Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Interview: Ronald Corbin

Today I am pleased to welcome Ronald Corbin to the blog to talk about his new book, Beyond Recognition. 

A little about the book

Beyond Recognition is the memoir of Ronald Corbin, a former Army combat helicopter pilot and Vietnam veteran who becomes a Los Angeles policeman, and later, a pilot for LAPD’s Air Support Division (ASD).

Ron’s military training and unique combat flying experience as a “Slick” Huey pilot, and his wide background as an instructor pilot in various helicopters, is recognized by the ASD captain, but not without creating fierce jealousies.

After an aircraft accident that claims the life of a pilot trainee and puts Ron in the hospital, the LAPD assembles a Board of Inquiry. Ron’s detractors seek jealous revenge by feeding misleading statements to the Board investigators. The investigation evolves into
a “kangaroo court,” but the Board’s exercise in “finger‐pointing” quickly backfires as Ron exposes a “cover‐up” that has corporate and City attorneys scrambling to settle.


1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
After retiring from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept, I was having trouble adjusting to the life of leisure. My wife encouraged me to do “something productive,” and suggested writing a book. I never considered myself a good writer, even though I had several short stories published in anthologies, and had done many magazine articles. So I thought that at least I could write about some of the events of my days as a Los Angeles Policeman and helicopter pilot, including the training accident that killed my student pilot.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
Definitely “plot driven.”

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
The main character is me. It’s a combination of my memoirs and an expose` on the helicopter crash incident I had with LAPD’s Air Support Division in the 1970s

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
During my time with LAPD’s ASD, there was a personality issue with the unit’s Chief Pilot, who disliked military-trained pilots…of which I was one. It also covers the post-accident investigation, which was botched; botched in the sense that it involved destruction of a vital piece of wreckage evidence resulting in a “cover-up.”

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
I would like the readers to understand that all governmental inquiries and investigations are sometimes “slanted” by misleading and false statements (yeah, I know this is not a startling revelation to anyone.) In a sense I wanted my story to be known of how the Board of inquiry for this incident was swayed to fix blame on a dead policeman and myself, who suffered 70% burns and post traumatic amnesia.

6. What song best describes your writing style?
Wow! Being a first time book writer, I’ve never thought about this symbolism. I guess that I try to incorporate things into my writing that have happened in my past, whether fact or fiction based upon fact. So, if I had to pick a song for this question, I’d say “The Way We Were.”

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Night Owl.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
My wife says that I need to eat better… with more green and yellow and red foods. So I accommodate her with M&M’s.

9. Who are your favorite authors?
Joseph Wambaugh and Robert Crais

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
One, tentatively titled “Why All The Elm Trees Died,” is a short memoir about my “Tom Sawyer-like” childhood and growing up in the 1950s in a small town in S/E Kansas. Another one called “Bullet Points,” which is a fiction about a serial killer in this same small Kansas farming community.


Meet the Author

Ron Corbin served two tours in Vietnam as an Army helicopter and instructor pilot.  He received numerous unit and individual ribbons for combat action, to include being awarded the Air Medal 31 times, once with a “V” device for valor.  Honorably discharged in 1969, he joined the LAPD as a policeman and pilot/instructor pilot for the Air Support Division.  Retiring from LAPD after an on-duty helicopter accident, he finished his college and graduate education.  He holds a Masters in elementary education and a Ph.D. in security administration with an emphasis in terrorism threats to America’s nuclear resources.  Joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 1993 as a crime prevention specialist, his specialty was Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).  He attended training in this discipline at the National Crime Prevention Institute, University of Louisville.  His CPTED subject matter expertise led him to be interviewed in Reader’s Digest, Sunset Magazine, PetroMart Business and Las Vegas Life magazines.  He also was responsible for publishing Metro’s in-house training journal, the Training Wheel.  Ron has been a contributing columnist to Las Vegas Now magazine as well as a guest lecturer on Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines, addressing citizens’ personal safety issues.  He is the previous author of stories published in several anthologies, and recently authored BEYOND RECOGNITION (Oak Tree Press), a memoir about  his helicopter crash with LAPD.  Ron retired as LVMPD’s academy training manager in 2011.  He and his wife Kathy have three children, six grandchildren, and live in Las Vegas. 

Beyond Recognition is Available From

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