The Target: Love, Death and Airline Deregulation – author interview – J.R. Hauptman

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The_TargetPaperback Writer is pleased to introduce our author for today, J. R. Hauptman, author of The Target: Love, Death and Airline Deregulation as he promotes his novel.

About the Book:
More than a half-century ago, Ernie Gann authored “Fate is the Hunter” and “The High and The Mighty”. There has not been a bona fide blockbuster novel about the airline industry written by a genuine airline professional since then.

“THE TARGET; Love, Death and Airline Deregulation” by J.R. Hauptman, is set in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, and tells the tale of the tumultuous first years of airline deregulation and the effects it had on that industry and the people who worked there. There are many people today who believe it was, in large part, the rush to overall deregulation back then, that led directly to the economic chaos that threatens to overwhelm our entire economy today.

In the nineteen-eighties, Carlo Clemenza was known as “the most hated man” in the airline business, as described by some pundits. A dedicated corporate raider and union buster, Clemenza uses ruthless tactics to crush competing airlines and to bring airline workers to heel. His methods have earned him countless death threats, yet he struts with arrogance, surrounded by his cadre of security toughs.

Virtually thousands of pilots and other airline professionals find themselves forced to start their careers over or to find them at a sudden and complete end. The airline grapevine echoes daily with the cry, “Why doesn’t someone kill that SOB?”

Only one pilot, angered by the deaths of his friends, takes up the chase and he makes Carlo Clemenza THE TARGET! His chase will take him to the far corners of the country as he also finds himself the object of pursuit and murder. The characters merge in spectacular action and settings and the climax of the story ultimately ends in redemption.

Hi, J.R. Hauptman,

Welcome to Paperback Writer

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to appear on Paperback Writer.

Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?

A: My novel, The Target; Love Death and Airline Deregulation, came mainly from my experiences as an Army pilot in Viet Nam and as a professional pilot in the airline industry as well as the many jobs I took on just to make ends meet between flying jobs. It is based on the turmoil that resulted in the first years of airline deregulation and the effects that had on the aviation industry and the people that worked there. The story links directly to current events in that deregulation of the securities, banking and insurance industries has led us to the point of national bankruptcy and economic chaos.

Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

A: I wrote the first three or four chapters of The Target in a fury as my six year career as a securities and insurance broker came to an abrupt end after the stock market Crash of 1987. I truly had no idea how the story would turn out and the immediate need of finding another job to support my family demanded my full attention for quite some time. As it turned out, the life experiences of the next fifteen years provided more than enough material to complete a very good story. Completion did take more time than necessary because my life as a night airfreight and corporate pilot left little time or energy for creative writing. I had to set numerical goals for pages, words and chapters in order to complete the work and I think the final result was more balanced in tempo and tone as a result.

Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?

A: Most of the characters of The Target were composites based on personalities of people I knew in the airline business, in Viet Nam, or along the way. For an idea of how I developed the persona of my arch-villain, check out the video Worst Airline CEO’s on YouTube. That rogue’s gallery is self-explanatory. In my next book, Romancing the Grey Lady, my characters will be true to life, although I may continue to use pseudonyms.

Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

A: Oh, most certainly. Ivan, my protagonist, like many pilots, was a man of many talents and avocations; he was a veteran and a lifelong outdoorsman, skier and in truth, not a very good businessman. He was extremely loyal to his friends and comrades and possibly quite dangerous to his enemies.

Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?

A: There were many parts of the book that were great fun to write but I think the best part is in the climax of the book, which I believe I managed to keep completely unpredictable and the denouement, which maintains continuity with current events and reconciliation for the hero.

Q: When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

A: My first attempt was when I wrote those first three chapters, some twenty years ago. I immediately sent out about thirty query letters and nearly as quickly received an equal number of rejections. In fact, at least two agents who replied were indignant that I would dare to write a story about a disgruntled ex-pilot who sets out to whack his former boss. I guess they hadn’t heard of murder mysteries!

Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

A: As I completed the book, I came to understand that traditional publishers and agents are reluctant to take on projects by first-time authors, preferring to focus on proven winners, politicians and celebrities. It was during this time that self-publishing came into its own and I pursued this venue. Ironically, the self-publishing firm I finally settled upon chose to back out at the last minute, pleading their fear of liability from anyone who might take offense. Fortunately, Xlibris demonstrated more literary fortitude and took on my project, saying the notoriety might do us some good.

Q: What has been the best part about being published?

A: I have discovered that most of the interesting people I know have the desire to write a book of their own. I feel that when they tell me of their admiration and surprise that I have actually carried through with that. I try to encourage them to tell their own story. I have been fortunate to live a very interesting life, of which TheTarget is but one small part. If you can’t write the Big Story just now, focus on the small stories of your life, starting with today

Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

A: The corporate and economic leaders of today tend to think only of increasing their own wealth and power and they forget that they are dealing with the lives of real human beings out here. They must remember and respect that all of us as citizens have power in our right to speak, vote and influence others. The alternative is bloody revolution and chaos.

Q: Do you have plans to write another book?

A: My second book is already in progress. It is built around the title, Romancing the Grey Lady; Surfing the Atlantic and Greeting Life’s Certainty. It is about my friends and I who attempt to live life to the fullest, each day we are granted here on Earth.

Q: Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

A: Before the virtual tour, I had already gone down the costly route of sending hundreds of query letters and spending money on print advertising and publicists. Sales are a numbers game and the virtual tours from Pump Up Your Book Promotion are the logical solution to reaching the millions of readers on the internet. I don’t mind working my buns off when I know Dorothy Thompson is working just as hard for me.

Q: Where can readers find a copy of your book?

A: The Target; Love, Death and Airline Deregulation can be purchased through many book reviewers and literary bloggers as well as directly from Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Xlibras. In addition, we offer autographed copies at airline/internet discounts at our marketing website,

Thank you, J. R. Hauptman, for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.

A. The pleasure has been all mine indeed and I thank you for the opportunity to appear on Paperback Writer.

About the Author:

J.R. Hauptman (pseudonym) has been a professional pilot for nearly a half century. Barely twenty years old, he began as a military pilot and for almost two years he flew combat support missions in the Viet Nam War. Upon leaving military service he was hired by a major airline and was initially based on the West Coast. His flying career was interrupted by the turmoil that racked the airline industry during the early days of deregulation. In the interim, he worked as a travel agent, a stockbroker and even trained dogs and horses. In the late nineteen-eighties, he returned to aviation, flying jet charters and air freight. He concluded his career flying corporate jets and now lives in Florida. He is completing his second work, a non-fictional social commentary and surfs every day, waves or not. You can visit his website at

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This article was written by Rebecca

Rebecca is a book coach and editor. She guides aspiring writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and speakers to become self-published authors so they share their expertise, knowledge and passion. Thinking about writing a book? Contact her today to start writing your book.

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