Thursday, January 21, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Linda Street-Ely

 Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Linda Street-Ely

LM: Thanks for joining me today. I’m excited to talk to you about Ely Air Lines which is a collection of stories from your weekly newspaper column written with your husband Mike. How did the column start, and what made the two of you to decide to publish the compilation? 
Linda: Thanks for having us, Linda. Ely Air Lines has been a long-term project we’ve put a lot of love into. Mike and I began our weekly column in June 2007. We write about aviation, but we write for the non-flying general public. We aim to put a face to the flyer’s world, which is unfamiliar to many. What started it was that the mayor of our town had expressed desire to “close” the local airport (which he could not do because he accepted federal funds for it). Airports are economic generators and provide so much good to communities, including life-saving services in emergencies. Another columnist knew of our aviation background and suggested a column to the owner, whose late father started the paper and had been a pilot during WWII. Of course, she was elated to have this unique kind of column in her paper. We figured the pen was mightier than the sword (and more legal), so we set out to do battle against city hall on paper by presenting the positives that aviation brings to the world. We had no idea it would continue this long! 

Approaching the tenth anniversary of the column, I thought, wouldn’t it be neat to select our favorite stories from the first ten years and put them in a book? The process took longer than we expected, because all the stories had to be re-written. Newspaper writing is timely, but book writing should be timeless. It was a lot of work, but in the end, we have a great compilation of 100 short stories that tell about a wide range of people, places, and adventures. 
And, we’re happy to report that with the airport in the public eye through our column, the mayor had no choice but to agree, not only to keep it open, but to invest more money into it! 

LM: What is your writing process like, and how do the two of you share the work? 

Linda: For the weekly column, we collaborate, share our drafts and edits, and out comes a piece for the next week. Our style is conversational and upbeat. The paper comes out on Tuesdays, and our
submission deadline is the Thursday morning before that. Often on a Wednesday evening after work, we’re asking each other, “Do you have an idea for the column?” And somehow, for over 700 regular articles (plus the feature pieces we’ve written), it’s always worked out. Since newspapers have limited space, and we have an abundance of stories, it doesn’t take us long to whip something up. Sometimes Mike will write a whole piece, sometimes I will, but most of the time, we both contribute. We collaborated on the books as well, with lots of discussion and edits to shape the stories for a book. 
LM: What is your favorite aspect of writing? 

Linda: My absolute favorite aspect is writing with Mike. Second to that is any time I can inject humor into what I’m writing. I grew up in a family that loves wit and humor, and Mike and I love to laugh as well. 

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing? 

Linda: I think that depends on what I’m writing. Some things require research, but for others, I just sit down and start writing. For instance, if we are writing about an adventure we had previous weekend, when flying somewhere fun, it doesn’t take much to just sit and write the story. But if we are telling someone else’s story, we will set up an interview (for a living person), or research if it’s about someone deceased, or a place or event for which we need more information. We do a lot of interviews and research. 

LM: When did you decide to obtain your pilot certificate, and what was that journey like? 

Linda: Learning to fly wasn’t something I had planned on as a child. I could have, as the opportunities were around me. But I wasn’t interested then. I became widowed at the age of 40, when our home burned down, and my husband and our two youngest children perished in the fire. It was a little over a year later that I was looking for something to do that would get me out of the house, out of bed, and help me try to get back into the world again. I didn’t want a new life, but I couldn’t just avoid being alive. So, I looked up what was happening in Houston that weekend. The annual “Wings Over Houston” air show was going on, so I thought, I don’t give a hoot about airplanes or air shows, but this will get me out of the house all day. As I stood there watching the performances, I thought, I wonder what it would be like to do that. By the third time I had that thought, I knew I would have to check it out. Two days later, I began flight training. I earned my private pilot certificate quickly, and moved on up through the instrument rating, commercial single, commercial multi-engine, and finally the airline transport pilot certificate. I’ve added commercial seaplane and tailwheel endorsements as well. And it’s been a healing mechanism I could never have guessed. God orchestrated it all, and through it, he led me to Mike, a fellow pilot. 
LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do? 

Linda: That’s a hard question to answer because I generally just do what I want to do. What I mean is, if I want to accomplish something, I do it. I don’t think I’ll leave a wish list of things to do when I’m gone. As far as wishes (and prayers) go, I wish everyone would accept the gift of grace and eternal life Jesus offers us. 

LM: What is your next project? 
Linda: I’ve finished writing a play about a notorious ancestor of mine in medieval Scotland. It turns out that another ancestor wrote two novels 200 years ago about the same person and incidents. For my next writing project, I am in the process of rewriting those novels to republish next year under our own imprint. These were written in the same place and time as the works of Sir Walter Scott, so the language is interesting and fun to work with. I have also been building files for a book on God’s healing; and Mike is writing an aviation history book about things that have changed over the 40+ years he has been flying professionally. He also has a novel in the works. But our major project that is ongoing is building our publishing company. We are excited to be opening up for submissions in various genres! 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Our company, Paper Airplane Publishing, LLC is at

About Ely Air Lines: Select Stories from 10 Years of a Weekly Column (Volumes 1 and 2)
Delightful stories of flying adventures from around the globe. Adventurous and heartwarming. Written by pilots. Ely Air Lines is a captivating 2-volume set of 100 short stories that inspire and educate, written by pilots Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely. Step aboard to enjoy a collection of stories that explore the vast realm of the flyer's world. Buckle up and fly with Mike and Linda to discover amazing people, interesting places, and the conquest of flight.


  1. Thank you for having us as guests on your blog, Linda!

  2. A pleasure to have you. I can't wait to check out your books!