Stephanie Lile is a lecturer at UWT and she has recently written a book appro­priately titled The Tail Gunner. I really can’t wait to talk to you about her book, but first I would like to introduce you to the author as best I can. First off, Stephanie Lile has been a lecturer for the University for three years now and told me she has loved every moment of it. She teaches museum studies and is prob­ably the most qualified person to do so. With 22 years in the museum business, she is very well equipped with great knowledge of the subject material. She has been at the Washing­ton State History Museum right across the street, and still works there as the Head of Education.

Now let’s talk about the book! Stephanie Lile created a novel that is based in history but dips in to fantasy. This book is a tale about a 17 year old girl named Sylvie Stevens and her encounter with “Bomber Boy Bish”. Bish is the spirit of a WWII tail gunner who needs Sylvie’s help with one last mission. Now before I go any further with this I would like to point out that Lile actually based this off of authentic WWII memorabilia that her dad obtained dur­ing his tour as a tail gunner.

This story takes place in Italy, both Rome and Capri. These cities are where Stephanie Lile’s dad was during the war. Because of that she is able to more accurately understand what it was like during the war by looking through her dad’s things. Stephanie also took time to go to Italy to study and research for this book and even went to Arizona to fly in the tail gunner spot in a B-25 bomber plane.

I personally have a copy of this book and I will say she does an excellent job of blending the fantasy aspect with a historical background. The amount of realism she is able to portray because of her visit and because of her exten­sive research on the subject is impressive. She even remarked that “I am still going through and cataloging my dad’s stuff.” Something I personally have enjoyed so far whilst reading is the use of poetry, something many people kept and read during the war. The use of po­etry moves the story along, and combined with flashbacks from Bish’s past, make it all the more enjoyable. This is a book I can recommend with confidence to all of you, especially since it written by somebody with such a vast knowl­edge of the subject. Written by one of our own here at UWT, The Tail Gunner is available in the University Bookstore for any and all who would like to pick up a copy and dive in to the adventure of Sylvie and Bish.

PHOTO BY MOLLY REETZ
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