My buddy Mike Trahan sometimes sits and tells me stories. I like his stories. He has a style all of his own and has a life worth hearing about. Now, in the book world, there are thousands of people with interesting stories writing memoirs every day of the week. What sets Mike Trahan apart? I think the wide range of experiences, his age and literary ability, his Texan-born gift of being able to tell a story, his humility, his faith in his own abilities…. These are all important factors, and I think it’s important for people to read about Mike Trahan. It’s important for people lacking confidence to draw confidence from the Mike Trahans of the world, and it’s important for those who want to learn to be able to benefit from the experience of the Mike Trahans of the world. This is a living, breathing lesson in life from someone who has lived. Put the Marilyn Manson record away and all those rap albums that give you a headache… Go to Amazon and get copies of Mike’s books “The Gift,” “The Gift- Part Two,” and the soon-to-be released “The Gift- Part Three” and learn!
Q) Good morning, Mike!
Q) How did you find yourself writing a book? What’s the story behind your career?
A) I have been an active writer since the 1970s. I wrote articles for aviation publications, and I had a regular column in a small newspaper for about five years. It was not until 2013 that I considered writing my memoirs. My Facebook friends read some of my stories about my flying adventures and encouraged me to put them in a book. I decided to give it a try.
Q) Do you describe yourself as an author?
A) No, not yet! I have set a goal of selling 100,000 books as the benchmark for calling myself an author. When we hit that point, I will add “Author” to my list of accomplishments. Until then I don’t feel justified in doing so. Right now, I just call myself a writer!
Q) What do you think of the writing world? Are you happy being part of it?
A) This has been one of the most pleasant surprises of all. I have enjoyed meeting my fellow writers. We all have a passion to express our thoughts and share them with the world. I am very happy to be a part of it. It has given me an entirely new direction for my life and my interests.
Q) Tell me more about your latest book—where did you get the ideas?
Q) My latest book is entitled “The Gift Part Three – Delta 1970 – 86” and it covers the first sixteen years of my thirty-two year career as a Delta pilot. I chose 1986 as the cutoff point because it was the end of what I call my “apprentice years” at Delta. Those were years where I flew as a Flight Engineer (Second Officer) and Copilot (First Officer). I just finished writing that book, and it is now in the review and editing stage. I hope to have it in print within a month from now.
Q) What do you need to make your writing career tolerable?
A) It is already tolerable and quite satisfying, Nick. I am getting so much positive feedback from friends, family, and complete strangers who have read my books. That alone makes the endeavor worthwhile. Of course, the extra money coming in is nice, too. If I sell enough books to buy a small airplane to fly around in, that would just be the icing on the cake.
Q) How many times have you rewritten a sentence to make it the “right” sentence?
A) I don’t call that re-writing. I call it “tweaking.” I have been known to tweak a sentence half a dozen times before I am completely satisfied with it.
Q) What really sells books, Mike?
A) An interesting subject, good writing, and a sharp publicist who knows how to get that book in front of potential readers. Fortunately for me, I have a great publicist in Nick Wale of Novel Ideas.
Q) Interesting question coming your way. I want to ask you this– would you buy your book as a customer?
A) Yes, I would.
Q) What makes your life so interesting?
It is about a life in Aviation. Most people are interested in flying. My flying career lasted forty-five years, and during that time I flew airplanes in just about every category of flying there is: General Aviation (Light Planes), Military Aviation (Fighter Types, Transports, and Attack Aircraft), and Commercial Aviation with Delta Air Lines.
Q) You may have led an interesting life– but what makes you an interesting author?
A) People tell me that my books are compelling and easy reads. The most common comment I get is, “Your writing style is so relaxed and comfortable. When I read your books, I don’t feel like I am reading. I feel like you are sitting right next to me telling me a story.” The best comment I hear is, “I could not put your book down!” Those words are music to the ears of a writer.
Q) How many times have you wished you’d started writing earlier?
A) I’ve lost count. I wish I had started writing my books when I retired twelve years ago, but everything in its time. Maybe I hadn’t yet reached the point where I could take a good, honest look back at my life and write about it objectively and honestly?
Q) Who are your favorite authors, Mike?
A) I don’t have any favorites. My interest covers a wide variety of genres.
Q) So, what’s the purpose of your books? Do you want to educate? Entertain?
A) The original purpose was to leave something meaningful to my children and grandchildren. I wanted them to appreciate what I went through to reach my goals in life so they would be encouraged when they suffered setbacks in theirs. I wrote it to show youngsters that it is critically important to decide what they want to do for a living and start preparing for that vocation as soon as possible. Finally, I think I wrote them for myself, to put everything in perspective. I already felt like I had a pretty good life, but after “counting all my blessings” in these books, I see that I have had an amazing life.
Q) How much time did you spend writing this book?
A) My first book, “The Gift” took about five months to write. The second one, “The Gift Part Two – The Air Force Years” took two months. The third, “The Gift Part Three – Delta Air Lines 1970 – 86” was the most difficult. It took me eight months to write it. I have no idea how long it will take me to write the last book in this autobiographical series. That one will be entitled “The Gift Part Four – Delta Air Lines 1986 – 2002.” It will take us to my retirement from professional flying at age sixty.