June 1.) But like the Night Stalkers, it is a flexible world and I can think of many places to go and the love stories to take them there.
In December, Full Blaze will find true love for Jeannie Clark who flies through a hard landing in the Pure Heat blaze.
What’s one thing not in your bio, that people don’t know about you?
If I had a different ear, I’d have been a musician. It took me decades to understand that I was slightly tone deaf and could never create the music I so love listening to (I always have music on when I’m writing: jazz, opera, country, rock—it doesn’t matter.) Six years of piano, fifteen of guitar, four of operatic voice lessons, banjo, fiddle, flute, percussion…I ended up working as a soundman in live theater and concerts for several years to assuage my own inability to create music.
Then I discovered fiction writing and that seems to fill in that part of me very nicely.
Thank you for joining us today! We had a blast getting to know you and your Firehawks!
Thanks for having me. If folks want to keep up with my writing, they can sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.mlbuchman.com.
Pure Heat received STARRED reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist!
The elite fire experts of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can’t penetrate. Carly Thomas could read burn patterns before she knew the alphabet. A third-generation forest fire specialist who lost both her father and her fiancé to the flames, she’s learned to live life like she fights fires: with emotions shut down. Former smokejumper Steve “Merks” Mercer can no longer fight fires up close and personal, but he can still use his intimate knowledge of wildland burns as a spotter and drone specialist. Assigned to copilot a Firehawk with Carly, they take to the skies to battle the worst wildfire in decades and discover a terrorist threat hidden deep in the Oregon wilderness−but it’s the heat between them that really sizzles.
Sourcebooks Casablanca has graciously offered one paperback copy of Pure Heat by M.L. Buchman to one lucky commenter. To enter, leave a comment below.
US only. Giveaway ends May 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM EDT.