• R.D. Kardon

Is It a True Story?

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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