AN RAF officer from Brampton has found his way into print with a book based around World War II and vampires. Flight Lieutenant Rob Smith, 33, an officer based at RAF Brampton, said: A lot of agents would tell me they liked my manuscript but unfortunatel
AN RAF officer from Brampton has found his way into print with a book based around World War II and vampires.
Flight Lieutenant Rob Smith, 33, an officer based at RAF Brampton, said: "A lot of agents would tell me they liked my manuscript but unfortunately none of them seemed ready to take the risk."
This problem, Rob says was largely to his novel's plot: "A combination of a World War II aviation novel and offbeat vampire thriller."
He added: "Most publishers said they didn't believe there was a market out there for a book like that".
However, Night Fighters his first novel is now being published.
Rob was able to find a publisher in YouWriteOn, a free website supported by The Arts Council that helps new writers get published.
The website prints copies of the book on demand.
"It's one of these things where it's only as good as the effort you put into it. Production and sales are handled by the publishers but the creative side, whether it's any good or not, comes down to me."
Rob added: "Essentially the plot concerns a secret UK government department that is investigating all kinds of borderline supernatural ways to win the war.
"They discover a mutation in Eastern Europe that causes the afflicted people to see in the dark but gives them sensitivity to sunlight. This means that ordinary people see them as similar to vampires. So it's presented as a medical condition, not pure fantasy, it has a basis in scientific explanation, almost like it could have happened"
The book has been a labour of love. The first draft took five months to write. "I was doing two to three hours a night and eight hours every weekend. After that I passed it out to people I knew to get some feedback. Then came three years of tweaking, editing and taking characters in and out. Next to that, writing was the easy bit."
Rob, who has been writing short stories since the age of nine, completed his first book-length manuscript, Easy Money, when he was 22.
"I couldn't find a publisher for it and with hindsight I can see it needs about three more years work," he said. "Although I'm not embarrassed of it now, if I was to submit it for publishing I'd probably just burn the whole lot and start again".
Rob is already planning a sequel to Night Fighters that would again be set within the same government department but would introduce another supernatural phenomena.
"I'm happily committed to the airforce for the next 11 years. My dream scenario is I walk out of that with several published novels under my belt so that I can become a full-time novelist.