Author Q&A on Aviation, History, and Writing/Publishing!

I’ve often said this little apple didn’t fall far from the tree: I was destined to write about aviation because there were so many airplane nuts in my family.

Well, maybe I was also destined to write – period – because of my genetics. I come from a long line of  journalers, journalists, radio play writers, and now…novelists. My mother, Mary Metcalfe, is set to publish her first book this summer. As part of her journey, she’s doing a weekly Q&A with authors on her blog, In the spirit of keeping it in the family, she’s asked me to be one of her first interview subjects.


Here’s just one of my answers… To see the rest, or to see about becoming a future Q&A participant, please click on the link above!

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. “As always, I find myself working on a number of different projects simultaneously, but the main two are a nonfiction book on the history of aviation in Canada’s North (due to be published by Frontenac House in 2013) and a historical novel, tentatively titled Chasing Skies.

Both of these projects were sparked by my first book, For the Love of Flying, a history of a Canadian bush airline that really got my career “off the ground,” so to speak, in 2009. After getting my Master’s in Canadian history, I had the opportunity to put my training to good use. The only problem was, I didn’t know anything about airplanes! After two years of researching and writing, I was hooked and wanted to explore the area more – but with my own spin. So the North Book (as I think of it) has a real social/cultural history angle to it, and Chasing Skies follows a female bush pilot who goes to fly in England during the Second World War (as well as her First Nations friend who enlists in the Army). It deals with the social realities of the time period, and is based on a lot of research.”

Beaming into the Berton House Gala

When technology works it’s a glorious thing.

No, the Writers’ Trust of Canada hasn’t managed to snag a Star Trek teleporter, but they did use Skype to successfully beam me all the way from Dawson onto a 15-ft screen at the Berton House Gala in Toronto last night – which, if you’ve had any experience with Skype, is nothing short of incredible.

Apparently I came in loud and clear to the host, Vicki Gabereau (below), and the 200-odd attendees. And I could hear Vicki great too, but it was really eerie not being able to see anyone while I was up there on the big screen…
I was pretty nervous leading up to my interview, even if it was only to last a few minutes. After all, I used to watch Vicki’s talk show all the time in university and have always admired her. I’d also heard I’d be following a slideshow by Charlotte Gray about her time in Dawson and her recently released book, Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike. Gulp…no pressure, eh?
I don’t actually recall much of what I said – which is often the case when adrenaline and nerves are at play – but near the end I did gather my thoughts enough to give a shout-out to my wonderful mentor Dr. Desmond Morton (sketched below), who was in attendance. And I mentioned that I’d carefully squeezed my book in next to Charlotte’s on the Berton House bookcase. Dorky, but true… and something about snowpants, I think. Double dorky.
The amazing thing is a few minutes after I signed off with Vicki my phone rang. And it was Charlotte on the line! Again, I was so starstruck I don’t really remember what she said, but I’m pretty sure the phone call actually took place.
They also let me hang out on Skype afterwards, and I listened to a recording of Pierre Berton reciting Robert Service’s poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, and David Warrack on the piano entertaining folks as they mingled after the program was done. It was quite magical, and if the people physically there enjoyed themselves half as much as I did virtually, the night was a smash success.

(Thank you Elsa, Nigel, Joel and the other folks who made my skype attendance possible!)

© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.