Christmas is a special time of year for Coquitlam writer David E. Burnell.
Not only can he relax and spend time with his family but, often, he can also celebrate the publication of a new novel.
This year is no different.
Late last month, Burnell released yet another work in time for the holidays, called Sometimes Goodbye, a story that follows a Second World War pilot enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in England.
Two years ago, Burnell came out with Jerry Brent’s War around Remembrance Day — a book that also told the tale of an RAF pilot; that was unveiled through Vivalogue Publishing.
A Nightingale Sang and Dad’s Christmas Stories were also printed during the festive season, in 2013 and ’12 respectively.
For his latest self-publication, Burnell imagined the protagonist, Albert Wharley, just after he wrapped up Jerry Brent’s War.
The character popped into his head while he and his wife were returning from a June 2017 trip to Tofino.
Burnell made up a fictional air squadron for Wharley based on the exploits of the real-life RAF 51 Squadron, a bomber command formed in 1937. And, as in many of Burnell’s books, the author included a love story to distract the short-tempered Wharley in his pursuits and as he flew in hazardous missions over Germany and Italy.
“He finds trouble,” Burnell said of his star. “He expects too much and doesn’t anticipate the red tape. They put him in an elementary flying squad, which he doesn’t like.”
Burnell said he researched 51 Squadron’s adventures via the internet and, for the book cover, superimposed an image of a Halifax aircraft over Tofino’s waters.
He also asked his wife as well as Coquitlam resident Maureen V. Patz — aka Spitfire Mo, a Canadian representative of the Spitfire Society — and fellow members of the New Westminster Writers Group to copy edit and proofread his draft.
But the November release of Sometimes Goodbye isn’t the only thing Burnell has going on. Next month will see his debut novel, The Coven of the Unholy, translated into Sinhalese for a hard cover book for readers in Sri Lanka.
As well, portions from that book that were cut out are now being reworked into a Coven prequel; Satan’s Disciple is expected to be out in 2020 — likely around Christmas, Burnell said.