Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post: Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie K. Runyan

Please join me in welcoming Aimie K. Runyan to Let Them Read Books! Aimie is touring the blogosphere with her new release, Daughters of the Night Sky, and I'm pleased to have her here today with a guest post about how she discovered the "Night Witches," the inspiration behind the novel.

A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war.

Russia, 1941. Katya Ivanova is a young pilot in a far-flung military academy in the Ural Mountains. From childhood, she’s dreamed of taking to the skies to escape her bleak mountain life. With the Nazis on the march across Europe, she is called on to use her wings to serve her country in its darkest hour. Not even the entreaties of her new husband—a sensitive artist who fears for her safety—can dissuade her from doing her part as a proud daughter of Russia.

After years of arduous training, Katya is assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units comprised entirely of women. The Germans quickly learn to fear nocturnal raids by the daring fliers they call “Night Witches.” But the brutal campaign will exact a bitter toll on Katya and her sisters-in-arms. When the smoke of war clears, nothing will ever be the same—and one of Russia’s most decorated military heroines will face the most agonizing choice of all.

Finding Inspiration
by Aimie K. Runyan

The origin story of Daughters of the Night Sky wasn’t the romantic tale you hear about from other writers. It didn’t come to me in a dream or a vision. It wasn’t that thunderclap “aha!” moment that sent me scribbling in a mad dash. My first two books took place in 17th century Canada, which is not a time and place that many readers deliberately seek out (though they have enjoyed it when they happen upon them). I knew that if I wanted to boost my career, I needed to pick a story that compelled me that was from an era that would attract a larger readership. In an ideal world, I’d be able to write about 15th century court politics and become a mega-bestseller doing so, but the reality was that I need to create a readership before I could broach topics that were less familiar to the public. Right now, the early 20th century, especially the world wars, are a subset of Historical Fiction that is doing well, and I decided that would be the smartest place to hunt for inspiration. Thankfully, there is no shortage of great material to be mined from, and I could find something that really moved me as an artist.

So, as I was pondering what world war-era topics I could transform into a novel that fit those criteria, the last of the famed Night Witches, the Soviet female fighter pilots, passed away. She was a hot topic in the news cycles for a day or so, and I had several friends forward articles about her to me with subtle missives like “this could be the idea you’ve been looking for” or “WRITE THIS BOOK NOW.” Let it never be said I can’t take a hint. I shot off that idea, along with half a dozen others, to my amazing agent. She homed in on the concept right away and encouraged me to tackle the book. I began delving into research, and it wasn’t long before my main character emerged and weaseled herself into my affections. It isn’t until I have a main character in mind that I can really take ownership of a book, and she was a vibrant one who came to me very early in the process. I was able to find a publishing home for Katya even before the manuscript was finished, and it has been a thrill to see her story out in the world!

Daughters of the Night Sky is on a blog tour!

About the Author:

Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of two previous historical novels: Promised to the Crown and Duty to the Crown, and hard at work on novel #4. She is active as an educator and a speaker in the writing community and beyond. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children. To learn more about Aimie and her work, please visit www.aimiekrunyan.com.

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