From the May/June 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Roger asks Code Name Verity author Elizabeth Wein about writing books and flying airplanes. Read the full review of Code Name Verity here.
Roger Sutton: You’re a pilot—what has flying taught you about writing?
Elizabeth Wein: As a student pilot, the lengthy “outside aircraft checks” and “cockpit checks” before takeoff used to drive me crazy. I was just anxious to be in the air. Then one morning I made a conscious readjustment of my brain to acknowledge that these things were part of the process. You have to get the groundwork done so that you are free to concentrate on the most important task, which is to fly the plane.
In the air, you check every fifteen minutes that you have sufficient fuel, that your engine is operating efficiently, and that your radio and altitude and heading instruments are all set correctly. Only then can you marvel at the snow-capped Scottish Highlands with the low winter sun gilding them pink and gold.
In writing, the groundwork consists of background reading, fact-checking, drawing up timelines and outlines, taking in suggestions and criticism, and finally the long chore of actually putting all this together and writing the book. Flying has taught me to embrace the entire process. Fly the plane—write the book.