Military Thrillers, Historical Fiction

American air combat veteran turned writer, hoping his novels honor those who serve.

Tom Young served in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Air National Guard. In all, Young logged nearly 5,000 hours as a flight engineer on the C-5 Galaxy and the C-130 Hercules while flying to almost forty countries. Military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, three Aerial Achievement Medals and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. 

In civilian life he spent ten years as a writer and editor with the broadcast division of the Associated Press, and currently works as an airline pilot based at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. Young holds a B.A. and M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

He is a member of the National Press Club, the Air Force Association, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Young serves as a vice commander of American Legion Post 20 in Washington, DC.

Your biggest literary influences:

There are so many, but I’ll narrow things down a bit. Since I’m writing WWII novels these days, I’ve been reading some of the great novelists who served that conflict and then wrote about it: Herman Wouk, James Jones, Norman Mailer and James Michener.

Last book read:

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

The book that changed your life:

When I read Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, I knew I wanted to fly. de Saint-Exupéry describes his adventures flying airmail in the days when airplanes were made of cloth and pilots were made of steel. Beyond the aviation exploits, the author’s thoughts on friendship, courage and our shared humanity also rang true with me. I’ve always considered it a tragedy that de Saint-Exupéry’s voice was silenced when he died in service to his country during World War II.

Your favorite literary character:

Inman, the protagonist in Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain. A wounded veteran of the Confederate Army, Inman walks away from a military hospital in Raleigh and begins a journey home to Cold Mountain. He’s had enough of war, and he wants simply to live in peace with his beloved Ada. Like the main character, I’m from rural North Carolina, and I could relate to the way war informed Inman’s understanding of the best and worst of human nature.

Currently working on:

Another WWII novel, loosely based on the real-life rescue of more than 500 downed Allied airmen in Yugoslavia.

Advice for aspiring authors:

Write often, and keep at it. Writing is a learned skill, not a mystical power. Like any other skill, if you practice long enough, you’ll get good at it.

Articles and Reviews:

Publishers Weekly: Silver Wings, Iron Cross

Publishers Weekly: The Mullah’s Storm

Kirkus: Sand and Fire

Publishers Weekly: Silent Enemy

Dallas Morning News: The Warriors

Testimonials:

“One of the most exciting new thriller talents in years!”
— Vince Flynn
 
“Gripping and impressively authentic.”
— Frederick Forsyth
 
“Courage and honor in the face of the enemy have not been so brilliantly portrayed since the great novels of the Second World War.”
— Jack Higgins