James Bradley – NY Times #1 Best Selling Author – Flags of Our Fathers and The China Mirage.
A few years ago while drafting the first manuscript of She Called Him Raymond, I struggled mightily. I thought, with whom could I speak who could give me some guidance.
I had recently read James Bradley’s NY Times #1 best seller, Flags of Our Fathers. An extraordinary story about the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima in the iconic photograph. I couldn’t reach James directly, but spoke with his agent who said, “I can’t give you James’ phone number or email address, but if you send me an email outlining your project and why you want to speak with him, I’ll forward it.”
I crafted my email, attached photographs of Raymond and Helen and the B-17 crew, and fired it off. The following day, James Bradley emailed his phone number and said he would be glad to talk. We spent an hour on the phone during our first conversation and have shared many conversations and emails since. His guidance and encouragement have helped me immeasurably. During our first conversation, we were debating how best to approach the story, when James interrupted.
James: “Ray, you got a pen and paper?”
Me: “Yes, I’m ready.”
James: “Write these letters down, H-I-S-T-O-R-Y.”
James: “Yes. History, Ray. HIS – STORY. HIS – STORY, Ray. Just tell the damn story.”
Thank you, James. I’m telling the damn story.