Friday, June 14, 2013

Interview and Guest Post with Timothy Ashby, Author of Time Fall

Timothy Ashby was born in the USA, but moved at the age of 13 to the small Caribbean island of Grenada, which his veterinarian father and occupational therapist mother had chosen for charitable volunteer service. Mr. Ashby lived a “Huck Finn” existence, rarely attending school,and spending his teenage years surfing, sailing, diving and indulging his lifelong passion for history and archaeology. 

His interest in creative writing was mentored by the late Martin Woodhouse and Dudley Pope, historian and author of nautical fiction who was inspired by C.S. Forester. Mr. Pope even named one of the characters in his Lord Ramage series of historical novels “Captain Ashby,” in honor of the teenage Tim Ashby. Mr. Ashby subsequently lived in Spain and the UK, returning to Grenada in his early 20s where he was a director of various businesses until the Communist Revolution of 1979. He moved to California to attend the University of Southern California, receiving his PhD in International Relations in 1986. His doctoral dissertation was published by Lexington Books in 1987 as The Bear in Back Yard: Moscow’s Caribbean Strategy. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich included long passages from the book in a floor speech to the U.S. Congress.

Tim Ashby was in Washington DC from 1984 to 1990, working first as a counter-terrorism consultant to the U.S. State Department, and then as a senior official – the youngest political appointee of his rank – at the U.S. Commerce Department, responsible for commercial relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He held two Top Secret security clearances and worked with a number of colorful characters, including members of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). 

During the 1990s, Mr. Ashby resided in the UK, earning an MBA degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and working in Central and Eastern Europe on a variety of privatization and economic development projects. He also has a law degree from what he calls “a fine Jesuit university,” and is a licensed attorney in Florida and Washington, DC. He is the author of Time Fall, Devil’s Den, The Bear in the Back Yard, Missed Opportunities, numerous articles, and the prize-winning ghost story, “Warrior’s Return.”

Tim Ashby’ website/blog can be found at FaceBook page address is Twitter:

When did you begin writing?

I began writing at the age of 13, starting with short stories and poems. Even at that age I was passionate about history and adventure. As noted in my bio, I was very fortunate to have been mentored by two eminent writers during my teenage years.

What is this book about?

TIME FALL follows six U.S. Army Rangers who jump from an aircraft in 1945 and travel nearly 70 years by the time they hit the ground.

Near the end of World War II, Lt. Arthur Sutton leads his troop on a covert mission in Germany, but the soldiers are unaware that they’ve landed in 2011. One of their raids inadvertently thwarts a planned terrorist attack, but also gets a German counter-terrorism outfit on their trail. In the future, the men must work with a sergeant whose thirst for vengeance—his Jewish family suffered Nazi atrocities—causes him to become unhinged while they’re being pursued by retired Gen. Hanno Kasper, a loyal Nazi who’d rather see them dead than taken alive. Despite the time traveling, the novel isn’t so much sci-fi as historical fiction with a modern-day setting: The soldiers believe it’s 1945 for much of the story; Kasper wallows in archaic Nazi principles, always carrying the Iron Cross given to him by Hitler when he was a young boy; and American investigator and Vietnam vet Eddie Cassera delves into the past after finding a recently killed solider who’s been MIA for decades. Time traveling, in fact, is a minor plot device —characters concentrate less on how they arrived in the future than what action to take while there. Sutton, who loses the others after an injury, is a man out of time. Scenes of the lieutenant slowly grasping his circumstances are handled deftly; his fascination with such contemporary things as an iPad or YouTube aren’t tongue-in-cheek but endearing, as when he’s shown a video of his favorite musician, Benny Goodman. In the same vein, Sutton’s relationship with Paula, a German woman who sympathizes with his plight, is endurably unassertive.

What inspired you to write it?

When I was a university student a Vietnam veteran classmate told me about an incident that he witnessed that inspired me to write TIME FALL. During the Vietnam War a “dustoff” (US Army unarmed medical evacuation helicopter) mysteriously disappeared after flying into a strange cloud during the monsoon season. Hundreds of military personnel witnessed the phenomenon, a high-level investigation took place, but no trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. Perhaps one day that helicopter will land in a very different Vietnam with its unsuspecting crew of young American soldiers

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

TIME FALL is available in both print and eBook editions from:


Print -
Kindle -

What is up next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to my first novel, DEVIL’S DEN, another historical mystery thriller set in the 1920s titled IN SHADOWLAND. The new book’s plot is about an investigation into the actual death of fighter pilot Quentin Roosevelt, son of former President Teddy Roosevelt. Quentin crashed behind German lines in 1918 … but what REALLY happened to him?

Special Forces Operations—
Yesterday and Today
By Timothy Ashby

In TIME FALL, Lt. Art Sutton and his six-man “Fox” team are members of the US 2nd Ranger Battalion. Sutton was a survivor of the assault on Pointe du Hoc during the Normandy invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944. I based “Fox” team on the “Alamo Scouts,” which were small teams of highly trained volunteers, operating deep behind enemy lines.

Sutton’s team was trained for “Operation Bandstand” - their sabotage mission behind German lines in Bavaria - by British Commandos. The Commandos were formed following Winston Churchill's call for "specially trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror.” Sutton and his men were tasked with carrying out just such a “reign of terror” in Germany, including sabotage, assassinations, and attacks on Nazi party and military targets. The British were responsible for instructing many American soldiers who became the leaders of US Special Forces in the postwar years.

Some World War II era US Special Forces (such as the Office of Strategic Services Jedburgh teams which provided leadership to French Resistance units) were involved in guerrilla and insurgency support operations. As noted in TIME FALL, a secondary mission of “Operation Bandstand” was to instigate an uprising by an underground anti-Nazi group called “Freedom Action Bavaria,” which actually existed.

During the Vietnam War, the US Special Forces’ mission and tactics changed from a unit which had initially been used like its WWII predecessors as an internal strike force into a training cadre which focused on unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency tactics. Modern Special Forces, such as the Navy Seals unit that killed Bin Laden, continue to operate with similar tactics.

Today, the USA has many military and intelligence organizations popularly known as Special Operations Forces (SOF). Many but not all of the military units are components of the Department of Defense's United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) commands and controls the Special Mission Units (SMU) of USSOCOM. These units perform highly classified activities such as the operation to capture or execute Bin Laden.
In the 1980s, I worked with JSOC teams on embassy security and counter-terrorism missions in Latin America and the Caribbean. I got to know many of the JSOC men, and they were colorful characters. At that time, most of the personnel were Vietnam veterans, and they told me about missions behind enemy lines not unlike the fictional “Bandstand” operation that forms the plot of TIME FALL.

Lt. Art Sutton’s 2nd Ranger Battalion still exists as part of the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The Rangers and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are controlled by JSOC when deployed as part of JSOC Task Forces such as Task Force 121 and Task Force 145. Rangers – some of whom are the grandsons of World War II soldiers like Art Sutton and his “Fox team” comrades – are still performing dangerous, highly classified, missions behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries.

Filled with historically accurate details, Time Fall is a complex military tale that keeps readers riveted through every surprising twist. Read an excerpt and to enter to win a FREE copy of Time Fall, visit For your copy, visit You can also get your copy at all major book retailers.

Publisher – Author Planet Press
ISBN-10 1481026674
ISBN-13 978-1481026673

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