After reading Mission to Chara I contacted the author, Bismarck lawyer Lynn M. Boughey, with five questions. I appreciate his prompt response. The Questions and Answers are:
1.) What inspired you to write a technological military thriller?
I had been to all the bases described and thought of the plot many years earlier, at a time when Tom Clancy was quite popular, and thought, why not give it a try? I played around with it for about six years, getting about half done, and finally in one six-month period decided that if I was ever going to finish it I had to do it now. I note that all the characters are based on real people that I know quite well, or in one case a composite of two or three good friends. The female protagonist has the beauty and grace of my
translator and the nerve of my Siberian translator. The base commander is a combination of two military friends, one who was the commander and the other his vice commander. Moscow
2.) Why did you include photos in the book? It is unique in my reading experience to see photos in a work of fiction;
I was well aware that few people had any real knowledge of the planes or locations and thought this would help the reader immensely. But I should not have included the final picture of me in flight in the right-hand seat of a B-52 – that was pure ego and a mistake. I have noted since my book came out that other authors, as a second version of his or her novel, have printed “annotated” versions with pictures and further information (the best example is The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, both by Dan Brown).
3.) Have you flown in a Blackbird? If you have and if you can tell me, what was the reason and where were you flying?
I have not. I watched it fly out of Beale AFB,
when it was operational. By the time the novel was being completed the Blackbird was retired and the remaining Blackbirds were owned and operated by NASA at Edwards Air Force Base. By this time the plane was used only rarely and for scientific experiments. NASA did, however, train me to fly the Blackbird on the simulator, and I acquired a copy of the Dash-1, the manual used by the pilots to learn how to fly the plane. Also, although I have been allowed to fly some planes over the years, I am not a pilot and the real pilot has always had hands on or very near the controls while I “flew.” California
4.) The book involves a military intrusion into another country. I have been reading about the important role lawyers are playing in missions by providing advice especially on the legality of decisions. You and I are both lawyers. In the book I do not recall lawyers being involved in the decisions to proceed with the mission. Would American military lawyers normally have to approve such a mission?
Yes. All political and legal ramifications are taken into account, and all operational commanders have lawyers at their disposal well versed in all the nuances of such activities. In the novel, the planning was correctly placed under the
military operations commander, the J-3. I have sat in his office and have been briefed by him as to how the planning would occur for “ US to Chara.” Although we did not specifically discuss the lawyers role, there is no doubt that both Joint Staff lawyers and their counterparts in the State Department would be involved. Mission
have a plane with the speed and range of the Blackbird at this time? America
If so, it has not been made public. And given the advances in surface-to-air missiles and the advent of other platforms (everything from slow moving drones with amazing cameras to reconnaissance satellites that can “see” through clouds, one must wonder if speed and range are as necessary – or al least as necessary. Hypersonic planes exist and are being used for experiments – I assume that the
has its own versions, but again it is not public and frankly I wouldn’t be told about it! I note that the CIA had its own fleet of several Blackbirds or the slightly smaller version, the A-12, and could very well still be flying them. US