This interview is with the very talented Becky McLendon, a lady for whom I have nothing but respect. Becky writes well, interviews excellently and I always find conversations with her to be stimulating. Become inspired! Her latest book “Settling In: At Home in My Sky” is currently the #1 new release in Aviation….
What inspired you to write your first book?
I have actually written many books, but have not brought one to publication until now, save one small self-published book back in 2003. I wrote my “first” book when I could hold a piece of chalk to my giant chalkboard that my grandparents gave me. I would “draw” and “talk” and spin many tales. I lived a book life in my child’s play, diaries and subsequently blogging. As I began flying lessons, I began to document my experiences with each lesson, coupling them with spiritual applications. My readers began telling me, “Becky, you have a book.” A fellow writer said, “Beck, you will write a book in 2014, and it will be about flying.” I met another aviator, Mike Trahan, who sealed the inspiration to bring the book into reality.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I base my writing on personal experience coupled with spiritual truth. I seek not only to entertain, but to inform and inspire.
How did you come up with the title?
Titles prove to be a challenge. If a book does not have a title that grabs at you from the shelf or from the computer, it will most likely remain where you saw it. The title came as an inspiration “out of nowhere.” I saw a picture of an unborn infant and the words came: “A Soul with a Destiny.” I tried that as the main title, but then my author friend John suggested I try one that has either the word “wings” or “flight” in it. Out of that came “The Day I Grew Wings: Journey of a Soul with a Destiny.”
It packs a “double entendre,” weaving actual events with spiritual invasions resulting from a personal relationship with God.
Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
If you believe you can fly, you probably can!
How much of the book is realistic?
All of it! I’m the one behind the controls in the cockpit, the one failing and succeeding, feeling the fear and feeling the victory.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All experiences are based on my own life.
Which books have most influenced your life most?
Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain; The Dollmaker, Harriet Bristow; Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll; Blue Highways of America, William Least Heat Moon; The Gift of Flight, Richard Bach; The Breaking of Ezra Riley, John L. Moore; The Gift, Mike Trahan; all books by Lynn Austin and countless others. But the main Book is the Bible.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
John L. Moore, who is already a mentor!
Which book are you reading now?
The Gift, Mike Trahan; Flying Carpet, Greg Brown; and the Bible.
Are there any new authors who have grasped your interest?
What are your current projects?
At this point in my life I am concentrating on getting my pilot license and finishing The Day I Grew Wings.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My aviation community and my best friends.
Do you see writing as a career?
Writing as a career remains to be seen. I have made it a personal avocation, but as for making a great deal of money in order to support myself and my family? That is still in the “we shall see” stage.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am in the process of making small changes every day so that I won’t have to make drastic changes in the end.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It started many years ago as a strong desire to fulfil a statement that shouted from within my being: “I have a statement to make, will anybody care enough to hear it?” However, the actual love for writing was born in me from the beginning.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am working on something that is in progress, it is a part of me as much as my arms, my hands, my legs and feet are. It is becoming blood in my veins. Why? Because I am living it to the fullest. My journey of learning to fly an airplane after retirement begins, and remains, at the visceral level. The fear and the challenges are real and this adventure is ongoing.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time and discipline, but isn’t that every writer’s challenge? I must make the time to sit down and WRITE. This book was born out of my blog. To convert the language from casual, glib blogginess to readable book material has been a challenge ever since I decided to undertake the project. Now I don’t have so many pages stacked up screaming “un-blog me so I can be read!!” I now un-blog as I write. Did I just invent a new word for writers? UN-BLOG. That’s a good one.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Lynn Austin is a writer of historical fiction with a Christian message. Her historical accuracy is riveting, and her characters are equally so.
Who designed the covers?
I like designing my own covers. I like incorporating either my own art work or photography with effects and graphics. It makes the book even more personal.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would tell other writers to do just that. WRITE. Everyone has a story or a cause. The best way to start writing is to start writing, even if it is your name over and over, or stars drawn on a legal pad until you fill fifteen or so pages ….the words WILL come.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want you to grow a passionate love for aviation and adventure. You are not destined to sit down, get old, get sick and die just because you are retired. There is something out there God wants for you. I like the line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” If you start what you believe in your heart to do, you will be equipped to finish it. God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
I would consider The Day I Grew Wings autobiographical because it is about me. It is inspirational because it serves as a motivational tool to prod others to follow their dreams the best way the can. I would say it is spiritual because this journey is so deeply connected to my faith in Christ and the principles laid out in His word.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All the time. I can sit and stare at my manuscript sometimes for hours and just go “Nah!” and shut the computer down. That’s ok. The door is always about to open and I walk through it at a later time.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
NO! I put huge chunks together in a logical fashion, print it, tweak it and perhaps re-arrange it several times. I do like to have my intro (Prologue) my last paragraph in mind, though. That gives me a spring-board and a final goal to keep me flowing!
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Immensely! I tried once to compile notes written by a family member about another family member and create a book while trying to preserve the “voice” of both. I decided that is NOT my forte.
How long does it take you to write a book?
As long as it takes to do a complete job on it. I do know I do not want to RUSH it in order to get it done quicker. RUSHING detracts from quality. It ceases to be a labor of love and becomes a turmoil of tedium.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I write around doing laundry, sweeping, ironing and flying. They all are becoming comfortable together.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Whenever the words: “That sounds like a book” hit my brain, I know I’m in for some time at the computer! OR the notebook, whichever is available at the time. I write in my brain constantly, juggling themes, words, and statements. I get most frustrated when I cannot stop what I am doing and write them out. I do carry a recorder in the car.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first unpublished book was All Mine To Tell when I was eleven years old. I wrote it during math class in sixth grade. Enough said about that.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to play my piano, fly, travel, fly, sing, fly, do photography, fly. And then of course I like to fly.
What does your family think of your writing?
I get a mixture of rolled eyes and “wow, you really ARE writing.”
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My blog readers and fellow authors have consistently insisted that “this needs to be published!” So, this is where I seem to be heading.
What do you think makes a good story?
Anything that will bring enjoyment, inspire, or enhance one’s life.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to live on a sprawling horse ranch in Wyoming with a vast mountain view off my front porch. That sounds like a book! Maybe that will be my fiction novel. But this time I’d add a landing strip on the property with a hangar. I already have the character mapped out….and others standing in line for their creation too.
Most pilots, over the age of thirty remember Gordon Baxter who wrote the “Bax Seat” column in FLYING Magazine for over twenty-five years. “Bax” could paint a word picture of the romance and joy of flight like no other Well, a new “Gordon Baxter” has been born! This time it is a female version of him, and her name is Rebecca McLendon!
Becky’s latest book, “Settling in: At Home in My Sky” is a sequel to her first book, “The Day I Grew Wings,” an excellent read, but, as a pilot, I felt that there was something missing in it. She was a Student Pilot at the time and was thinking “Do I really have what it takes to be a pilot?”
I can say Becky does have what it takes to be a pilot. She has “come of age” as a pilot. Becky now writes with authority on the subject of flying, while still incorporating the romance and joy Baxter portrayed. Some of her expressions remind me a lot of him.
“Settling in: At Home in My Sky” is Becky’s signature book. It is a motivational study for any person who is thinking about flying, especially young girls who wonder if there is a place for them in aviation. It is also a great review for old aviators like me, who may have forgotten what it took to get where we got.
Delta 767 Captain (Retired)