FINDING DOROTHY SCOTT: Letters of a WASP Pilot by Sarah Byrn Rickman Blog Tour Author Interview + Giveaway!Read Now
Genre: Military History / Biography
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Date of Publication: May 30, 2016
Number of Pages: 288
More than eleven hundred women pilots flew military aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. These pioneering female aviators were known first as WAFS (Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) and eventually as WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Thirty-eight of them died while serving their country.
Dorothy Scott was one of the thirty-eight. She died in a mid-air crash at the age of twenty-three.
Born in 1920, Scott was a member of the first group of women selected to fly as ferry pilots for the Army Air Forces. Her story would have been lost had her twin brother not donated her wartime letters home to the WASP Archives. Dorothy's extraordinary voice, as heard through her lively letters, tells of her initial decision to serve, and then of her training and service, first as a part of the WAFS and then the WASP. The letters offer a window into the mind of a young, patriotic, funny, and ambitious young woman who was determined to use her piloting skills to help the US war effort. The letters also offer archival records of the day-to-day barracks life for the first women to fly military aircraft. The WASP received some long overdue recognition in 2010 when they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest honor that Congress can bestow on civilians.
PURCHASE FROM TEXAS TECH PRESS:
Rickman Author Interview #1
How long have you been writing? Since I was 5. I started by making up stories in my head.
What kind(s) of writing do you do? I wrote for the high school newspaper senior year after taking an excellent journalism course from an extraordinary high school teacher in my junior year. I went literary in college and wrote short stories; but I returned to journalism after graduation, going to work as a reporter on first a weekly newspaper and then a metropolitan daily. Spent 20 years in the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor, then took my skills freelance, became my own boss, and wrote, edited and produced newsletters for non-profits. I also wrote my first novel. I went back to school to get my Masters in Creative Writing and wrote my second novel as my thesis. I have now written 4 novels. The last two are published. They are all good, but not the Great American novel. I hope to publish the other 2 novels some day. I think I am a better nonfiction writer. I write creative nonfiction, which is a good marriage between my journalistic background and my creative side expressed in my four novels. With this biography, Finding Dorothy Scott, I now have seven published books. Five are nonfiction— three of which are biographies — and two are fiction.
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What do you think most characterizes your writing? I pattern my writing more on that of Ernest Hemingway, but not quite so spare. I use description sparingly. I write pretty good dialogue. My prose is not lush, rather it is measured. I am still a reporter at heart and prefer clean and simple over ornate and dense. I am on a continual quest to write tighter and tighter prose. To accomplish that, I have, of late, taken a crack at poetic prose and outright poetry. I’m still learning.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? Until Dorothy’s letters came into my hands, there was no story. No one remembered her well enough or knew enough about her to tell her story. Once I had the letters, I knew I could write the story. By the time I got around to Dorothy’s story, I had interviewed some 60 WASP and had written five books about them. I had an intimate knowledge of the program. It was relatively easy to take her letters and fit her experiences to what I already knew to be the real story. Still, keeping the depth of heart that was evident in her letters up front took painstakingly careful work. I never wanted to override her voice, as it is the most important element in her story.
What do your plans for future projects include. I have one more WASP project. Next is the story of Barbara “B.J.” Erickson and the WASP of the 6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach CA. “BJ” was their leader and warrants a biography, but I think the best way to tell her story is to tell it through the impact she had on the women who flew under her command.
If you were a superhero, what would your name be? Don't know about a super hero, but as a girl growing up I LOVED the comic strip character Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter. I wanted to be a reporter — like her. And I became just that!
What costume would you wear? No costume, just a working reporter.
About the Author
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