I’m pleased to announce that the draft of my new novel, Reach for the Sky, is finished. At 147,067 words and 567 typed pages, it’s the largest novel I’ve ever written.
Reach for the Sky begins in southern California in 1928. It opens with a fifteen-year old girl, Shannon Donnelly, burying her murdered parents in a shallow grave in the desert during a nighttime thunderstorm, one step ahead of the killers who are now after her.
Reach for the Sky centers around a young girl with a dream to fly and the times and challenges she goes through to achieve her dreams. The novel covers the Golden Age of Aviation (1930s-1940s), the Great Depression, 1930s Hollywood, feuding Irish Clans, and the WASP program of WWII, in which women were trained to fly Army aircraft to aid in the war effort. Shannon faces discrimination against women at every turn in her aviation career as her refusal to give up powers her through a series of challenges and adventures, including a foe determined to kill her, that light up this fascinating period in American history.
There is much work still to be done on the manuscript, but I hope to have this work out by August. Watch here for progress announcements and a sample of the new book!
JAMES SCOTT (Also writing as B J Scott) is a writer and speaker. He is the award-winning author of five historical novels set in the Old West in the last half of the 19th century, and a speculative fiction novel set in the near future. His stories are often built around actual historical events and have a common theme: they feature strong, courageous women. Though the stories revolve around women, these are men’s adventure stories, but with female protagonists—fast-paced and action-packed. His most recent novel, Light On A Distant Hill, won the 2011 WILLA Literary Award for Original Softcover Fiction sponsored by Women Writing the West. His latest novel, The Electric Woman, was released November 2017. He is hard at work on novel Number 7.
The Old West is a relatively recent period in history, and yet the men and women of that time were so different from us. They displayed an astounding mental and physical resilience and determination that I wonder if we possess today. The severity of the hardships they encountered can hardly be imagined or appreciated. Yet they persevered. For some, the price was the loss of their sanity. For others, the loss of their life.
I have a fondness for the women of that era, who dutifully followed their men westward into a vast and largely unknown land. The three books that form the Angel Trilogy (Angel of the Gold Rush, Angel’s Daughter, Legacy of Angels) all feature my trademark women—steel-strong, loyal to family, and afraid of no one, woman or man. Far from perfect, they also emotional, hot-headed, and adventurous. As one reviewer put it, these are “women who want men in their lives, but don’t need them to succeed”. These traits generate spirited escapades—and danger. Ellen, the heroine of my fourth novel, Light On A Distant Hill (sixteen as the book begins) is not an outwardly strong woman as are the women of the Trilogy books, but her inner strength is revealed as the book progresses, and she meets severe challenges to both her womanhood and her choice in a husband.
I consider myself an entertainer who likes to inform, and I never forget that. The fanatically loyal followers I have acquired over the past seven years know they can count on me for fast-paced books that have a high can’t-put-it-down factor. I know you’ll find them the same.