White Vixen series #3
September 1989: The Berlin Wall is about to fall. East Germany is on the brink of collapse, but a rogue GDR Army officer isn’t going down without a fight. He’s been leading a rebel group in Tanzania, seeking to restore the German colony his grandfather fought for seventy years before.
That dream is smashed when U.S. Special Forces troops commanded by the White Vixen, Jo Ann Geary, lead Tanzanian forces in a lightning raid that captures the Bronze Leopard himself. Geary and her second in command decide to stay in country and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, unaware that the Leopard has escaped Tanzanian custody. With the help of East German mercenaries, he sets out to gain his revenge upon the adversary who destroyed his group and who poses the biggest future threat to the mercs. Pursued to the top of Africa, outgunned and weakened by the extreme altitude, the White Vixen faces the fight of her life against a desperate foe in one of the harshest environments on the planet.
When and where do you prefer to write?
My favorite writing spot is what passes for my “man cave,” which is in the family room on the upper floor of our home. We have a log house on a lake in northwest Wisconsin, and our master bedroom upstairs has the balcony with the view of the lake. The other room is where we have our secondary TV, a love-seat, and my writing area, with my desk and a stereo system. In the corner is my bookcase containing my Theodore Roosevelt collection and other rare books. I can lose myself for a couple or three hours up there, writing, but finding time lately is the problem. I recently returned to full-time work in radio, and that’s taking up way too much of my time. Every couple weeks, I ask myself how much longer I’m going to be doing that. Then the paycheck pops into my bank account, which convinces me to give it another couple weeks.
Do you have a certain ritual?
Before returning to radio, I would write for an hour or two in the morning before heading into nearby Rice Lake to the pool or the gym. Now, I’m at the radio station by 5:30am, pushing my writing time to late afternoon or early evening. The latter time isn’t bad at all, especially when I have a baseball game on the TV.
Do you like a drink or something to nibble on while you write?
I’ll generally have a bottle of water or tea, but I try to stay away from munching on anything. My wife has a thing about crumbs in the keyboard, since she has to use the same computer for her business—she runs a travel agency—when she works from home.
Do you consider writing a different genre or do you already do that?
I used to dabble in science fiction when I was in high school, and in fact wrote a novel about time-travelers going back to make sure a rogue traveler did not interrupt the crucifixion of Christ. I banged that one out on an old electric typewriter and still have the manuscript down in the storeroom somewhere. I’m afraid to look at it, quite frankly. Every now and then, a colleague who’s a romance writer will ask me if I want to try my hand at that, but I know what would happen: I’d get about two chapters in and then start wondering when I can get the hero away from this woman and into some real action.
What is/are your favourite book(s)?
I’ve enjoyed the novels of Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn very much, as well as the ones written by other authors since those fellows passed. I hadn’t read Lee Child at all until I picked up a Jack Reacher novel at a flea market, and then I ripped through all of them in a couple months. I’ve followed David Poyer’s series about US Navy captain Dan Lenson, and the non-fiction of Dick Couch has been very interesting and helpful in my own writing. As for my favorite books, I’d have to put the three-book Edmund Morris biography of Theodore Roosevelt near the top, right after the Bible.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I have named some minor characters after people I went to high school with, but only if that character is one of the good guys/girls. My main characters tend to be composites of people I might have met or have read about. One thing about that is, it keeps things pretty grounded. For example, the protagonist in my White Vixen series is an Air Force Special Operations officer. I’ve met several current and former operators from various branches of the Armed Forces, and there’s very little about them that would indicate that they’re highly skilled and very dangerous people. They come across as regular men and women, perhaps in better physical condition than the average Joe or Jane. I want to make sure my characters are similarly grounded.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I’d welcome the chance to co-write with authors like Kyle Mills, who has taken up the Mitch Rapp series since Vince Flynn’s death, and collaborating with Dick Couch would be fun.
Do you take a (digital) notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
For a long time I resisted using a smart phone for anything other than phone calls or scrolling the internet while waiting for a flight at the airport, but I’ve succumbed to the lure of the almighty digital gods and now use my Samsung phone for just about everything. I have to admit, the note-taking app is very handy. Of course, this now means I can’t use the excuse of forgetting about something that my wife asks me to do.
Which genre(s) do you not like at all?
I have nothing against romance, of course, being involved in one with my wife that’s now in its 31st year, but I tend to shy away from that genre. I don’t have any use for erotica, although an erotic scene that’s part of the overall plot of a thriller novel, for example, can be entertaining. I know quite a few writers—all women—who write romance in various sub-genres, and I just can’t get into novels about guys changing into bears or women sleeping with an entire hockey team.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many countries, thanks to my wife’s profession, and I’d really like to travel to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’d originally planned to make that happen this year, but it’ll have to wait till 2022. I wrote about it anyway in The Bronze Leopard. I think the Vixen’s next adventure might very well be to the Yukon Territory of northwestern Canada, and I’ve talked to a buddy of mine about taking a road trip up there. It’s a hell of a long way from Wisconsin, so we’ll see.
Thank you, David Tindell and Pump Up Your Book
About the author
Born in Germany and raised in southern Wisconsin, David Tindell embarked on a 20-year career in broadcasting before transitioning to the U.S. government and resuming the writing career he’d started in college at UW-Platteville. Today he lives up in the northwestern corner of the state, in a log home on a lake with his wife Sue, a Yorkie and a Siamese. After retiring from government work, Tindell returned to radio, but the writing never stops. Tindell also is a martial artist with black belts in taekwondo and ryukudo kobojutsu, a scuba diver, and world traveler.