Author Howard Seaborne developed a passion for writing very early in his life. “Sometime between the third and fourth grades, the light came on—anything I read had to have been written by someone,” he says. “I began writing adventure novels in spiral notebooks using cartridge-type fountain pens. The pens and notebooks went away after I taught myself touch-typing, but the writing never stopped.”
When he wasn’t writing, chances are Seaborne was dreaming about flying. And it wasn’t just a childhood obsession. Seaborne began flying lessons at age 16. He then earned his commercial license and flight instructor rating and became a professional pilot at 18. While Seaborne didn’t ultimately continue as a commercial airline pilot, everything he knows and loves about flight finds its way into his fiction.
Seaborne’s Divisible Man series, which now comprises nine titles, centers on air charter pilot Will Stewart, who, after miraculously surviving a devastating in-flight accident, discovers he’s developed an extraordinary, uncanny power: to vanish and defy the laws of gravity. Throughout the books, Will utilizes this ability to thwart crimes, unravel conspiracies, and catch bad guys. His anchor throughout it all is his cherished wife, Andy, an accomplished police officer and a force in her own right. In the latest installment, Nine Lives Lost, Will finds himself embroiled in UFO conspiracies as he works to unravel the secrets of an isolated Montana ranch.
Seaborne says he first came up with the idea for Will’s unusual ability while daydreaming during his kids’ elementary school programs. “I imagined myself floating unseen above the audience,” he says. “My favorite question followed: ‘And then what?’ I asked myself, ‘How do I get up there? How do I get down? What are the physical properties of my body? Did my clothes vanish with me?’ Rules don’t stifle; they make the enterprise interesting and believable. The final question—What would you do with this?—sparked the DM novels.”
Fans of the series know that the supernatural story line is just one of the many narrative ingredients that make the books true page-turners. Each title takes Will, Andy, and readers on an action-filled, unexpected journey. Seaborne excels at crafting twisty, tension-filled, complex plots while never losing sight of character growth. And as any writer knows, that’s quite a feat. Each title works as a standalone story, so readers don’t need to have read previous books in the series. Although they’ll certainly want to.
For Seaborne, writing the books is as much of an adventure as reading them. “I wish I could say that I carefully map out every plot twist and turn, but the characters often surprise me, and situations they stumble into reveal new possibilities,” he says. “I always know the ultimate destination, but the journey can be as revealing to me as it is to the reader.”
Exciting story lines and new opportunities for Will to utilize his preternatural gift aside, the endearing romance at the center of the books also keeps readers reaching for the next installment. It’s one of Seaborne’s favorite elements in the books as well. “Few tales in entertainment feature a devoted, passionate marriage,” he says. “In the DM novels, Will and Andy are not only crazy for each other, but they balance each other. Will’s ability opens the door to impulsive behavior. Andy’s passion for law enforcement carries a maturity that offsets Will’s adolescent inclinations. They challenge and tease each other yet remain deeply attracted. Married, they may be, but I write their relationship as if they’re still dating.”
Throughout the many far-reaching story lines, Seaborne maintains verisimilitude. For that, he channels his own knowledge and consults the sources he needs to deliver convincing worldbuilding. “My library contains books on nearly every topic touched in the novels,” he says. “Newspapers and current periodicals provide an endless supply of villains. I’ve loved history all my life. Studying the past shows how complex a seemingly simple event can be, which helps me avoid linear plotlines and one-dimensional solutions and, in turn, nurtures rich opportunities for plot twists.”
His experience as a pilot continues to come in handy, and he prioritizes getting the details just right. “Nothing drives a pilot crazier than stupid aviation gimmicks in fiction,” he says. “No, the controls do not violently shake if you lose an engine! The aviation elements in the DM books are authentic. The rules imposed by the FAA, the laws of physics, and the whims of Mother Nature are rigid. Everything that happens in the novels obeys those rules.”
Seaborne continues to fly any chance he gets—often as research for the books and sometimes to author events. His childhood self, who scribbled stories in notebooks and dreamed of piloting planes, would undoubtedly be thrilled.
“Readers of Divisible Man may be interested to know that I’m one of them,” Seaborne says. “I read these books. I like to hang out with the characters and escape into their world. The same goes for writing. Opening my laptop transports me to hangars that smell of oil, airplanes that cruise clear skies, the minds of villains I hate, and the hearts of characters I would give anything to buy a beer. And, of course, we have all had that dream—the one where you can fly.”