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Questions for Ben

Why set Jungle of Bones in Papua New Guinea?


As a pilot myself, I have traveled many summers to the EAA Flight Gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  At that fly in, they have a war bird section with many fighters and bombers.  That first piked my interest in war birds.  Many of the books written on the 2nd World War air campaigns have been of those from the European theatre.  The more I learned about the air campaigns fought in the pacific theatre, the more intrigued I became.


Have you ever been to the jungle?

I have spent time in the jungles of lowland Bolivia.  I hate bugs, heat, jungles, snakes, etc.   I liked the idea of writing a book set in the jungles.  If jungles freaked me out, it would be easy to communicate that discomfort when it came to my main character Dylan Barstow.


What got you interested in learning to fly yourself?

When I was being sent away to boarding school in Bolivia, I was able to ride in my first airplane, a DC3.  I crept up to the cockpit and looked in.  It was like a space ship.  The pilot motioned me to come forward and look around.  Then he let me sit down in his seat and move the controls.  It was an unreal experience.  When I stood up, he told me I was a natural pilot.  That was where the first seed was planted.


What is your favorite element of this story and why?

It is easy to forget the sacrifices that bought us our freedom as Americans.  Our lives are so much richer if we appreciate what brought us to this time and place.  I liked being able to take Dylan Barstow on a journey that brings him to a point of appreciating his freedom.


What did you do to research and prepare to write Jungle of Bones?



I located nearly a dozen men who had been crew members on B-17 bombers.  The men were in their early 90s.  I also had several museums open up there B-17 bombers to help me with my research.  As has been the case with all of my books, people came out of the woodwork to help me.

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