War inside & out

Local author Brian Howald publishes his first novel after a five-year break from publishing

It’s no surprise that Brian Howald’s book launch coincides with Remembrance Day — the local novelist and publisher is a war history buff.

Inside Looking Out will be Howald’s fourth novel based on the Second World War. He’s also written about the American Civil War and has plans to release a novel on the Vietnam War.

Howald said he took Remembrance Day into account when he was planning the book launch last month.

“When I knew I had to pick a date in mid-November, I quickly decided on Nov. 11,” he said. “Why not?”

Inside Looking Out is a suspense story based on the experiences of British soldiers in a German camp for Prisoners of War. Main characters Terry Lange and Pete Foley carry out a series of elaborate escape attempts.

“It’s a good action-packed character drama,” Howald said.

Howald said he’s interested in writing about the Second World War because there’s room or creativity.

“There are a thousand good stories that could be set during wartime,” he said. But Howald said wartime books have only become main-stream in the last decade.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago, there weren’t many war novels in bookstores,” he said. “Perhaps as we approach the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, there’s more interest.”

Howald wrote and published Inside Looking Out. He founded the Kingston-based publishing company, Bookworm Literary Productions, in 1994. He wasn’t planning on writing novels, but said it was difficult to attract outside partners.

“Financing was one major hurdle,” he said. “I wanted to be just a publisher at the beginning but I had to fall back on my own resources.”

Howald published his first novel, The Chopper of Lucy Electra, in July 1996. Inside Looking Out will be the seventh book he’s written and published through Bookworm Literary Productions.

After Howald published The Blue of Capricorn in 2004, Bookworm Literary Productions was inactive for five years. Howald said he chose to take a break because the publishing company was becoming a financial burden. He wanted to perform firework shows with his brother in Perth, Ont.

“I became attracted to doing high explosives,” he said. “I wanted to experience, without anyone shooting back at me, what it might be like on a battlefield.”

But Howald always intended to restart his publishing company.

“I never officially closed Bookworm down,” he said. “I used four or five years to polish off a whole series of manuscripts.”

Howald said Inside Looking Out will be the first of many books he’ll release in the next few years. His next publication, A Spot Marked X, is a war story about an undiscovered Nazi treasure.

But Howard’s future novels won’t all be about the Second World War.

“One manuscript is a dramatized account of Jane Fonda’s trip to Hanoi in 1972,” he said. “It’s a scenario that really hasn’t been written about.”

The book launch for Inside Looking Out takes place Friday afternoon at Novel Idea at 156 Princess St. from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 8 p.m.

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