Amelia Earhart, Courage in the Sky
Interview about the book Amelia Earhart, Courage in the Sky
Question: Why did you want to write about Amelia Earhart?

I love adventures, especially when I am sitting safe and sound at home. Learning and writing about Amelia Earhart let me experience her accomplishments, her daring, and her recklessness.

Question: Was she reckless?

Yes. Every strength has a flip side that is a weakness. Amelia wasn't afraid of anything--that was her strength. But as a result, she was sometimes reckless. On her last journey, she didn't carry extra fuel which she needed. She got lost and ran out of gas. She didn't carry an antenna which would have increased her chances of being heard.

Question: Do you like to write biographies?


Question: How do you write one?

I read every book I can find about the person. I make an outline for the book. This is usually about five typed pages. Then, I start taking notes, beginning with chapter one. Then I type the chapter on the computer, rewriting and revising. I go on to the next chapter and the next. When the book is finished, I revise it some more.

Question: Do you make up dialogue?

No. Everything that you see in quotation marks is a direct quote from a source.

Question: How do you check your facts?

I don't include a fact unless I have found it in two sources, because sometimes books have mistakes. After I have written the manuscript and sent it to the editor, the manuscript is read by an expert and also by a fact-checker.

Question: Do you do much revision?

Yes, it's one of my favorite parts of writing. Many times the editor will give suggestions and those suggestions make the story stronger.

From the opening of Chapter 4 "Top Speed"
Amelia turned over in bed and crackled. With each toss and turn, she crackled some more. The next morning, she looked at herself in the mirror. It was better. Still, she slept in it another night.

It was 1922 and Amelia had just bought a real leather jacket. Now, she looked like a true flyer. But the other pilots' jackets were worn. Hers was too shiny and new. So, for three nights, Amelia slept in her coat. "There just had to be some wrinkles," she explained.


Updated 2-17-08 mkerby