Friday, January 19, 2024

Fiction Friday: Research for Love at First Flight

Fiction Friday: Research for Love at First Flight

Pixabay/Steve Buissinne
Long before I was a professional writer, I was a research nerd. I did and still do love looking up information and chasing rabbit trails. Before the invention of smartphones, I carried a notepad in my purse on which I could jot down names, places, events…anything I stumbled on when we were out. What I love best (after texting with my siblings) is using my phone on the fly to research something.

My husband rolls his eyes, but in a laughing manner, because he’s the one who usually prompts me when we’re somewhere and here about something we’re not familiar with. He’ll often use sports writer Warner Wolf’s catchphrase, “Let’s go to the videotape.” (Which is now digital in all probability!)

Anyway, Love at First Flight was published in September 2020 which meant I was conducting my
Courtesy of 
Texas Tech Univ.
story research just as the pandemic surfaced. Definitely bad timing! As any student knows, primary sources are the best which include autobiographies or memoirs, letters or diaries, articles written by an individual who experienced the event, maps, and sound recordings, etc. As part of my research, I had planned to visit the National WASPS WWII Museum located in Sweetwater, Texas, but in March 2020 travel was heavily curtailed, so I was stuck researching from my desk.

Fortunately, there are quite a few autobiographies and memoirs written by former pilots of the Women Air Service Program, and I was able to get my hands on them. Another fantastic resource was a video I obtained from the Wright Museum of WWII called Women of Courage which featured interviews. I also found video clips of news interviews and documentaries that included interviews with these stalwart women.


Many years ago, a fellow writer managed to secure a ride in a B-25 (or was it a B-29?) while researching her book. I had hoped to do the same so I could experience the sights, sounds, smells, and rolling stomach (!) of my characters. Instead, I found a fabulous YouTube video that took me into the air in a Vultee BT-13 Valiant that was lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) referred to by trainees as The Vultee Vibrator.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to hitch a ride in a vintage plane, but meanwhile, you and I can enjoy this virtual flight:


Love at First Flight 

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love? 

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancĂ©, Jasper MacPherson. 

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

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