• January 10, 2013
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Character Dear Reader Letter: Dr. Lee Frankel from Thomas Block’s ‘Captain’

lettersJanuary doesn’t have to be all about freezing temperatures and nothing to do! Literarily Speaking will be hosting authors from January 2 – 25 with a fun way to get through the winter doldrums. We are asking authors to have their characters write letters to their readers. If your character had a voice (and of course they do!), what would they like to say to their readers? Now they finally have a say! Put on a hot toddy, light the fire and read these way cool letters to YOU, our dear readers!

Today’s guest is Dr. Lee Frankel from Thomas Block’s Captain!

Dr. Lee Frankel is a 48 year old psychiatrist from New York City who was returning from Italy onboard Trans-Continental Airlines Flight 3 on the day that airline flight was involved in its incredible journey. In addition to his customary psychiatric medical practice in New York, Lee Frankel spends considerable time doing follow-up work on what the noted and world-renowned psychiatrist (the late) Dr. Viktor Frankl (no relation to Lee Frankel) had done so many years earlier. Lee Frankel has been physically described as having ‘very expressive eyes and his tall, thin face was balanced by a trimmed mustache and a short goatee. His facial hair was mostly grey, but with some streaks of black.

Dear Readers:

I’m going to touch on a few of the highlights of what happened onboard Flight 3 on that particular January day, although I’ll be careful not to say too much since in order to completely understand what happened you’ll need to read the story in its proper chronological order. That much said, I can tell you that the entire experience was truly life-changing for so many of us – and that also includes a number of people who weren’t onboard the stricken airliner itself but were otherwise deeply involved.

While I do travel a great deal in connection with my work, I didn’t know very much about airliners and airlines – and in that area alone I learned about a whole new world of experiences, thoughts, reactions and observations that I hardly knew existed before I stepped onboard that jetliner in Rome. But most importantly, what I personally took away from that incredible and mesmerizing experience was how much the principles and convictions that I have held so dear to me were to prove themselves over and over again as absolutely valid during our seemingly endless journey to the very edge of hell.

It is seldom possible to observe – and, for that matter, to personally participate – in such a clinical study of human nature, frailty and displays of intense strength and personal transformation. From watching Captain Ray Clarke, Captain Jack Schofield, Tina Lopez and Linda Erickson – to name just a few – during their actions and reactions to such overwhelming stimuli, and to later learn of the thoughts and actions of others such as George Fisher, Maynard Lyman and Brandon Kyle was to validate all over again the basic underpinnings of my own life that I had learned from the teachings of the great Dr. Viktor Frankl. I’ll quote right here one of Dr. Frankl’s momentous observations that rang absolutely true to those of us involved in the saga of Flight 3:

“For what then counts and matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a tragedy into a personal triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement.”

But the final thought that I want to leave you with, dear reader, is how the experience of that long day’s journey has personally touched me and help me to transform myself further along the path that I’m quite pleased to be headed in. I don’t believe that it is a stretch of credibility to say that everyone who was caught up in the Flight 3 experience has had their characters tested severely and their lives changed dramatically – both by the events themselves and their personal actions and reactions to the situations they found themselves in.

I can assure you that I’ve been changed forever by what happened to me that day. I’m also as certain as day follows night that each and every one of you, dear readers, will also be changed to some degree after you’ve learned the full story of what happened to that airliner and everyone who was involved with it. Read about our saga in Captain to see for yourself – the journey has been, and will continue to be, a life-altering experience. I guarantee it.

Welcome aboard.


thomasblock2Thomas Block has written a number of aviation-oriented novels, many which have gone on to acquire best-seller status in numerous countries. His novel writing began with the publication of “Mayday” in 1979. That novel was rewritten with novelist Nelson DeMille in 1998 and remains on DeMille’s extensive backlist. “Mayday” became a CBS Movie of the Week in October, 2005.

Several of the other novels by Block include “Orbit” (a top bestseller in Germany, among other nations), “Airship Nine”, “Forced Landing” (also done as a radio serialization drama in Japan), “Skyfall”, “Open Skies” and his latest novel, “Captain”. Thomas Block is still writing both fiction and non-fiction, and has edited and updated his earlier novels into ebooks in all the major formats and also into handsome full-sized (6″ by 9″ Trade Paperback) printed versions.

Block’s magazine writing began in 1968 and over the next five decades his work has appeared in numerous publications. He worked 20 years at FLYING Magazine as Contributing Editor, and as Contributing Editor to Plane & Pilot Magazine for 11 years. Block became Editor-at-Large for Piper Flyer Magazine and Cessna Flyer Magazine in 2001. During his long career as an aviation writer he has written on a wide array of subjects that range from involvement with government officials to evaluation reports on most everything that flies.

An airline pilot for US Airways for over 36 years before his retirement in April, 2000, Captain Thomas Block has been a pilot since 1959. Since 2002, he has lived on a ranch in Florida with his wife Sharon where they board, compete and train horses.

His latest book is the suspense/thriller novel, Captain.

Visit his website at www.thomasblocknovels.com.

To purchase from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captain-Thomas-Block/dp/1470158973/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347159324&sr=8-1&keywords=captain+by+thomas+block

To puchase a Kindle copy: http://www.amazon.com/Captain-ebook/dp/B007KQHK2I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332328330&sr=8-1

To purchase from Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/captain-thomas-block/1109625740?ean=2940014237529&itm=1&usri=thomas+block+captain

To purchase from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/160858


Captain1-200x300Thomas Block has created ‘Captain’ – his most ambitious, intricate and action-packed aviation tale yet . It is a chilling and all-too-real story about a routine Trans-Atlantic airline flight that suddenly turns absolutely insane. In the doomed airliner’s cockpit, inside the passenger cabin and on the ground, a complex array of characters have been propelled at jet speed into a sudden and frantic race for survival.

‘Captain’ is about the individual and collective struggles of each of these men and women as they attempt to deal with and ultimately fight against the odds and circumstances that are stacked against them. ‘Captain’ is a novel that pits man against man while also pitting man against machine. It is a story about the need for human judgments, hard-learned experiences, gut feelings and unbridled perseverance in an effort to rise up against a world where the strict adherence to written rules, regulations and procedures have been accepted as the norm.

‘Captain’ is about the way real airline pilots think, feel and react, especially after those giant airliners that they’ve strapped themselves to have suddenly turned vicious and unpredictable.

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