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Friday, February 28, 2014

Calling all history and car enthusiasts, J. E. Pendleton- The Special

The cover of this novel says it all! Immediately my mind flashes back to a time long before I was born, when America and the world were entirely different. Look for my review in the near future.

The idea behind the book:

A call from a stranger leads me on a journey I could never have imagined. The caller said he had my uncle’s car. How could this be? My uncle died in WW II when his plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscay off the coast of England. After some questioning I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity to learn a bit about the uncle I had heard about my entire life, an uncle who died 3 years before I was born, an uncle I had always wanted to know more about. I also was being given the gift of a car that had been built by this uncle’s own hands and the hands of those he had been close to in his final years. The real treasure was the bond I formed with a man and the incredible story he told. The story of my uncle, the building of the car, and the people they both loved. The Special is a fact based novel; the story of family, love and trust in the face of worldwide catastrophe. In 1941 Billy Pendleton hitch-hiked to California to seek his fortune; little did he know what the future would bring. After encouragement from his new found friend and landlord he is soon building an automobile to set speed records and rubbing elbows with some of the legends of motor racing history. Into this heady world walked the woman that would change his life forever. As the car is built romance blooms and the world slips into a war that will touch every person on the planet.

Author Biography:

J. E. (Jim) Pendleton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He has had an interest in automobiles and history for most of his life. He spent several years as an SCCA road racer and a lifetime involved with hotrods. It wasn't until after he retired from a long career in the telecommunications industry that Jim decided to pursue another of his dreams and write his
first book.

His first novel, The Special, was born from his love of family, hotrods and history. These are topics that are sure to be the center of future works. He is currently working on a series of novels where a young China Marine watches regional conflict explode into what becomes World War II. Jim has long considered World War II the single most important historical event of the twentieth century. His father fought in the Pacific and his uncle, Billy Pendleton is the main character in The Special and was lost in the Battle of the Atlantic.

J. E. Pendleton is a member of Military Writers Society of America and LexiCon Writers Group. He still resides in Texas with his wife and family.

Interview with Jim Pendleton

Elle: Tell a little about yourself 

Jim: I am a retired telecommunications area manager. I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. I am married to my beautiful wife Nancy and we have three wonderful kids and six extraordinary grandkids. I was born shortly after the end of WW II. My father was a veteran of the Marine Corps and took part in several pivotal battles in the Pacific. His only sibling, an older brother named Billy, was in the Navy and fought in the Battle of the Atlantic hunting German submarines flying out of southern England. His B-24 was attacked by a pair of German fighters south of the Irish coast in February of 1944. In the ensuing battle one of the German fighters and my uncle's B-24 were both shot down. The only witness to the battle was the remaining German fighter, so my uncle and his crew were listed as MIA, Missing In Action. The uncertainty of this event left a lingering doubt in my grandparent's and father's mind about what actually happened to Billy and they never gave up hope that maybe he was alive somewhere. When I was born both my parents worked and my grandparents kept me during the day. Those years in their house immersed me in the memory of my lost uncle and the family's great loss leading to my
writing of The Special.

Elle: What is your latest writing accomplishment? 

Jim: I have written rough drafts of two more books that will become a series about the origin of WW II. The series title is Soldier of the Sea, the first book is entitled Salt Winds and the second is Gobi Dust. The story begins with an orphan boy in Chicago and the tale of how he becomes a U. S. Marine and ends up in Shanghai, China in 1933. The second book is about his adventures on a scientific/espionage expedition into the Gobi Desert. My plan is for the books to tell the story of the conflict that develops in China and eventually breaks into WW II. The story is little known in the U. S. and will be told through the experiences of a young Marine corporal, one of the famous "China Marines".

 Elle: What was your inspiration for your latest work?

Jim: The "China Marines" were a small group of U.S. Marines stationed in China between 1927 and 1941. The U.S. and many of the European powers were heavily involved with the China trade during this time. Marines were stationed in China to protect American citizens, mostly businessmen and missionaries. It was an exotic and volatile era in the far East, especially China. Japan was an emerging world power and the stage was being set for the conflict that would determine the future of the Pacific. As I read about the events of this period I was taken in by the intrigue and little known events that built predictably into the raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Elle: Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Jim: I have another rough draft nearing completion set in Fort Worth, Texas during the Great Depression. It is a tale about wealth, power and corruption and how normal people fought back.

Elle: How long have you been writing and how did you fall into it?

Jim: I've been writing for about ten years. My first book, The Special, came about while I was building an unusual automobile. The project was a ground up build, but I found myself barraged by questions about where the car came from. A story began to form inside my head and before long it consumed me to the point I had to write it down or go crazy. Once I started writing, I found that I enjoyed it a great deal. I wish I had started much earlier.

Elle: Please tell us a little about your writing process. 

Jim: I write in longhand using a fountain pen on spiral notebooks. The feel of the pen on the paper is part of my creative process. The problem with it is that it leaves me with a manuscript that is illegible to most people and so my wonderful wife Nancy types the book from my collection of scratching. It is impossible to give her too much credit for the work she does to turn an idea into a real book. I write in the evenings after supper. It is not uncommon for me to write until almost midnight.  I have an office full of maps and research books that contribute greatly to my writing.

Elle:  What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work? 

Jim: I was lucky to have a generous wife that has put every bit as much work into this process as I have. After completion, my first manuscript sat in a drawer for a long time because we didn't know what to do. During the time it sat the indie pub revolution was in progress. We decided this was the perfect vehicle for us to publish the book ourselves.

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Jim: I have three favorite authors and they are W.E.B. Griffin, Bernard Cornwell, and Patrick O'Brien in no particular order. My favorites from Griffin are "The Corps" series and also "The Brotherhood of War" series. They are both excellent. My favorites from Cornwell are "Saxon Tales" and "Sharpe" series, I love them both. Last, but far from least is O'Brien and his superlative "Aubrey Maturin" series. All of these books are excellent and have influenced me
greatly. I can not recommend them enough.

Elle: Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Jim: There is a great deal of information available online for indie authors. We were lucky enough to find a local group of authors at their inception called the Lexicon Group and our experience with those folks has been a great benefit. We also joined World Literary Café and found them quite helpful as well. I am also a member of the Military Writer's Society of America, another great organization.

Elle: What genre or genres do you write and why?

Jim: I write mostly military fiction set in a specific historical period. These are the things that interest me most having grown up in a military influenced family. All of us owe so much to those men and women that put their lives on the line daily to protect our way of life it is impossible to pay them back. My books try to tell their stories so that they won't be forgotten. The least we can do is to remember their sacrifice.

Book Reviews: (not my review. I will post mine in a future blog)

"I can't recommend this book highly enough," HopUp Magazine Jan 2013 issue. "First of all, the car on the cover has been in Hop Up, built by a friend of Hop Up; or you may have seen it at Lone Star Roundup.

Jim began to write the story of his 'Special' build...and the story got legs, became a smash of a first novel and God knows where it will lead. Don't miss it: cars, lakes history all the right names of the prewar, wartime and immediate post war, a little bit of sex and intrigue and excellent development of characters and plots that, well, professional writers can do."

Where to find J.E. Pendleton
Whitehall Publishing
The Special at Amazon

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