Garfield Wood

One of my favorite things about writing a series of books set in the late 1930's is the research.  I truly enjoy weaving my story together while attempting to keep it true to the times so that when people question an airplane's capabilities or the use of a certain word as "modern" I can say:  "Actually the use of the word (insert word here)  dates back to 17th century France when the nobility altered the word (such and such) by adding a (letter) and dropping the (letter).  I actually did have this conversation with someone, but in order to not call them out on my world renown blog and its millions of subscribers I'll keep things vague.  Anyway, I like knowing that the Japanese Zero had a rate of climb nearly 1000 feet per minute higher than anything the allies could throw at it in the beginning of the war.  I like researching the speed of high velocity bullets so that when my son says to me.  

"Dad, did you know that bullets travel at one mile per second?"

 And I say:  "Who told you that?"  

And then he says:  "I read it in my (Such and Such) a book."

Then I get to say:  "Well, I don't know what kind of gun they were shooting in (Such and Such), but when I was researching the speed of a high velocity 30.06 round for a sequence in The Sentinel I found that a 165 grain bullet would generally leave the muzzle at around 2800 feet per second and after two hundred yards would lose almost 600 feet per second from its speed."  

Then he says:  "Huh?"  

Then I say  "Well, since there are 5280 feet in a mile it would be a pretty decent assumption that it would take a high velocity 30.06 at least two seconds to travel that distance.  Make sense?"

Then he says:  "Yeah, and (such and such character) was shooting a pistol too so they're probably even slower."

Then I say:  "Probably"

Then he says:  "Why wouldn't he look that up and make it right in his book?"

Then I say:  "Maybe he forgot."

Then he says:  "He must have."

Guess what?  My seven year old and I actually had that conversation about a book he was reading.  The kid is an avid reader and ever since he broke his tablet he's really been mowing the books down.  Even the librarian commented that his reading range actually put him at a teen reading level and he finds the books interesting, but then I end up having conversations about high velocity bullets, amongst others...  And I got sidetracked.

The whole point of this was to say that for the first time in my life I ran across the name Garfield Wood.  He was called Gar Wood for short and when I was writing an action sequence for The Sentinel I had an idea of what I wanted my boat to look like and sound like etc., but I decided to see if there was some kind of real life 1930's equivalent.   So, after searching for the fastest boats of the 30's, Gar Wood's name was everywhere and I ended up spending a few hours reading about the man.  He was truly a visionary and innovator and if you have a few seconds to look him up do it.  That being said, it turned out the boat in my brain was relatively similar to the one in the video below.  I know modern racing boats are a completely different animal, but this guy took Phillippine mahogany and strapped some V12 Packard's to it, fabricating all of the assembly himself and designing the torque converters etc. because Packard's engineers said it was impossible and the craft would shake itself to death.  The neat thing about the video I'm going to link is that it is an actual video with sound from 1932.  Pretty cool.  So, this was the Miss America X which had four V12's and is shown here racing down the Detroit River.

6400 horsepower!!!!!!  There are some modern videos of the Miss Americas VIII, IX, and X racing around and they are really magnificent feats of engineering.  Anyway, something like that is going to be in The Sentinel.  Oh yeah, I'll probably go ahead and mention that initial writing on The Sentinel is complete!  I have some editing and whatnot to go, but the truly time consuming part is over.  I'll have more announcements in the next few weeks as I set up a release date and pre-order plans etc.  I was shooting for an August release, but some of the marketing stuff might actually push it back to September.  We'll see!  When I know, you'll know!  Have a great day!

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Posted on June 18, 2014 .