Welcome to the November 9th stop on the blog tour for VBT Jungleland by M.T. Bass, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, excerpts, other guest posts by the author, and possible even some reviews! Oh, and a giveaway. More on that at the end of this post. I’m going to let M.T. Bass take it away now and then I’ll be back at the end to tell you about the book.
Hey! Who Put That There?
There are a lot of moving parts in a novel—especially a military story…in a foreign land…with a wide variety of “colorful” characters. And Jungleland is one of those stories. The main character, Hawk, finds himself flying with C.I.A. recruited pilots supporting a mixture of South African, Rhodesian, British, Belgian, and German mercenaries on the ground, fighting Simba rebels in the jungles of Congo during the early 1960s—not to mention the civilians, missionaries, and a young female doctor caught in the crossfire.
I had a basic idea of my story, but first off I needed some maps. It was a bit of a challenge because all the names had been changed to protect the innocent, I guess. Congo is now Zaire. Léopoldville, Elizabethville, and Stanleyville are now Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Kisangani. And, of course, I needed a better understanding of the region’s history. Thank God for the Internet.
Being a hot ember in the cold war between the communists and the United States, the only way to “put eyes” on the situation was to dig out contemporary written accounts of the action. I read everything I could find: from the C.I.A. station chief in Léopoldville to a Navy SEAL serving on Lake Tanganyika to mercenary leader “Mad” Mike Hoare to Che Guevara. But this is fiction, not fact, so I focused closely on the details because the little things make the world real to readers:
What kind of airplanes did the pilots fly? T-6 Texans.
What kind of beer did the El Toros drink? Makasi and Simba.
What kinds of rifles were used? The mercenaries used FN FALs and the rebels used AK-47s.
And—creepily—”how busy clouds of brilliant-coloured butterflies were whirling over the scene and dense concentrations of the insects sat sipping the oozing blood” of the dead and wounded.
Of course, the chief scenery feature of Jungleland is—wait for it—the jungle. Having never been in Congo, YouTube videos brought the sub-Saharia African “rain forest” home for me. I also watched the movie Virunga, which portrayed how a team of brave individuals risked their lives to protect the last mountain gorillas in the jungle of the Virunga National Park. More than that, I also sought out audio soundscapes that let me hear walls of cicadas through which occasional Hornbill calls penetrate, and every now and then a troupe of chimps or small monkeys becoming alarmed at trespassers in their midst.
But this wasn’t a David Attenborough Planet Earth video series. It was the battleground for a savagely fought civil war. Listening to Jocko Willink’s podcast as he interviewed Vietnam era Navy SEALs on their experiences fighting the Viet Cong there gave me a great deal of information on jungle warfare, especially being swallowed up by the darkness on the ground. It’s bad you can’t see, but, then again, neither can the enemy. Or being spooked by monkeys, button-hooking to clear behind you, and how when the jungle noise goes quiet, that means some large animal (man or tiger) is moving through the area.
The one person who most influenced me for this story was a Tuskegee Airmen I have had the immense pleasure of meeting on several occasions. I’ve also heard him give a few presentations about his service flying P-51 Mustangs in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Hearing him talk about how if he were ever shot down over Europe, he would never be able to hide out among the population on the ground there had quite an effect on me and plays into Hawk’s experience flying combat in Africa.
If you are interested, make sure you read his autobiography: Keep Your Airspeed Up by LTC Harold H. Brown, USAF, Retired.
Wow, what an opportunity to talk to a WWII airforce veteran! I studied history myself, and while I primarily studied the Canadian and British perspectives, I focused on 20th century war history, and I loved reading autobiographies from the airmen on all sides. Your passion for getting these details just right has convinced me to add your work to my TBR!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
About the Book
White Hawk Aviation Stories Book Two
by M.T. Bass
Published 22 October 2020
by Electron Alley Publishing
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction
Page Count: 221
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
“There are only two types of aircraft: fighters and targets.” ~Doyle ‘Wahoo’ Nicholson, USMC
Sweating it out in the former Belgian Congo as a civil war mercenary, with Sparks turning wrenches on his T-6 Texan, Hawk splits his time flying combat missions and, back on the ground, sparring with Ella, an attractive young missionary doctor, in the sequel to My Brother’s Keeper.
About the Author
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.
Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.
One lucky follower of the tour will win a $50 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice! Don’t forget to check out other stops on the tour.
October 26: Straight From the Library
October 27: Christine Young
October 27: Novels Alive
October 28: Andi’s Book Reviews
October 29: All the Ups and Downs
October 30: Fabulous and Brunette
November 2: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
November 4: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
November 5: Unabridged Andra’s
November 5: Welcome to My World of Dreams
November 6: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
November 9: Westveil Publishing
November 10: Gimme The Scoop Reviews
November 11: Readers Roost
November 12: Our Town Book Reviews
November 13: Long and Short Reviews
November 16: The Obsessed Reader
November 17: BooksChatter
November 18: Jazzy Book Reviews
November 19: Author C.A. Milson
November 20: It’s Raining Books
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