Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest, Patty Reid author of Flying with the Rich and Famous. Patty began her love of aviation flying "right seat" on her father's small plane, a four seat Bonanza.
When she graduated high school at the age of sixteen she enrolled in a local community college for their flight service program.
Jet America (now Alaska Airlines) hired her as a ticket agent and she was subsequently hired as a flight attendant for Regent Air.
This latter airline was a new first class airline flying from Los Angeles (LAX)(Imperial side) to Newark, NJ twice a day. Regent had private state rooms, a bar, spode china, baccarat crystal and limousine service directly to the aircraft. It was opulent and luxurious.
As Patty states, it was much, much more than first class. Passengers included rock stars, television celebrities, actors and actresses, songwriters, singers, politicians, athletes and wealthy business people. All of this was during the 1980's and as Patty says, it was a blast!
When Regent went bankrupt, Patty began flying for private jets, chartered jets, sports teams, and anyone else who needed a flight attendant on a private plane.
Norm: Good day Patty and thanks for participating in our interview.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about the subject you deal with in Flying with the Rich and Famous that isn't so?
Patty: Well first of all, people think the rich and famous are superior and therefore act that way. That is very much not the case.
I'll say 80% of them are easy to talk to, fun to be around and most importantly, just like you and me. But there are some that are not. There are those that think they are superior and will treat you as inferior.
After all my experiences, my guess is the ones who act superior are coming from a place of ego and the ones who do not are just happy people, such as artists that enjoy their craft! And they are a joy to hang out with.
Norm: As a follow up, what is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject, that they need to know?
Pat: Generally, people don't even know that private jets exist. Most are ignorant of their existence or their impact on world business. They are vital to the CEO's and VP's of international companies.
They impact world peace, the service industry, the shipping industry, the technology industry, etc. The need usually will far out-value the cost. And these jets are not inexpensive! Their importance truly impacts the entire world on so many levels.
Norm: Can you share a little of the book with us?
Patty: The first couple chapters are about what interested me in flying and what a private jet is like. The third and fourth are all about the famous passengers I had on board and what they were like when no one was watching but the flight attendant. And finally the bizarre things that happened to me living my life in the sky and the benefits. It's so different, you have to be prepared to read something that is unlike anything you've ever read before.
Norm; What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Patty: My goal was just to get my stories told because most of them are hilarious! I also wished to share with the world a new topic about "what it's like to fly on a private jet."
If I had a dollar for every person who asked me that question, well I'd be on a beach in Bali somewhere! I believe up to now I did achieve that as well as can be expected.
I'd like to reach more people and I am currently working on that. I would also eventually like to see it made into a movie, television series or something in that area, because like I mentioned, most of it is really funny. Plus, it's real life funny, I didn't make this stuff up, it just happened. Everyone likes a true story!
Norm: What was the most difficult challenge for you in writing the book?
Patty: The beginning was difficult because I didn't know how to start it. I overcame that and then went on to battle editors. Then the hardest part was trying to get it published.
That was even more challenging! Plus the publishing business was going through major changes and where did I fit in?
I finally threw my arms up and said to myself, I'll publish it myself. It took lots of hard work and perseverance, but it paid off. I'm a very tenacious woman.
Norm: What was the most embarrassing moment you encountered as a flight attendant and how did you handle it?
Patty: Ha! There's a few of those moments, but I'll share a favorite. I was preparing a Japanese lunch for a Japanese CEO of a major corporation.
While I was preparing their food, I noticed that I had somehow broken a fingernail off during the process. I looked all over for it, with the intention of gluing it back on. I couldn't find it, so I just continued with the lunch service.
I had arranged each setting on a tray and then would place the bowls and utensils on their place-mats off the tray. When I went to serve the CEO his rice bowl, I looked at it as I was setting it down and right there in the middle of a bowl of white rice - was my bright red fingernail! I quickly made an excuse to go back to galley and fish it out! To this day I still laugh at this story, plus I don't know if the CEO saw it or not!
Norm: How did you handle passengers that were drunk or disorderly?
Patty: First of all, this happens a lot or did when I was flying. One time, I was called for a charter - a charter means you never know what you're going to get. They turned out to be a group of guys and it was a bachelor party. They were consuming massive amounts of alcohol and were becoming extremely inappropriate. I mean these guys were plastered and constantly harassing me.
I went to talk to the pilots, because they are my salvation and my security. They offered to turn the cabin altitude up, therefore, reducing the oxygen level, which would cause my ill behaved passengers to fall asleep.I put up with them as long as I could and then asked the pilots to go ahead and turn up the cabin altitude. They all passed out!
I also had a women that I could not wake up. She passed out on the flight, but when we landed I could not wake her up. After several tense minutes, I put a towel under her (don't want to ruin the interior) and threw water over her face! That barely did the job. I then gave her as a gift to the shocked ground crew.
Norm: What did you learn from writing the book?
Patty: I learned how difficult it is. I was enthusiastic about writing it, but unrealistic about what a challenge it really is. I have new found respect for all authors but especially fiction authors. I tried to write it as fiction and found dialogue to be very difficult! But I also learned that if you are dedicated and unwilling to give up then you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Norm; Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?
Patty: I had an agent almost immediately, but the publishers rejected it because it wasn't "trashy" enough. They wanted dirt on pop culture celebrities. Consequently, she dropped me.
Then I found a publisher that was really to small for me. Then I found another publisher who just disappeared! Then I queried publishers but could tell that was never going to work after several rejections. That's when I decided to self-publish. I wasn't going to give up.
Norm: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Patty: Yes. I get both good and bad. The bad ones are my lack of grammar, editing mistakes, and some feel it's boring. But the majority loved it! I look at it this way: I am a flight attendant, not a writer. I wanted to get my story out there and I did. If you don't like it, don't read it, I don't care. But it seems the majority do like it, in fact love it! So sorry, if I have a misplaced comma. The fact that I can make you laugh out loud while reading a book is the point to me. Plus, I designed it after a People Magazine except one that gets you from the west coast to the east coast. It's the perfect travel book. Read it while you fly across the country!
Norm: Has a bad review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work?”
Patty: Yes, for sure. I did take it down twice to re-edit it. I hired several editors. But it still has mistakes in it, maybe I should have done it again, but its not easy when you have to re-format it every time for the e-book. Still, in the beginning I took it personally, but not anymore.
I think most people are willing to forgo the fact that I don't have a publisher, so I did the best I could. I achieved my goal and people are laughing out loud while reading it, so that's all I care about. Spread a little joy around the world, it could certainly use some.
Norm How can readers find out more about you and your book?
There are several pictures from my adventures around the world
and the famous faces I flew on FACEBOOK &
Norm: What is next for Patty Reid?
Patty: I am on a journey to get it out to more countries, to get it into airport book stores and to get it made in to a movie, television/cable series or some form of all of these!
Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Patty: Can I write your
screenplay? Ha Ha!