#BlogTour with #Giveaway Sparrow Squadron by D.L. Jung @DariusJung

Sparrow Squadron
D.L. Jung
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Action-Adventure
Release Date: February 2018

"There was a time when flying didn't mean looking over my shoulder for death coming at me."

World War II. June 1941. Hitler's war machine turns to the Soviet Union.

Escaping her hometown ahead of the Nazis, 16-year-old Aelya Makarova seizes a chance to live her dream. Obsessed with flying, she joins a women's fighter squadron to defend her homeland against the invaders. She'll go faster and higher than she's ever gone before.

But the harsh reality of Air Force life shatters her expectations and forces her to grow up fast. The squadron is split by petty rivalries, male pilots treat them like a joke, and the ideal country she thought she was fighting for doesn't really exist.

Finally given a chance to prove herself in battle, Aelya is pushed to breaking point. With all her talent, the help of her comrades, and a lot of luck, she might just make it through. But will there be anything left of her humanity?

With fast-paced action and a heart-rending mix of humour and tragedy, Sparrow Squadron is an adventure novel for young adults that brings an overlooked episode of history to life.

Sparrow Squadron: Playlist
Writing a novel is a gargantuan task and most authors use varying tricks to keep their energy going. One of my favourites is to imagine a soundtrack to a movie/TV mini-series based on what I'm writing. By soundtrack, I don't mean to say these are songs I'd actually want to accompany an adaptation if, by some miracle, that were to happen. The choices on this playlist might be too on the nose or too incongruous. What I want out of a playlist is to get into the right mood as I write a particular section. This feeling might be driven by the sound of a song, by the lyrics, or by the artist’s attitude.
For Sparrow Squadron, I definitely wanted modern pop and rock music in the playlist. The characters need to feel like they could step out of any Western high school or college. Despite the gap of years and the Soviet system they lived under, it’s important that these characters reinforce my underlying themes of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. I want readers to wonder how they would act under similar circumstances. Music helped play a role in writing that.
Here are my picks for the playlist. If you read the novel, try to guess which chapters these pair up with. You'll also notice I'm betraying my Canadian roots with a lot of these!
  1. K-Os – Sunday Morning
  2. Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  3. fun. featuring Janelle Monáe – We Are Young
  4. Serena Ryder – What I Wouldn’t Do
  5. Lorde – Team
  6. Metric – The Shade
  7. Dear Rouge – Black to Gold
  8. Santigold – Lights Out
  9. CHVRCHES – Leave a Trace
  10. The New Pornographers – High Ticket Attractions
  11. Electric Youth with ROOM8 – Without You
  12. OMD – Maid of Orleans
  13. College featuring Nola Wren – Save the Day
  14. Flume featuring Kai – Never Be Like You

Aelya leaned back and focused on connecting the scenery below with what was on her maps. Flat, grassy terrain, cut with many rivers stretching to every horizon. She hated being a passenger, but that couldn't stop her from taking in all that she loved about flying: shadows cast by intermittent clouds distorting the landscape, the sway of the plane, the thrum of the engine.
Stitches was right; it required the utmost concentration not to get lost under these calm conditions, let alone during combat. Far off, dark clouds of smoke marked the one unmistakable feature: the ruined city of Stalingrad.
So what’s your background?” Stitches asked. “When did you decide to fly?”
“I’m supposed to be watching the landscape.”
“I’m testing you. A good pilot pays attention to multiple things at once.” He laughed.
“Now you’re interested in my story? I thought I didn’t have enough missions.”
He turned his face so she could see his strained smile. “Much as I hate to admit it, I saw enough during that interception. You’re not without skill.”
“Thanks, I guess.” Was he telling her to be proud of herself? That was patronizing. The more she thought about it, the worse her performance had seemed.
“I don’t doubt your ability,” Stitches continued, “but combat’s not just about being good. Only luck will determine when you go out. Whether you get shot down next week or make it through this war without a scratch, the odds are the same.”
He seemed happy to hear himself talk. Stitches was a veteran. With four confirmed kills, he was almost an ace. She shifted to the edge of her seat, gripped with the urge to take advantage of this moment of openness.
“I probably could have done better.” A lot better. “Any suggestions?”
“It’s impossible to know what’s going on with so many planes in the air. Half the time I have no clue what anyone else is doing. To be honest, I have no idea how well you did, but that you dived into a swarm of Junkers and came out all right speaks well of you.”
Wait . . . you saw enough to confirm I damaged one, right?”
“Caught me in a lie, I’m afraid.”
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DL Jung has been an enthusiastic student of history since grade school, when he spent lazy afternoons flipping through an old Encyclopedia Britannica set. He enjoys blogging about history and writing historical fiction. He also writes fantasy and horror fiction as Darius Jung.

Jung is married, with two children, and lives in Toronto, Canada. They are lucky enough to spend part of the time in New Zealand. Outside of writing, he has tried stints as an industrial engineer, a film and TV script supervisor, an IT consultant, a professional game show contestant, and a grossly under-qualified business wear model. Sparrow Squadron is his debut novel.