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Author Showcase

Winter 2005 Featured Author Phyllis Moses

RT: Orville, Wilbur and Me, although fiction, does weave historical information about the Wright brothers and their quest to create a flying machine. How difficult was it to find out and write about information that made your story unique?

Phyllis: The idea for the story had been percolating in my brain for some time. So when I was ready, the story began to form. My experience in writing had been primarily writing articles for aviation magazines. The content had been semi-high tech, based on aircraft, people who flew them and the progress of aviation as an industry and technology. I had little background for this type of writing, but with my husband's encouragement and my facility to learn and remember details about technical subjects, the two came together. However, I did put my own personal finesse on the structure and style of the writing. As a female writer, I had the freedom to add some pizzazz to the stories. I didn’t want everything to come across as too technical. I put human feelings, heart and soul, and even lots of tears into the stories.

RT: How is it that you became interested in writing this book? You live in Texas, and the story takes place in North Carolina. Did you visit Kitty Hawk (KH) to do any research?

Phyllis: Yes, I live in Texas, and the skies here are blue and wide. My lifetime interest and participation in aviation stimulated my imagination and my interest in how aviation began. I wanted to share this history with young people, because I saw, to my dismay they thought aviation began with the jet planes. To fully appreciate and understand this wonderful technology we seem to take for granted, it’s important to see it in its infancy. When I finally decided to go forward with this fictionalized version of the actual history of the invention and development of the powered aircraft, I made contacts in Kitty Hawk, NC, where the story begins. These contacts were so valuable to me. Everyone was happy to help me beyond my wildest expectations in delving into archives and records to get the facts. We made friends whom we consider treasures from this experience. Gathering the historical data was simple. Getting the flavor of the region was delightful, and putting the story together so that the characters had flesh, blood, and bones was more difficult. Our trips to Kitty Hawk helped with that. They seemed to transport us to the time period when all that took place. Visiting the venues mentioned in the book was critical in describing the region. At KH, I had free access to the Historical Center; libraries and private records; visual and audio tapes of the eye-witnesses of the actual first flight; and other public records which documented and detailed this momentous event.

RT: Is there anything else you’d like to add about aviation history or Orville, Wilbur and Me?

Phyllis: My interest in writing the book started with my frustration that young people might not ever know about the persistence of the Wright brothers—and others—who had many obstacles to overcome before they were even slightly successful. Now, after reading the book, I see kids reading about other aviators and experimenters. They are being directed to Web sites—designed for their age group—where they can learn more about aviation, travel, and spacecraft. There are hundreds of websites which feature NASA’s ongoing experiments and successes. It’s a wonderful time for students, and a wonderful time for anyone who pursues knowledge about aviation.

The concept of the book is to reiterate the fact that in order to reach your goals, you must never, ever give up on your dreams. I hope I did that in the writing this book.

Visit Phyllis' Web site to go behind the scenes of Orville, Wilbur and Me: www.wingsandstars.com.


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