Writing for Young Adults

Nancy Love: WASP Pilot —Debuts May 25th

From Sarah Byrn Rickman:

My publisher, Filter Press, wishes to announce the publication of my second WASP biography for Young Adults.

“May 11, 2019, Palmer Lake, Colorado— Author Sarah Byrn Rickman is a national authority on the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who flew for the Ferrying Division, Air Transport Command, in WWII. In her ninth book, Rickman introduces YA readers to Nancy Love, one of the super heroes of women’s aviation.

“Nancy Harkness Love learned to fly in 1930 at age 16, when “nice young ladies” did not do such things. Flying became her life. When WWII began, Nancy was one of the few to see a role for women pilots. Women could fly small training aircraft within the United States thus releasing male pilots to fly combat or train more combat pilots. Later they would fly larger, faster aircraft.

“With the help of Colonel William H. Tunner, she brought her idea to fruition in 1942 with the establishment of the civilian Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). She was named WAFS leader and later supervisor for all WASP ferrying squadrons. During WWII, she flew twenty-one different aircraft, including the Army’s four-engine C-54 transport over the Himalayas from Calcutta, India to Kunming, China.

A Woman in a Man’s World

“Nancy Love was a woman in a man’s world and yet she negotiated the minefield of male egos, politics, and meddling from a rival and kept the WAFS and WASP flying the critically needed aircraft when it counted. Her persistence ultimately opened doors and knocked down glass ceilings for today’s female military pilots.”

Thanks to TRISH BECKMAN Commander, US Navy (retired) for the following:

  “With publication of her new YA book, Nancy Love: WASP Pilot, Sarah enhances her well-established reputation for bringing the stories of the WASP of WWII to life. If the subject is WASP, Sarah is THE expert.”

Nancy Love: WASP Pilot.  Available May 25, 2019. ISBN 978-0-86541-255-2 (pb), list price $ 12.95. Published by Filter Press, LLC, P.O. Box 95, Palmer Lake, CO 80133, www.FilterPressBooks.com.

Yes, I have switched to writing for Young Adults! My WASP biographies are now aimed at today’s young women — girls ages 9 to 14. WHY — after seven successful books aimed at a general audience — would I do this?

Why Did I Switch?

I was NOT looking for another genre. In the fall of 2016, I had completed my research for my next book — the biography of original WAFS Barbara “BJ” Erickson. I was ready to start writing. With three WASP biographies already under my belt, I was looking forward to number four. Should be a relatively straight-forward task. Right? Slam dunk, piece of cake, a no brainer.

Absolutely not! Why? First, every biography is different because no two people and their experiences are alike. Each life-story brings its own set of challenges and rewards and the author/biographer is entrusted with that story. And, by rewards I mean the incredibly personal satisfaction at telling THAT story well.

How I came to make the decision to switch is a story in itself. At our Women Writing the West conference in Santa Fe the fall of 2016, two good friends — Jacque Boyd and Nancy Jurka, both writers, both retired teachers — asked me why I wasn’t telling these WASP Pilot stories for today’s young women readers? As teachers, they were uniquely aware of their students’ unmet needs. Those girls, they told me, were the audience that needed to read my books, hear these WASP stories.

Filter Press, a small Colorado publisher, took my first Y/A biography — BJ Erickson: WASP Pilot. My editor, Doris Baker, helped me adjust my writing to readers with less life experience than that of the average adult. And what I learned appears to have worked.

Thank You Story Circle Network!

Note the gold sticker on the book cover (left). BJ Erickson: WASP Pilot has won this year’s prestigious Sarton Women’s Book Award for Young Adult Nonfiction, presented by Story Circle Network.

I’m ecstatic!!!

Then, with the financial backing of an aviation businessman who knew Barbara Erickson, I was able to give away copies of BJ Erickson: WASP Pilotto the 250 girls attending Girls in Aviation Day at the Women in Aviation conference in Long Beach, CA, in March. Read about this great event in my post, Women in Aviation Conference 2019.

Why write WASP biographies for young women readers?

Because what the WASP of World War II did was ground breaking for women at that time. Society’s general attitude back then was that a woman flying an airplane just wasn’t proper! At the same time, thousands of Rosie the Riveters stepped forward to woman factory production lines building aircraft and making ammunition to win the war. Women all over the U.S. stepped up and took jobs they had never held before in order to free men to go to war. It was a movement born of necessity.

Most people, young and old, still do not realize that women actually flew airplanes in World War II. So now I gladly write these remarkable women’s stories for today’s young audience. Now Nancy Love: WASP Pilot joins BJ Erickson’s biography on book shelves.

Coming May 25th from filterpressbooks.com

More about Nancy Love: WASP Pilot in next week’s blog.

Thank you for reading!


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