I am pleased to welcome author J.B. Rivard today in support of his book, Dead Heat to Destiny. I received no compensation for this post.
About Dead Heat to Destiny:
Three young adults
Two continents in conflict
One unforgettable clash
It’s the early 20th century. Belgian beauty Adrienne Boch pursues her dream, a career in the booming world of fashion. Cousin Gregor Steiner attends the officer academy of the Imperial German Navy. Will Marra, an American studying in Paris, meets and falls in love with Adrienne.
World War One begins. German troops invade Belgium, causing Adrienne’s family to flee to Paris. Gregor, haunted at sea by the sight of hundreds of sailors dying in the sinking of a German cruiser, is selected to captain a U-boat. Will returns to the U.S.A. as the German Army advances toward Paris. Rather than finishing college, Will joins the U.S. Army to learn to fly. Meanwhile, Adrienne establishes a boutique fashion house in Paris.
In Central America, Germany secretly recruits a spy while the U.S. arms the Panama Canal as it anticipates entering the war.
Adrienne, fearing for Gregor and warming to Will, corresponds with both while considering an offer to lead the fashion department of I. Magnin & Co., the luxury store of San Francisco.
As global tension rises, Will, Adrienne, Gregor, and the spy fight for their beliefs. In the riveting conclusion—with life and love in the balance—four lives converge in an unexpected, epic clash.
About the Author:
With his latest book, LOW ON GAS – HIGH ON SKY, J.B. Rivard turns to nonfiction with the thrilling true adventures of a record-setting U.S. aviator.
The book is a finalist in 2 national book awards: The IAN “Book of the Year” and the American Book Fest “Best Book” awards. It is a Winner in the 2020 Reader Views Literary Awards: Second Place in the History competition.
As a writer of fiction, Rivard knows the thrall of dramatic events; as an engineer, he adds deep knowledge of technology, and, as proved in his previous books, he excels when baring the grit of U.S. life in the 1920-1930s. Together, these elements contribute to a volume that one reader calls, “at once compelling, informative, and entertaining.”
As a young child, Rivard began drawing by copying newspaper comics. In his teens, he drew illustrations for his high school’s award-winning yearbook. He attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and his artworks have appeared in more than fifty juried exhibitions, earning many prizes and awards. He’s an artist-member of the Salmagundi Club of New York City.
Rivard’s writing builds on his wide experience–he served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and on the research staff of a U.S. National Laboratory where he wrote and co-authored technical papers listed on Google Scholar.
His broad background supports a wide array of significant publications, from short stories to essays, from novels to history. With Anya Carlson, he’s completed the screenplay adaptation of his novel, Illusions of Magic, and their book, ILLUSIONS OF MAGIC:THE MOVIE. He calls Spokane, Washington home.
“Korean War Veteran Pens Epic New Cinematic WWI Novel” – Veterans Today
5-Star Review: “…a masterful tale that balances the suspense and intrigue of an international wartime spy thriller with the sensitivity of a deeply emotional drama” – Readers’ Favorite
“A tour de force” – Reader Views
Interview with J.B. Rivard
- What inspired you to write “Dead Heat to Destiny”?
Researching the early life of aviator Nick Mamer for my nonfiction book “Low on Gas – High on Sky” confirmed Nick’s service in the Army’s 7th Aero squadron in 1917-18. Although an enlisted man without formal flight training, Nick amassed more than four hours piloting a rickety Curtiss biplane in observation and training flights over the Panama Canal. This introduced me to the United States’ preparations for entering World War I in 1917.
- What was the research process like for this book?
Although much research on the US Army’s fledgling Aviation Section had been done, much more was needed to support the four main characters of the novel. This research included the German invasion of Belgium and France in 1914, details of the booming fashion industry in Paris 1910-1917, the buildup of the German Imperial Navy and its advances in U-boat design, the operation of Etappendienst, the German spy agency, the pursuit of Pancho Villa by General Pershing’s Army in 1916, and much, much more. It was in-depth and exhausting, but also rewarding by increasing my ability to convey the realities of these experiences.
- Something that’s quite unique about “Dead Heat to Destiny” is how cinematic it is. It’s quite the page-turner! How did you accomplish this?
Writing my earlier crime novels taught me a lot about pace. As an admirer of Elmore Leonard’s novels, I often refer to his suggestions in The New York Times article (2001) “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle.” Sol Stein’s 1995 book Stein on Writing says modern readers, rather than being ‘told,’ are attuned by movies and TV to ‘seeing’ stories cinematically. He cautions modern writers to avoid static description and backstory in favor of immersing the reader directly into scenes. I often plunge the reader into a scene in which the action is underway—this seems to speed up pace.
- You served in the military for 4 years. Did you draw on your experiences while writing “Dead Heat to Destiny”?
Yes, but probably not how you might think. What I learned is that military aviation is a serious business—a wrong move has consequences. But for writing about war, battles and such, my participation in a number of nuclear blasts over the Pacific Ocean in 1962 probably contributes.
- What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Adults of the 21st century are well-aware how unpleasant war is for participants—civilian as well as military. But war’s brutalities also force participants to face and endure realities that illuminate their character and the sometimes impossible choices they face. My story suggests how the war of a century ago impacted friend and foe—for both good and evil. I hope readers find the story enjoyable!