by Syd Blue
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Syd’s YA novel Circle.
I had my first flying lesson on my fourteenth birthday. What a birthday present! Now as Chief Pilot running an aviation business specializing in aerial surveillance, I fly from California to Texas, but writing was my first love. I started writing novels in the back of my parent’s small airplane when I was small enough to fit in the baggage compartment. When I was a child, my family took trips to grandma’s house in a single-engine four-seater. Since my parents had more children than seats, they put me in the baggage compartment. There was nothing to do back there. No windows. So I wrote stories and started my first book at age nine.
I continued as a wordsmith for my first career, editing and writing for national magazines, book publishers, websites and production companies. Coming full circle, I took up flying again when I needed to commute to LA as I started to expand into producing. Filmmaking is the ultimate storytelling and it’s been fun to create for the screen. Recently, I produced trailers for my novels, FlyGirl and Circle. The biggest challenge is getting low budget productions to look as good as multi-million dollar projects that people are used to seeing from studios.
But I was lucky enough to get Hammerhead Studios to create my special effects. The same people who worked on Titanic, Prometheus and X-Men did some movie magic for me as well.
Now Circle is being taught in schools because it happened to fit with the new educational edicts to incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Common Core into curriculum. A middle school teacher developed the curriculum after she found her students didn’t want to stop reading the book in class. In the backdrop of chase drones, attack helicopters and fighter jets, the gripping adventure captivated even the most reticent student. She noticed that all types loved Circle. I was thrilled to hear kids wanted to read. When I speak at schools, the kids have been proud to announce that they hate reading. I really wanted to show them that reading can be fun and life changing.
Circle is about a 14-year-old boy who discovers an extraterrestrial girl, Mandy, hiding out in his house ever since the jet she stowed away on crashed in the desert behind his home. When the pilot is captured by the Air Force, Mandy is left lost and alone. She asks Spencer to risk everything to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get back home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive. As they’re on the run from the military, Spencer and his family fall into crisis when they find out what it is that Mandy and the pilot have really come to Earth for. You can see what the students are saying about the book here.
I’m surprised that all the jobs I’ve had are turning out to work together. I write about flying and my production abilities have come in handy, too. Each job taught me skills that I use now for all that I do. I hope to encourage anyone who isn’t sure about what he or she wants to do as a career to just take off. You might just go out there and try a lot of things and find out it was all part of the plan. You might set your course for one airport and come across many interesting airports at which to land as you go along your way. I never thought I would be a commercial pilot. It wasn’t a goal – it wasn’t even on my radar, but I’m grateful I can share my love of flying in the things I write. In flying as in life, it’s really the journey that is the most impactful and fascinating part.
Learn more about Syd and her books on her website.
The Circle trailer:
To enter to win a copy of Circle, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Circle,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 15, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.