Interview with writer Beth Ruggiero York

Writer Beth Ruggiero York joins
me today to chat about her memoir Flying Alone.
Bio:
Beth is a former airline
pilot for Trans World Airlines. She entered the world of civil aviation in 1984
shortly after graduating from college and, for the next five years,
climbed the ladder to her ultimate goal of flying for a major airline. Beth
originally wrote Flying Alone in the early 1990s, shortly
after her career as a pilot ended and the memories were fresh. She is now a
Chinese translator and a professional photography instructor for Arizona
Highways PhotoScapes. She has published a popular instructional book on night photography, Fun
in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography,
 which has
worldwide sales, and she has co-written a book entitled, Everglades
National Park: A Photographic Destination. 
Beth and her husband live
in Fountain Hills, AZ.
Welcome,
Beth. Please tell us about your current release.
Flying
Alone
is a memoir of my years after college learning to fly
with the ultimate goal of flying for a major airline in the 1980s. It was a
rough-and-tumble man’s world, but I was determined to make through, no matter
what. A dysfunctional love affair with my flight instructor, dangerous risks in
the sky, and flying broken airplanes for shady companies all played roles on my
road to the airlines. It reads like a novel and moves at a fast pace. Readers
and reviewers are consistently saying they couldn’t put it down and read it all
the way through in one or two days.
What
inspired you to write this book?
After
my turbulent career in aviation ended abruptly when I was diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis, I had time to reflect on the events of those years. It was
so plain to see that I needed to write it all down, both for myself and to show
others that they, too, can surmount difficult times.
Excerpt
from Flying Alone:
“Three
more rows of airplanes, eight per row, needed to be checked along with the ones
behind the maintenance hangar. When I finished with that, I had to scrub the
bellies of Rod’s own airplanes. I swung the truck around, fighting as always
with the manual steering, and began the next row with another Cessna.
These
were my first impressions of the world of aviation: Rod, bottles of Canadian
whiskey, working the line…and my flight instructor, Steve. “I had started as
the official lineperson at New England Flyers on April 27, 1985, my
twenty-third birthday, four months into flight lessons with Steve for my
private license. Aviation had already swallowed me whole.”
What
exciting story are you working on next?
I’m
considering several ideas but haven’t decided yet. Because of my history
traveling to and study China, it will probably be about the changes I have
witnessed over the past almost 40 years.
When
did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I
was about 11 years old, I remember looking out of my bedroom window and making
three life commitments to myself. One was to write a book.
Do you
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t
write full-time. Because I have what you could call a ‘multi-faceted’ career,
each work day (and night) is a combination of marketing my book, writing blog
posts for my author website, translating Chinese documents (I’m a freelance
Chinese translator), and organizing and preparing for upcoming photography
workshops that I will be teaching. It all keeps me very busy, and I need to
remind myself to stop and smell the roses.
What
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My
greatest creative inspirations come to me when I am half asleep waking up in
the morning.
As a
child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Before
the notion of becoming a pilot came into my head at the age of 13, I wanted to
be an archaeologist.
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
Never
give up, even when it just doesn’t seem worth the effort anymore. Don’t ever
plant the seeds for later regrets.
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