I could never have written my novel Deadly Contraband if I didn’t live at Robson Ranch. First of all it’s a story about an airline flight attendant who stumbles on a smuggling operation in her airline and is almost killed. She vows never to be a victim again and while recovering tries to achieve every goal she’s ever set for herself. In the process she becomes a pilot for the same airline, getting her multi-engine rating, her commercial pilot’s certificate and experience flying domestically. Eight years later the 5’1” female pilot, now known as Mighty Mite by her fellow pilots, bids to fly the same overseas trip on which she was nearly killed. She has almost forgotten the violent smuggler who attacked her before but encounters him again in the huge 777 she flies on her first trip across the North Atlantic.
I wanted everything I wrote about commercial airliners to be technically accurate so I started researching the internet and asking questions of retired airline professionals. You would not believe the number and quality of the experienced experts who live at Robson Ranch. Airline veterans are everywhere, many of them ex-captains with years of experience. Most were trained in the military flying fighters or bombers, or even helicopters, while others flew from the decks of aircraft carriers. And there are also airline mechanics, flight attendants, engineers and ticket agents who can tell you all sorts of things about the airline industry they served for lots of years. Most want no publicity, but I got one to allow me to use his name. Jim Gregg, once an Air Force fighter pilot who flew combat sorties over Korea, lives around the corner from me. He also became a Delta Airlines Captain. As I passed by on dog walks, Jim would feed my West Highland terrier Fergie dog treats while he fed me answers to all my questions. He probably spent the most hours of all helping me. I couldn’t have written a valid, factually oriented story without these fellows and ladies!
The second reason I could have only written this story at Robson is the Robson Writers Guild that meets two Tuesdays a month in members’ homes. We do everything for each other from finding typos to questioning iffy scenarios and unlikely theories that we discuss at length. The enthusiastic support we get there is a game-changer. I’ve talked about writing this book for probably 30 years. Now retired and associating with these dynamic folks I started writing!
By the way, anyone interested in my book can find it now on Amazon.com. Just go to the site and type in “deadly contraband,” and it will pop right up for purchase. It’s only $3.99 for a Kindle version e-book or $14 for a traditional bound paper version. And please leave a review of how the book could be written better! Go ahead…I can take it!