Good Afternoon everyone,
I believe this interview is very enlighting and particularly fun! I bet you’ll be as amused as I was when you read which was the hadest scene for to Paul write.
I hope you enjoy it and join me in congratulatin Leigh and Paul on this new release 🙂
Thank you for visiting Leigh and Paul! This was a great interview 🙂
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Leigh: Well, for these books, I feel like my whole life has been a literary pilgrimage. My dad, Paul, was a military pilot and an instructor, like Darcy in book 1, and my husband is currently a working pilot. I wanted to include the Reno air races so dad and I went to Reno a few years ago and that was amazing.
Paul: Mostly for non-fiction type books. I try to read up on places we are going on vacation. Lincoln before traveling to Illinois, Washington before Mt Vernon, pioneers for Wyoming etc. For this book the trip to Reno was a bucket list item for me. I’d tried to get there several times but September is tough with school starting and kids activities.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Leigh: Yes. *laughs* It depends on the scene, what else is going on that day, and typically how long into the book I am. First few chapters it is so fun and exciting. Those last few I just want to get done and fix what I know I screwed up in that first draft.
Paul: Writing is enjoyable. The post writing, editing, proof reading etc. gets to be a drag. I enjoyed trying to be sure Leigh and I were in sync on our common characters. It led to some fun discussions between us.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Leigh: I feel like this describes all 2020 for me. I normally read 50+ books a year, but last year I swear I got through about 10 and they were all rough. I had a baby in Fall 2019, then moved, then covid hit and it has just been really hard to get into any sort of routine and reading is almost too much for my brain recently.
Paul: No I usually have a couple books going. It’s a habit my mom passed on. Doesn’t matter what you read as long as you’re reading something.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Leigh: Well, I don’t so…yes
Paul: Yes, and I feel that strongly. (chuckle)
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Leigh: Something I’ve always enjoyed was the meeting of various Austen characters so in theory I’d like to do that throughout my work, but honestly, I just want to write a story I’m proud of every time. Obviously, The Best Laid Flight Plans, The Flight Path Less Traveled, and Came a Flight Gently all work together, but I don’t think my next novel will be strongly connected.
Paul: I think all books should stand on their own. So you if you find say the middle book you get a complete story. That in turn may push you to other books in the series.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Leigh: I learned so much that first book it’s hard to describe everything. I think while writing this series generally, I’ve found how important a series bible is (I didn’t have that and spent so many hours combing through the other books to figure out character descriptions and whatever), what head hopping is and how to avoid it, when to wax rhapsodic and when to shut up and just let the action happen.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Leigh: I spoke relatively early and read at 3. I work as a speech pathologist. I’m not sure when I realized that language had power, but I know that it does. It has the power to get you a glass of milk or start a revolution. It’s amazing to me that the world still talks about what people have said thousands of years ago and how much power it still has today.
Paul: Being older, I remember Martin Luther King Jr. his speeches. In 3d or 4th grade I read a book about going through Air Force Pilot training that sent me on a direction and a vocation. When I went through training years later at the same base, I vividly remembered sections of that book. Kids need adventure stories to make their imaginations grow and get a desire to accomplish something.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Leigh: A panda—it’s my favorite. But honestly, I think my writer mascot is probably a whale. I dive deep, write ALL the things and get it done in huge chunks, then I come up and take a breath for a while, then dive back down. I don’t have the consistency that so many great writers do.
Paul: I am not good at this type of question. Leigh used to ask me how big of an animal I could beat up. I guess a Wolf. Keeps walking, searching, stalking for the right words and then focusing on them to make a killer sentence.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Leigh: For me, its writing their thoughts. How do men feel? No idea. It’s a total mystery to me. Do they? Sure. Is it the same as my wild, swinging, recently pregnant hormonal crying and then totally fine ways? Nope. I will say that I have a much more difficult time describing characters as I don’t always imagine them as a specific face/hair/shape. I normally just have a
Paul: Not knowing how a woman gets to the decision or action. Not so much what they do, but the why behind it. Luckily for me pilots are pilots and I’ve experience teaching a variety of people so I just went from personal examples.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Leigh: Luckily, Austen did most of the work for me. For minor characters, many of them are named after friends and relatives that have helped me with the book.
Paul: As the co-author Leigh told me. Though for place holder names I apparently like Barbara, Helen, and Frank.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Leigh: Absolutely. I like to know where I have room to grow and where I’m doing ok. The good are great, but the criticisms are where I can learn the most.
Paul: Feedback is a gift. So as long as they don’t question my effort, parentage, or call me names I can learn something.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Leigh: In this book, the board room scenes were really hard. I’ve never been in that corporate world and it took a lot of research both online an with a friend who is a professor at a business school to figure out a real, workable solution that is hopefully dramatic on the page even if it probably would have been a bit tedious played out in real life.
Paul: Sex scenes and then sending them to my daughter for approval. (laugh)
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Leigh: Keeping myself to a deadline. It is so easy to let work, kids, cleaning, tv, other books, and just not feeling like it get in the way of making consistent progress. As a bonus, the second thing is streamlining everything in a workable timeline. I really struggled with that in my second book and hopefully have figured out how to work around it.
Paul: Determining were the story is going. I’ve a thousand great first paragraphs but figuring out where I want the character and story to end.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Leigh: My goal is to publish ten books by age 40, so I’m shooting for a book a year or so. If it is just the actual narration portion of the text (no editing, etc.) it normally breaks down to 1-2 months for the first draft.
Paul: Once I know where to go, about two hours a chapter. Figuring out where to go with the story might take a couple days per chapter. Leigh did a good job of keeping us on a reasonable time line.
In the exciting conclusion of the Pride in Flight Series (The Best Laid Flight Plans and The Flight Path Less Traveled), our dear couple Elizabeth and Darcy have moved to Pemberley to begin their lives together. An outsider to New York society and the affluent world of Darcy, our heroine uses her characteristic drive and wit to begin her marriage and all that comes with him. Helped along by Mrs. Reynolds and a curmudgeonly airplane mechanic, Elizabeth discovers a new path to the civilian flight world. Darcy, ever the hero, supports her and learns to trust her instincts. Fast-paced and dramatic, Came a Flight Gently soars through love, adventure, and intrigue as it races through Reno to the finish.
You can find Came a Flight Gently at:
Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way: “You know the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ scene in Top Gun (Goose, you big stud!) when Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son, a daughter who was a pink pilot for Halloween, and a one-year-old son who is so used to F-16 noise, he does not even startle to sonic booms.
Paul Trockner was an Air Force fighter pilot for twenty-eight years. He flew the F-111, T-37, A-10, and T-38. He currently teaches fighter pilots using simulator instruction. He has been happily married for thirty-six years to his lovely wife Elizabeth. Leigh is the oldest of his five children.
Author Name: Leigh Dreyer and Paul Trockner
Facebook: Leigh Dreyer
Facebook Page: @leighdreyerauthor