Douglas County Civil Air Patrol Commander Dale Brown is New York Times Bestselling Author

Posted By on September 15, 2014


Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Sept. 15, 2014.

by Joey Crandall, · 3 min read

Thirteen-time New York Times bestselling author Dale Brown has the routine down to a near science.

Over the course of a 27-year career turning out high-tech aviation thrillers, Brown has completed 25 novels.

“The first one took about three years to write,” Brown said. “It takes about eight or nine months per book now.”

Of course, he has added a wrinkle to his routine in the past year.

Brown, or Captain Brown as he’s known around the Civil Air Patrol headquarters at Minden Tahoe Airport, became the commander of Nevada Wing Douglas County Composite Squadron NV-67 about six months ago.

“There is a little extra juggling that goes on now,” Brown said with a chuckle.

Last week, the Incline resident oversaw a battery of tactical exercises at Minden Tahoe Airport during which a pair of pilots received their biennial checks and the squadron engaged in training with the statewide wing.

“They issue a hypothetical incident and give the incident commander scenarios and watch how we react,” Brown said. “We get asked to do a variety of things, from taking photographs of dams and reservoirs in the area or assist in disaster relief and preparation. Civil Air Patrol can do reconaissance and searches very cost effectively. We love doing it. We’re trained by the Air Force but we are all civilian volunteers.”

Brown, 57, began writing his first novel, ‘Flight of the Old Dog,’ while he was still in the Air Force.

“I had always wanted to be a writer,” he said. “I wrote about what I knew and worked on the book with basically all my free time. Just like all first novels it was fantasy autobiography. I wrote about a B-52 navigator who was picked for a secret test mission that turned into a real operation. He ends up saving the crew, the airplane and the world.

“That’s where it started.”

It published in 1987 and Brown has been writing ever since.

“All of the sudden, the Cold War ended,” he said. “I’d been writing about the Soviet Union, and all of the sudden there was no Soviet Union. That’s when the real work started.

“I had to write about places people didn’t know about. It became a matter of learning the geopolitics of everything out there. I’ve found you can really predict the future to a large extent by studying geopolitics. I still stay very high-tech, but now it is a lot more of the geopolitical stuff than just the hard-core military stuff.”

The bulk of Brown’s novels center around a character named Patrick McLanahan.

“He’s not in each and every book,” Brown said. “But for the most part, they follow his progression from a young captain up to a three-star general. Now I have his son in the books, who is trying to decide whether he wants to follow his father’s footsteps into the military or not. His dad was gone a lot, kind of an absentee dad because of all these top secret missions. It’s been fun to explore this next chapter.”

Brown’s latest book, ‘Starfire,’ was released in May. His deadline for the next book is coming up later this year.

Most of Brown’s books are available at the Douglas County Public Library.