The stories in “Wheels Up” are not made up. They are the real deal, true antics of a jet age pilot in the high-octane environment of the cockpit. Some will give you pause and make you think, some will knock the wind out of you, and some will make you throw your head back and laugh. No one is spared his (or her) just deserts, least of all the self-deprecating author in this tale of high jinks in the air, on land and at sea, complete with high tension and low humor, near collisions and happy landings.
From Citadel cadet to Delta captain, Taylor takes readers into a world few have seen. It’s both humorous and heartfelt – fast, fun and true.
Q) Steve, let me start by asking what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from trying to put a story on paper with the same humor and interest it had when it was told verbally.
Q) How do you find “inspiration” and where does it live?
Inspiration feeds on itself. Once I get into describing and telling a story, the enthusiasm develops.
Q) When did you first consider yourself to be a writer, Steve?
Well, I guess I never really considered myself a writer until my editor said, “Steve, you have a voice that needs to come out, and when I am finished with you, you will be a good writer.”
Q) How many times have you started a story without finishing it?
I have done this a few times. I also have finished a story and discarded it. In both situations, I had to admit that the stories were more entertaining to me than they would be to a future reader. It is hard to throw away work, but better that the author do it than wait for the editor to wield the cruel red ink, or worse, have a dragging section in the book.
Q) What is the greatest writing aid a writer can have?
The Internet. Because of it, writers today have the opportunity to look much smarter than in the old days. There is not much excuse for getting the facts wrong.
Q) Who is the most inspiring individual you’ve ever met?
My father was the measure of all other men. Through hardship and failure, his integrity and good humor were unshakable. Against the odds, he persisted until success was achieved. He never told me what to do, but he encouraged what I did.
Q) What is your personal writer’s heaven?
My writer’s heaven is being able to create successfully without the complications of publishing and marketing.
Q) Can you tell me what your new book is about in 10 words or less?
It’s 22 stories about the antics of airline crew members.
Q) How often have you read another writer’s book and said, “I can do better than that?”
Probably not as often as somebody has said that about me.
Q) Who are your personal favorite authors?
I am an eclectic reader. Some of my favorites are Winston Churchill, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain, Malcolm Gladwell and my son, Brad Taylor. All of these are accurate with the facts.
Q) For the purpose of this question, I’m a school teacher. What can you offer to help me prepare 4th graders to appreciate writing, now and for the rest of their lives?
They will never learn to appreciate good writing unless they learn to become readers. Give them something to read that they enjoy. They will gradually learn to appreciate good writing as they become good readers.
Q) How do you know when a chapter is just right?
I never know that it’s just right. If it’s left to cool for a while, there always seems to be something to make it better.
Q) How do you like to write? By the pool? On the bed? In the car? What’s your heavenly writing situation?
I like to slump way back in my easy chair with a typewriter keyboard in my lap that is connected to a laptop computer. Since this puts the computer too far away for my normal glasses, I use weaker drugstore glasses.
Q) Do you feel supported as a writer?
This writing thing is a yin-yang situation. My friends and readers heap praise, but I am always prepared to get kicked in the teeth by a vendor.
Q) How do you think your new book will be received by readers?
Hope springs eternal–there goes that cliché again.