Interview with C.C. Humphreys, author of Chasing the Wind + Giveaway

Hello, dear readers! Today is an exciting day on Passages to the Past as I am hosting one of my favorite authors...C.C. Humphreys! I am super excited to be kicking off his blog tour and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. We are also running a giveaway for a free eBook of C.C.'s short story, The Birth of Jack Absolute, so don't forget to enter!

Today is publication day for CHASING THE WIND, so please join me in saying HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, C.C.!! 🎉

Hello C.C. and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Chasing the Wind!

Delighted to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

What inspired you to write Chasing the Wind?

I was reading about the 1930’s and WW2 and got more and more fascinated about the era that my parents grew up in. Added to which my dad was an RAF fighter pilot, so flight has always intrigued me. I’d drawn up a plot about a man called Jack Warren – one of those men I like to write about, a little like Rick in ‘Casablanca’ – tough, bruised, looks like he’s all about the money but has a heart buried inside. Then while in London last year, I met my old editor for a beer – and he said, “Why not make the protagonist a woman?” and… it just took off! (Pun intended!). As soon as I began reading about Amelia Earhart and those other amazing female flyers I was hooked. Roxy was born soon afterwards.

What type of research did you do for the book?

Both kinds – book research and feet research. I went to aviation museums in the UK, especially the RAF Museum in Hendon. But I was also lucky in that I found THE book early. There’s an amazing second hand bookstore in Vancouver, Canada, called Macleod’s. They had a lot on aviation - but amidst all the coffee table tomes was one small stubby book with a black spine that had no writing on it. Irresistible! Turned out to be the ‘Aviation Manual’ published 1930. Everything from details of planes and their engines to …how to land on a ploughed field in a crosswind. I swear I could have done a barrel roll after my extensive studies… though for some reason my wife wouldn’t accompany me up!

What would you like readers to take away from Chasing the Wind?

I always hope people have a good time. I write character-driven historical thrillers and do deep research so also hope they also get a glimpse into the past. But I am keen too on drawing flawed humans, under stress, and seeing how they react. And at the heart of the book is the question: how can love survive?

What was the hardest scene to write?

Without spoiling… Roxy loses someone very close to her when she is quite young. I always find loss like that moving.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I loved researching and then writing the flying sequences – getting the details right without giving a flying lesson. But there is a scene in the novel when Roxy has been injected with truth serum by Hermann Göring’s doctor to make her talk. The drug’s also hallucinogenic and Roxy has to try and escape through Göring’s Olympics fancy dress party while hallucinating wildly. I have to say I chortled as I wrote it! It reads as if someone is trying to do a pastiche of C. C. Humphreys!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was always a storyteller, from the moment I could speak. Played all sorts of imaginative games with friends – improvs really – especially if they involved swords! I then became an actor and told other people’s stories – but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to keep making up my own. For years I was too timid – other people write, right? And then I just knew I had to finish something. It was my first play, it won a competition and I was on the road. Took me another six years to write my first novel though. (The French Executioner).

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

It’s interesting – I teach this now: treating writing as a process, with a series of stages, rather than an end result. People hold themselves back – I did, for years – because they think that their writing must immediately be like the heroes they enjoy reading. Once I realized that I just needed to start writing and not worry about ‘good’ till much, much later, the stories began to flow.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Oh so many! As a boy, in love with historical fiction, I read Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece – tales of Vikings and Romans. In my 20’s it was the thriller – Robert Ludlum was a master. Later I got into fantasy and adored Stephen Donaldson and Guy Gavriel Kay. Lately its been Daphne du Maurier. Anyone who can tell a story with passion and verve – and keep the pages turning.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Gosh. Probably Rosemary Sutcliff’s ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The King’s General’.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I have rune tattoos – one on my right shoulder, one on my left calf. I was the original voice of Salem the Cat in the TV series, ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’. And I can hang eleven teaspoons from my face. On a good day.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love history. My ultimate dream would be to be a time traveller – so I do the next best thing. I go and visit the past in my imagination.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

Lately it’s been the 1930’s and ‘40’s – because of Roxy, but also because I am thinking of writing a memoir of my parents. Aside from my dad being a fighter pilot, my mom was a Norwegian spy!

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

We’ve just got a puppy – so I like to play with Quince the Corgi! I like to exercise. Lately I’ve gotten into Tai Chi. It’s wonderful, intricate, slow, but so good for you, inside and out. I’m off to class right now in fact!

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I always have a few projects in the air. I am drawing up ideas for the sequel to Chasing the Wind – it ends just after Amelia Earhart disappeared so what a subject that would be! But I have also written the first draft of a high epic fantasy novel, the first of a trilogy, ‘Immortals’ Blood’. So I will dive into that again. I’ve also been wearing my other hat and doing some acting lately – TV, film and a play. Between the acting, the writing and the pup… there’s not too much time to sleep!

