Robert A. Wright is President of Wright Aviation Solutions LLC. He formed his company in 2005 to provide specialized solutions for complex aviation safety, training, and regulatory problems for a variety of clients.
From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Wright served as Director of Flight Training and later as Director of Regulatory Affairs at Eclipse Aviation. In early 2008, Mr. Wright returned to his consulting practice to pursue innovative safety, training, and regulatory solutions for other clients.
Prior to forming Wright Aviation Solutions, Mr. Wright had a distinguished 22 year career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), retiring in April 2005 as the chief FAA executive for general aviation flight standards. He is an accomplished pilot with an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and more than 9200 flight hours, accumulated in more than one hundred types of aircraft from gliders to jets.
Mr. Wright has recently turned his attention to writing fiction, specializing in historical novels. His first book, Beyond Ultra, was published by Create Space on May 27, 2011.
Mr. Wright resides in Bellingham, Washington.
Author’s literary objectives, style, and interests
It’s my intention to portray exceptional, yet conflicted individuals coping with extraordinary circumstances which they may not have originated but who then try to take control of for the betterment of themselves, their families, or some other higher purpose. Most of us try to live life this way but only in certain fateful situations are we able to influence larger events and outcomes. There are usually costs and consequences associated with opportunities that we seize. Specifically, you can expect me to define these stories as follows.
Genre definition – My works are historical fiction in the grittiest sense, thoroughly grounded around real historical events that occurred and involving plausible fictional outcomes. If you like zombies, time travel, the supernatural and any other “flavor of the day” themes, please look elsewhere. I am not intending to pursue alternate history themes, but in the future I may change my mind.
The classic historical fiction works I admire most are those of Herman Wouk. More recently, I have admired the spy thriller novels of Alan Furst. Do not expect the techno-thriller style of Tom Clancy novels or the macho hero model found in W.E.B Griffin’s works. These are superb writers, but in my world there is vastly more ambiguity and a very thin line between the good guys and the bad guys. Not everyone in an American uniform is a “good guy” in my novels.
Characters – Expect my characters to be purposeful and goal oriented but also ambiguous. They often will have conflicted loyalties and are adept at making compromises to achieve the desired ends, even if they flirt with evil. Do not expect me to put characters out of context for their historical time period and culture. For example, in my first novel, Beyond Ultra, which includes Spanish society in the period 1915-1945, do not expect women to be leading the charge, although some of them will aspire to. To take this example further, I have noticed a trend where some authors (mostly women) attempt to portray women in leadership roles in time periods and cultures where that would not have been possible. That’s alternate history and is fine if you label it as such and not so fine if you don’t.
I will make frequent use of real historical characters and will make every effort to portray them with historical accuracy. This will often include the use of important but lesser known figures like spymasters such as William Donovan of the OSS and Admiral Canaris of the German Abwehr, as well as figures almost never portrayed, such as Luis Carerro Blanco of Spain and Carlton Hayes, America’s World War Two ambassador to Spain.
Plot – In my historical novels, I will endeavor to construct the theme and plot details in a way which matches both historical reality and the likely ways in which my characters would have reacted to these events. Yet, all novels including historical novels need a plot line that will “sizzle”. Unlike some authors, I choose not to stretch the incredulity line very much and, where I do, it will eventually resolve itself in a way which is historically plausible.
In a few cases, I will stretch the line in favor of something that appears as alternate history, but in some cases we may not know all the facts. For example, in Beyond Ultra I portray the Nazi atomic weapons program in a way which does not match the conventional wisdom. Yet, the Soviets scooped up much of the German technology and hid everything behind the Iron Curtain for forty five years. If you believe everything the Russians (or for that matter, Americans) tell you about that era, then I have a bridge I want to sell you.
Settings – I often choose settings for my plot that are not often portrayed in historical novels but I attach these to more significant events. For example, German African colonies in World War One are not a common setting for most novel introductions, but in Beyond Ultra it was a real event that happened in German Kamerun and neutral Spanish Guinea in 1915-1916 that propelled my protagonist to his fate.
The colonial era is a fascinating one that is seldom covered by contemporary historical novelists but is rich with historical and dramatic events that affect us to this very day. The failures of the European colonial powers during the nearly 500 year reign of this era (ca. 1475 – 1975) are legion and especially so in the twentieth century. This era provides rich material for historical novels that reflect contemporary themes such as globalization, fair trade, surrogate Cold War battlefields and a host of other issues.