Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Sparrow Squadron by DL Jung


What inspired you to write this story?

A long time ago, I happened upon the documentary "Wasps and Witches" on TV.
It tells the parallel story of the American Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP’s) of World War II and the female combat pilots fighting for the Soviet Union at the same time. I was particularly fascinated by the Soviet women, and read as much on them as I could. Until then, I had no idea that women had fought in combat during WWII, let alone flew fighters and bombers.

There's now been quite a bit of fiction and non-fiction written about the night bomber pilots, the "Night Witches," but very little about the fighter pilots. I thought that was a shame, so I decided to step into that gap. And so, many years later, Sparrow Squadron came into being.

Did you write Sparrow Squadron what is currently happening in society in mind?

I think all fiction reflects the world around the writer. While the idea for the novel came much earlier, the bulk of it was written a year and a half ago. Probably the biggest external influence was the lead up to the 2016 US election. Because a female US president was a likely possibility, there was this strange mix of uplifting inspiration and rampant misogyny. Neither of these things is new. As each generation faces its own struggles to make progress, it's good to be exposed to what previous generations faced and achieved. All of that was definitely playing in my mind when I wrote the novel.

How much of Sparrow Squadron is fiction?

Aelya’s story itself is fiction and all of the people, with one notable exception, are all inventions of mine. However, I wrote this with the intent that all the events in the novel could reasonably have happened. Obviously, the major historical events all happened and many incidents are drawn from real-life accounts. The backgrounds of many of the characters are also based on real-life people.

What was your favourite discovery in doing your research?

As a result of Lend-Lease, in which the United States sent supplies to the Soviet Union to support their war effort, Soviet military personnel got inundated with a Spam-like canned meat. They took to calling it "Second Front." This was in part a dig at the repeated promises and delays the West made to open up a second front against Germany while the Soviets continued battling every day.


Sparrow Squadron
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Action-Adventure
Release Date: February 2018


"There was a time when flying didn't mean looking over my shoulder for death coming at me."

World War II. June 1941. Hitler's war machine turns to the Soviet Union.

Escaping her hometown ahead of the Nazis, 16-year-old Aelya Makarova seizes a chance to live her dream. Obsessed with flying, she joins a women's fighter squadron to defend her homeland against the invaders. She'll go faster and higher than she's ever gone before.

But the harsh reality of Air Force life shatters her expectations and forces her to grow up fast. The squadron is split by petty rivalries, male pilots treat them like a joke, and the ideal country she thought she was fighting for doesn't really exist.

Finally given a chance to prove herself in battle, Aelya is pushed to breaking point. With all her talent, the help of her comrades, and a lot of luck, she might just make it through. But will there be anything left of her humanity?

With fast-paced action and a heart-rending mix of humour and tragedy, Sparrow Squadron is an adventure novel for young adults that brings an overlooked episode of history to life.

Buy on Amazon!


“I don’t doubt your ability,” Stitches continued, “but combat’s not just about being good. Only luck will determine when you go out. Whether you get shot down next week or make it through this war without a scratch, the odds are the same.”
He seemed happy to hear himself talk. Stitches was a veteran. With four confirmed kills, he was almost an ace. She shifted to the edge of her seat, gripped with the urge to take advantage of this moment of openness.
“I probably could have done better.” A lot better. “Any suggestions?”
“It’s impossible to know what’s going on with so many planes in the air. Half the time I have no clue what anyone else is doing. To be honest, I have no idea how well you did, but that you dived into a swarm of Junkers and came out all right speaks well of you.”
“Wait . . . you saw enough to confirm I damaged one, right?”
“Caught me in a lie, I’m afraid.”
She slapped him on the shoulder. “I don’t need your pity.”
“It’s not pity.” He lowered his voice, and she strained to hear him over the canopy rattling against the wind. “It’s what we do for each other. Everyone plays up their numbers. Damaged planes don’t count for anything anyway, just kills. If you added up all the planes we say we shoot up each month, it would be more than all the planes in Europe.”
She had to calm down. Although it seemed patronizing, she realized that Stitches’s little lie meant she was one of the group. In some small way, she belonged.
“To be honest,” she said, “I barely hit anything before using up my ammo. Any ideas how to get better?”


About the Author
DL Jung has been an enthusiastic student of history since grade school, when he spent lazy afternoons flipping through an old Encyclopedia Britannica set. He enjoys blogging about history and writing historical fiction. He also writes fantasy and horror fiction as Darius Jung.

Jung is married, with two children, and lives in Toronto, Canada. They are lucky enough to spend part of the time in New Zealand. Outside of writing, he has tried stints as an industrial engineer, a film and TV script supervisor, an IT consultant, a professional game show contestant, and a grossly under-qualified business wear model. Sparrow Squadron is his debut novel.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting this interview and excerpt for my blog tour! It's much appreciated.