Oh wow, I cannot wait to read your next book! I am so fascinated with Amelia Earhart! Thank you so much for spending time with us today, C.C.! Happy Book Birthday & I hope you have a wonderful blog tour!

Chasing the Wind by C.C. Humphreys

Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 320 Pages

Genre: Historical/Women's Fiction/Mystery

Smuggler. Smoker. Aviatrix. Thief. The dynamic Roxy Loewen is all these things and more, in this riveting and gorgeous historical fiction novel for readers of Paula McLain, Roberta Rich, Kate Morton and Jacqueline Winspear.

You should never fall in love with a flyer. You should only fall in love with flight.

That's what Roxy Loewen always thought, until she falls for fellow pilot Jocco Zomack as they run guns into Ethiopia. Jocco may be a godless commie, but his father is a leading art dealer and he's found the original of Bruegel's famous painting, the Fall of Icarus. The trouble is, it's in Spain, a country slipping fast into civil war. The money's better than good--if Roxy can just get the painting to Berlin and back out again before Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring and his Nazi pals get their hands on it . . .

But this is 1936, and Hitler's Olympics are in full swing. Not only that, but Göring has teamed up with Roxy's greatest enemy: Sydney Munroe, an American billionaire responsible for the death of her beloved dad seven years before. When the Nazis steal the painting, Roxy and Jocco decide that they are just going to have to steal it back.

What happens when Icarus flies too close to the sun? Roxy is going to find out. From African skies to a cellar in Madrid, from the shadow cast by the swastika to the world above the clouds on the Hindenburg's last voyage, in the end Roxy will have just two choices left--but only one bullet.

Readers Outside Canada: Amazon US

For Canadian readers: Amazon Canada | Chapters-Indigo | iBooks

Praise for Chasing the Wind

"A barrel-rolling barn-burner of a book! Roxy's got a tender heart with a steel jacket, and the skill and courage to bring her in on a wing and a prayer. A good thing, because this girl doesn't pack a parachute." —Diana Gabaldon

"Chasing the Wind has everything a historical fiction reader could want. The suspense is wonderful; the writing is sure and confident; and the dialogue is witty and fast paced. I was completely engrossed from the very beginning." —Roberta Rich, author of The Midwife of Venice

"Flying on the wings of Humphreys's vivid imagination, spunky aviatrix Roxy Loewen soars from Ethiopia to Madrid as the Spanish Civil War rages, and to Berlin and Hitler's Olympics, where she contends against the Nazi elite in a struggle to retrieve a stolen sixteenth century painting. A hold-on-to-your-seats aerial display with the throttle open all the way." —William Deverell, author of the Arthur Beauchamp series

About the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto, lived till he was seven in Los Angeles, then grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors, and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline.

Chris has performed on stages from London’s West End to Hollywood in roles including Hamlet, Caleb the gladiator in NBC's AD-Anno Domini', Clive Parnell in ‘Coronation Street’, PC Richard Turnham in 'The Bill', the Immortal Graham Ashe in ‘Highlander’, Jack Absolute in 'The Rivals' (This performance led to him writing the Jack Absolute novels – and they say acting doesn’t pay!). Bizarrely, he was also the voice of Salem the cat in ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’.

A playwright, fight choreographer and novelist, he has written eleven adult novels including ‘The French Executioner’, runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers; ‘The Jack Absolute Trilogy’; ‘A Place Called Armageddon’; ‘Shakespeare’s Rebel’ and the international bestseller, ‘Vlad – The Last Confession’.

He also writes for young adults, with a trilogy called The Runestone Saga and ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’. The sequel, ‘The Hunt of the Dragon’, was published Fall 2016.

His recent novel ‘Plague’ won Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel in 2015. The sequel, ‘Fire’ is a thriller set during the Great Fire, published Summer 2016. Both novels spent five weeks in the top ten on 2016’s Globe and Mail and Toronto Star Bestseller lists.

His new novel is ‘Chasing the Wind’ about 1930’s aviatrix – and thief! – Roxy Loewen, will be published in Canada and the USA in June 2018.

Several of his novels are available as Audiobooks - read by himself! Find him here at Audible.

He is translated into thirteen languages. In 2015 he earned his Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from the University of British Columbia.

Chris now lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with his wife, son and cat, Dickon (who keeps making it into his books!).

For more information, please visit C.C. Humphrey's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 5
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 7
Review at Reading the Past

Friday, June 8
Excerpt at Books and Glamour

Monday, June 11
Review at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, June 12
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 14
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, June 19
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Thursday, June 21
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, June 22
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, June 25
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, June 26
Review at The Lit Bitch


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of the short story, The Birth of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Chasing the Wind

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