I’ve written lots of author bios, running from the sincere (rarely) to the self-parodying (more common.) But I want in this bio to talk about why FRONT LINES matters to me and how I came to write it.
Like most people subjected to history as taught in school, I had no interest in history when I was a kid. For some reason, at least when I was a kid, (the paleolithic era), school taught history by taking out all the cool stuff and obsessing over dates.
Did you know that the very first allied bomb dropped on Germany’s capital killed an elephant in the Berlin zoo?
Did you know that one of the most brutal guards at Auschwitz death camp was Irma Grese, a teenager who became sexually aroused by torture? She was still only 22 years old when she was hanged for her crimes.
Have you heard of Chichi-Jima? That was a Japanese-held island where seven of eight American pilots who’d been shot down were eaten by Japanese officers. Yes, eaten. Why just seven out of eight? Because the eighth pilot was rescued by a US submarine and that man went on to be president George HW Bush.
Instead of cool, interesting stuff like that, you’re told to memorize December 7, 1941. Which you totally should do, but which is not inherently interesting.
Anyway, what happened with me is that I started coming across interesting stuff, and learning the creepy, strange, amazing stuff got me interested in the larger picture. History is the backstory of the human race. Literally everything around you, including the ideas in your head, are the product of history. So, yes, I got so I quite enjoyed history.
I worked bits of my interest into books I’ve written, like Animorphs, Everworld and Remnants which I wrote with my wife. And in Gone, BZRK, Magnificent 12 and Messenger of Fear. But I wanted to write about something big, something huge, and nothing is more huge than World War 2.
So, starting from my interest in history, and from my greed for good story, I needed a hook, a way in, a lens that would cause readers to look again at things they thought they kinda knew from school. So I added one major twist: I imagined that the Supreme Court had made women eligible for service.
Front Lines is the result: a story of three young (very young) women who find themselves in the biggest war in human history.
I am deeply aware that I am not a historian. In fact, I’m a high school drop-out. (Possibly because of 10th grade history.) But this is a passion project for me. I’ve wanted to write something like this for a long time. And unlike historians who would prefer to talk about generals and dictators and dates, I, as a fiction writer, can hopefully make it interesting, even fascinating. Even fun. (!)
Front Lines is not about generals and dictators and dates, it’s about realistic characters, girls and boys who become women and men. It’s about soldiers, regular young women with no superpowers or magic wands. They carry heavy rifles and heavier packs. They dig lots of holes. They freeze and they swelter. They are afraid and in love and homesick. And they kill.
I thought talking about these fictional but real young soldiers would be more interesting than this or that date.
I hope you’ll agree.