This special interview is with Mike Trahan. Mike has recently finished his series of memoirs, “The Gift,” and is working on new products. His first audio book was just released, and the second isn’t far behind. Mike agreed to this interview, and I think it’s probably the best one he has ever done. Let’s not talk right now. Let’s read what Mike has to say. Mike… it’s over to you…
1. Why did you call your series “The Gift?”
The title “The Gift” came from a poem I wrote about my first flight in an airplane. One of the stanzas reads:
Until that moment my life was aimless,
With no real goals in sight.
The Lord gave me a GIFT that day,
His GIFT was the love of flight.
I was very fortunate to know, at a very young age, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and that was to be a pilot. Getting that early start was the best thing I cold have done, and I think having a dream like that to strive for was a Gift from God. In the last stanza of the poem, “The Gift,” I wrote:
My only wish for my children,
As I watch them learn and grow.
Is that He will give them a dream someday,
And they’ll have their chance to know!
2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
I am trying to reach out to young people who are interested in flying to show them it can be done if you want it badly enough. And I am also writing for us old pilots who want to go back and reminisce about what it was like when we learned to fly.
3. How did you decide what to write about when it came to your life?
I felt that major turning points were important, and I included a lot of setbacks and disappointments, too, so the reader could see how those things turned out later on. Most setbacks and disappointments led to something much better. Again, I was hoping the setbacks in their lives would not discourage the young readers.
4. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I provided the photographs, and my publicist, Nick Wale, designed the covers. It was a happy coincidence to note, when we finished the covers, that in each book I was seen next to an airplane and a progression became apparent.
In “The Beginning,” I was standing by a little Cessna with one foot on the wheel and one on the ground. In “The Air Force Years,” I was standing halfway up the boarding ladder on an AC-47 Gunship. The third cover, for “The Delta Years,” shows me standing at the top of the boarding ladder on a Boeing 737, in my Captain uniform. So, symbolically, each picture depicted my climb up the aviation ladder from the beginning to the pinnacle.
5. What was your favorite flying experience and why?
It would be hard to pick one experience out of thousands of them. If I had to pick just one, I would say it was my first solo flight in a little Aeronca Champion airplane. It was on my sixteenth birthday, which was the minimum age to fly solo, and it represented the achievement of a goal I had had since I was old enough to realize what an airplane was. It was also the beginning of a long and wonderful flying career for me.
6. How about your least favourite flying experience?
I would say any flight where my passengers felt uncomfortable because of a rough ride, or thunderstorms around us, or any other problem like that. I always felt their apprehension, and I did my best to reassure them that I was taking the safest course possible and that they would be okay.
7. If you could have experienced one thing within the flying world that you didn’t experience—what would it have been?
There are a couple, but I would like to have checked out in a seaplane and a helicopter. I never did that, but I wish I had.
8. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
I think some of the unexpected adventures, such as flying into Saigon the night the famous Tet Offensive started, or running into a high school friend in Tokyo, Japan one day, were interesting and fun. I landed in Selma, Alabama on the day of that great civil rights march, and I flew some National Guard troops to Chicago during the Democratic Convention to quell the riots that were going on.
It seemed I had a lot of brushes with events that became historically significant.
I call those my “Forest Gump” moments, because in that movie he was always having brushes with history.
9. Do you read memoirs for pleasure?
Yes, I have enjoyed reading the memoirs of other pilots I have known or known about. Each story is similar and also unique.
10. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
The best way to contact me is via email at MTrahan33 (@) gmail.com
11. What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, I just finished the third and last book in my autobiographical Series “The Gift,” so that completes that effort. I am considering a children’s book next, and probably a few short stories. I’m not ready to tackle another book right now. I am excited about this, though: We are producing my books in the Audio Format, and I hope to reach another audience that way. I am enthused about that.