• R.D. Kardon


fes·ti·val

ˈfestəvəl/

noun

a day or period of celebration.

"The written word surrounded me at The San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books.”


Writing a first novel carries with it the opportunity for numerous other ‘firsts.’ One of the first firsts among firsts for me was attending my first book festival. And what a celebration it was!

Hundreds of authors, publishers, bookstores, literacy organizations, and, of course, our very own San Diego Public Library were in attendance at the San Diego Festival of Books on Saturday, August 25. Writers crawled out of their creative caves to talk about how they do it. You know: be authors. An uncharacteristic joy washed over me as I realized I had found my people.


As I wandered around with my mouth agape and my credit card at the ready, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of…books!


Homebase was the Acorn Publishing, LLC table, where authors Holly Kammier, Jessica Therrien, Gene Desrochers, and E.P. Sery plied their wares. From the 'other side of the table,' I watched in amazement as discerning readers honed in on their targets. First, they’d engage with a book’s cover, sometimes just caressing it. They’d crack open the binding of a hardcover to read the interior flap, or a turn over a paperback to view the back cover blurb. A volume cradled lovingly on the forearm with fingers curled around it meant a commitment was made.


Will people hold Flygirl with the same care and wonder? Will readers choose to spend their time with my characters, in a setting I conjured, reading word after word in a sequence I created?


I hope so. And as long as there are people like me out there who love a good story, I’ll keep writing for them.

Keep up with the latest on Twitter by following @rdkardonauthor.

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  • R.D. Kardon

fic·tion

ˈfikSH(ə)n/

noun

literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people. novels, stories, (creative) writing, (prose) literature.

"Flygirl is a work of fiction."

My debut novel Flygirl is just that—a novel. It is a work of pure fiction, and was never intended to be autobiographical.


Except—yes, it is based on actual events. Of course, given that I’ve invited my readers behind the scenes of the world professional pilots inhabit, I don’t see how it could be otherwise. The sights, sounds, and scents of aviation come from my experience.

And my characters? Are they real?

Every character in Flygirl is made up. They are amalgam, combinations of people who existed during the time of the book—the late ‘90s. I tried to make them realistic while still giving them the texture and complexity necessary to keep my readers engaged.

And the harassment? Discrimination? Did things like that really happen?

Sadly, yes. I do not know any female pilot who came up during the time that I did who avoided it. Some of it was much worse than what Tris encounters in the book. And Tris ended up with an outcome I think a few of my friends would have welcomed.


But did Tris have a fair chance to get what she wanted? Was her opportunity unfettered by bigotry, inappropriate conduct and hate? And, really, how much has changed?


Just weeks ago, an organization that I’ve long supported, Women in Aviation International, sent its members a confidential survey asking them if they’d ever felt discriminated against or harassed in an aviation workplace.

They are asking this question in 2018, during the #MeToo movement. Which raises an interesting question for me: are women in aerospace benefitting from #MeToo? Or do female pilots, mechanics, engineers, dispatchers, air traffic controllers, etc., still face the impossible choice that Tris does in Flygirl?


Have your own thoughts on this? I'm all ears. Drop me a note.

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  • R.D. Kardon

Ever wonder what goes on in the cockpit during a flight? Well, I’ve got some news for you: not much.


The old cliché is that flying an airplane is hours of boredom surrounded by fifteen minutes of sheer terror. I think the terror they refer to is takeoff and landing. Neither is all that terrifying—at least to me.


Yes, yes, yes, pilots fly the plane. The sophisticated airliners of today are mostly computer controlled. It’s the pilot’s job to monitor the systems and, if the computer or systems fail—as they occasionally do—fly the airplane safely to a suitable landing spot. Hopefully on a runway.


But most of the time, we’re just sitting there. As a pilot, I spent hours in the cockpit sitting a few feet away from some person I’d probably never met before, and might not have anything in common with if I had.


My least favorite were the guys—and I use guys as a unisex term, because I’ve flown with some pretty dull women, too—who launch into their significant others the minute takeoff checklists are complete, who want to talk about politics—generally conservative—or who can’t stop complaining about fill-in-the-blank: their schedule, the dispatcher, the pilot contract...


Which reminds me of a joke:

Q: “What’s the difference between a pilot and a jet engine?”

A: “The jet engine stops whining when it gets to the gate!”


As Captain on the flight, I could simply change the subject, or tell the First Officer I wasn’t interested. The Captain sets the tone. If I was the First Officer, I had to plaster a look of rapt attention on my face, punctuate it with an occasional “uh huh,” and pray that air traffic control would call me so I’d have someone else to talk to. Or, perhaps I could think of a message to impart to the passengers over the PA. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the right side of the aircraft, you’ll see me crawling on the wing desperately trying to escape my crew mate.”


If we didn’t have food, we’d talk about the food available at our next destination. Or the absence thereof. Or what restaurant we’d eat at during the overnight.


If we had food, we’d eat! Food was dual purpose equipment. It provided sustenance and generally got the pilot next to you to stop speaking. Temporarily.

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