Q: Was Operation Frantic a real operation?
A: Yes, and it is largely as described in the book except for the fictional character General Kaminsky and his nefarious activities. Also, the “spy” mission is purely fictional. One point – there is speculation that the Luftwaffe was indeed alerted to the location of Poltava airfield and the presence of American bombers by the Soviets.
Q: Are the flight log entries real?
A: Yes, with very minor exceptions (most notably the last five descriptions) they are exactly as described in my father’s log book. His mission to Cologne was actually #27 but I used it as #30 in this story for continuity of the plot.
Q: Did the shrapnel incident really happen?
A: Yes, and the photo is of the actual piece that hit my father and that he kept. It was handed down to me, and my son now has it. I do not know however if my father considered it as a lucky charm or if he carried it into battle. I do know he carried a small New Testament with him, an item I also own. Like most WWII veterans, he did not talk much about his experiences. He did sing me the “making fun of Hitler” song once.
Q: Was “Over Exposure” a real B-24 aircraft?
A: As far as I know it was not a name that was used; it is a made-up name and any similarity is purely coincidental. I did research for an unused name before using it. My father’s main aircraft was Fairy Belle (he flew about eight different planes) and it was the one in which he was shot down on the Cologne mission (the log entry is true).
Q: Why did you create a work of fiction and not an anthology of the missions?
A: I felt that there were and are dozens of “my father’s WW2 missions” books and wanted to both honor his service but create an adventure inspired by his actual mission experiences including when he told me about the ME-262 jets.
Q: Was there a real “Patty Prentiss?”
A: She is a product of my imagination as are other main characters. Of course, Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, FDR, Montgomery and Truman are historical characters whose participation is included to convey realism. (It wouldn’t do to “invent” new leader names would it?)
Q: You realize that the Uber app does not allow a rider to request a specific driver, right?
A: Yes. In the book, what’s not described is how Mr. Jordan would do the usual workaround trick – call the driver, have her go “inactive” until she arrives to his location, and then go “active” at the same time he does the actual pickup request on the app. Since she is the closest, Uber selects her as the driver automatically. It was too much minutiae to include in the story line.