Reader Reactions & Anecdotes


26 July 2008

“The Ace” Bows InThe Ace Cover

It was with equal portions of delight and consternation that I received an email yesterday from one of my darlin’ daughters. Wrote she: “C-o-o-o-o-o-l ad for your book!” Attached were links to Barnes & Noble and Amazon and their initial offers to take pre-publication orders for my new novel, The Ace.

I was pleased to discover that the publicity and sales promo people at Blue River Press had already swung into action, even though the book won’t be retail-available until the end of September. At the same time I was dismayed to learn that the campaign had been launched without my having been advised. But then I should know better. After 16 novels put out by assorted publishers over the past umpteen years, I should hardly be surprised by the fact that the author is almost always the last to be informed by anybody about anything.

And understandably so. When the author has completed his work, the ball is very much in the court of those whose job it is to sell it, and, when advertising and promotion is added to the intricacies of manufacture, distribution, warehousing, there just isn’t a bunch of time left for the writer, who is now only tangentially in the loop. As one publisher said to me at a time of puzzlement and uneasiness, “Down, boy. You’re a pro, and you’ve done your thing. We’re pros, and now it’s our turn to do our thing. Let us do it.”

In this case, and by way of seeming emphasis, Blue River is preparing to send out two news releases, the first on August 17 — the day after my Florida literary award — and the other to a lengthy list of international special-interest media. Here they are:


To:  (Cardinal Publishers Group list of Florida dailies, weeklies, biweekly and monthly magazines, radio and TV newsrooms)

From:  Cardinal Publishers Group (Address and contact numbers)

“Fiction is the greatest audience participation game ever devised,” says Jack D. Hunter, the St. Augustine novelist honored this month as a “Florida Literary Legend.”

“A good story, artfully written, snares the reader’s imagination and lures him into a journey through times and places and events he most likely would never otherwise experience in his own lifetime,” Hunter asserts. “Fiction invites the reader to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ in his mind, inducing him to create personal images uninhibited by the specifics established by film or other graphic media. By participating with the author in the game of make-believe, the reader needs only an easy chair and no mechanical or electronic device to visit any corner of the human adventure — past, present, or future.”

Hunter, author of 16 best-selling novels, made his comments during the Florida Heritage Book Festival at the World Golf Village convention center in St. Augustine on August 16. Hunter and two other authors — Stetson Kennedy and Patrick Smith — received the honor from Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning in the inauguration of what will be an annual statewide program launched by the St. Johns County Friends of the Library Organization and the St. Augustine Record Newspaper in Education program.

Hunter’s new novel, The Ace, is his 17th and will be published Oct. 1 by Blue River Press, the publishing arm of Cardinal Publishers Group. The epic creates a deeply researched, historically accurate fictional portrait of America’s frenzied effort to build an air force from virtually nothing after its reluctant involvement in World War I. It is, as Hunter describes it, “a companion piece” to his internationally acclaimed first novel, The Blue Max.


To:  (Cardinal Publishers Group list of military-oriented publications, editors, writers, book reviewers.

From:  Cardinal Publishers Group (Address and contact numbers)

When the United States declared war on Germany in April, 1917, its air force consisted of 26 army officers qualified to fly 55 obsolescent training planes from two military flying fields operated and maintained by another 105 officers and 1,087 enlisted men. Not one among this pitiful handful had as much as one minute of actual combat experience.

In his new book, The Ace, Jack D. Hunter — author of 17 novels, including the World War I aviation epic, The Blue Max — dramatizes America’s chaotic, often heartbreaking effort to create, virtually overnight, an organization capable of facing off the German Kaiser’s swarms of sophisticated aircraft and legions of skilled, combat-tested crews. Into this awesome factual mess Hunter introduces four key fictional characters of seemingly unrelated backgrounds, and by weaving together their separate efforts to deal with the nation’s military, economic, political, and moral disarray, serves up a portrait of the human determination and love that brought about the miracle in little more than a year.

The pivotal roles are played by an ailing 20-year-old slum kid, a blithe and dissolute army officer, a corrupt U.S. senator, and a beautiful, guilt-ridden heiress to millions. The supporting cast includes real historical figures, such as Brig. Gen. “Billy” Mitchell, AEF commander Gen. John J. Pershing, flying ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, and assorted French and British dignitaries.

Says Hunter, “My first novel, The Blue Max, was a narrow-focus character study of a German innkeeper’s son who, upon becoming a pursuit pilot, grows so resentful of the condescension and bias laid on him by the aristocrats in his squadron he’s goaded into the Nazism that later consumed his nation. The Ace, by contrast, is a broad scale view of the war itself, of the incredible push-and-pull in Congress and the military that led to the climactic aerial battles establishing Allied air superiority. There’s a lot of aviation action — dogfights and the like — but the story’s spine is the doomed, offbeat love affair between the kid, who becomes a leading ace, and the heiress, who can buy anything but self-respect.”


So there you have it. You now know as much as much about this critter as I do at this point, I’d guess. Of possible interest and convenience, here are the links to Barnes & Noble and Amazon, where you can pre-order the book.

Let’s make a deal: If you hear anything new about The Ace, let me know. If I hear anything more about it, I’ll let you know. Okay?


Copyright © 2008 by Jack D. Hunter.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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