Hailed as the finest combat aviation novel to emerge from the Vietnam War, Flight of the Intruder spent twenty-eight weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list and became one of the top twenty bestselling first novels of all time. An instant classic, the book was translated into more than twenty languages and made into a major motion picture. Its hero, Jake Grafton, became a household name and the star of many more Coonts’ bestsellers.Without question, the strength of the book lies in its flying scenes when Jake Grafton straps himself into the cockpit of his A-6 Intruder. Jake’s love of flying is contagious whether you are hearing the book for the first time or listening to it for the third. No one better captures the world of Navy carrier pilots than Stephen Coonts. An Intruder pilot who flew combat missions off the deck of the USS Enterprise in the Vietnam War, Coonts lived the life he writes about, and he puts readers inside the hearts and minds of the pilots to reveal a world unknown to those outside the naval aviators’ fraternity. Few will forget the book’s final gut-wrenching scene when Jake’s once-innocent love of flying gives way to guilt and frustration and the need to give meaning to the deaths of his comrades.
This biography could be entitled, West Virginia Boy Becomes a Very Successful Author....... but that would be too obvious. Author, Stephen Coonts was born and raised in Buchanan, West Virginia, a small town of 6,000. He led the typical life of any boy growing up in the 50's and 60's.
He was born in 1946, and ended his childhood by graduating from West Virginia University with a degree in political science. As happens with many poli-sci grads, he had a law degree in mind, but first he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and began flight training in Pensacola, Florida.
Coonts received his wings after completion of fleet replacement training in the A-6 Intruder aircraft. After serving in the Vietnam War as an attack fighter, he served as a flight instructor, and did a tour of duty on the USS Nimitz. Upon leaving the Navy, he entered the University of Colorado School of Law. After receiving his law degree, he moved back to West Virginia to practice for a couple of years. But, his career took him back to Colorado where he specialized in oil and gas law.
Finally, in 1986, he published his first novel, Flight of the Intruder, which became a huge success, being on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover. Later, a movie by the same title was produced based on his novel, and was released nationally in 1991. All of his books have been published in several different countries.
Currently, Coonts lives in Colorado with his third wife, Deborah, He continues to write novels from Colorado.