Thursday, April 18, 2013

Showcase: Taking Flight by Sarah Solmonson

Taking Flight

For the next thirty minutes I was untouchable in my joy. The sky was clear, the sun already tempting me to spend another day at the beach. I had my best friend by my side and a boy who loved me. It was about this same time that you were inching down the runway, lifting off the ground for one of the hundreds of take-offs the FAA required your experimental aircraft to make before you could expand the distance you were permitted to fly.

It was about this time that everything changed...

David Norton lived for two things: family and flying. With the help of his wife, Jan (self appointed parts manager) and teenage daughter, Sarah (lifelong co-pilot), David worked for six years building his very own airplane in his basement workshop. His dream became a reality in the spring of 2000 when N256DN took its first flight. 

Three months later, David was performing a routine take-off when a fluke change in wind brought his plane down. David was killed instantly. Jan and Sarah were thrown into a whirlwind of grief and depression that nearly destroyed the family David so dearly loved. 

I was unhealthy in every way a person could be, intensified by the fact that I kept pretending to be fine. Or doing my best to pretend, to fit into who I was before. I carde about nothing but went through the daily motions of school, homework, and hanging out with friends, as though these were still the most important parts of my life. I felt like I was outside of my own body most of the time, watching from the sidelines as Sarah smiled. 

Now a grown woman with a family and dreams of her own, Sarah looks back on the depression and darkness of teenage grief and the unthinkable transformation of her family following her father's death. Taking Flight is a journey through loss, a story of love, and a lesson in following your dreams - no matter what the cost. 

Author bio: 

Sarah Solmonson was raised in Lake Sherwood, Missouri, forty miles away from civilization. She spent her early years writing books in crayon and fondly considers “My Daddy’s Airplane” (1991) to be her first draft of her debut novel, Taking Flight.
Sarah moved to Minnesota in 1994 where she has had ample opportunity to read and write during the long winter months. She graduated with honors from Augsburg College in 2010 with her B.A. in English Literature, Language and Theory. Sarah writes memoirs, self-help books and fiction novels.
When Sarah isn’t writing or reading she can be found getting her groove on in the dance studio, nannying for two brilliant children, enthusiastically eating quesadillas, and watching scary movies with her husband and two dogs.
You can learn more about me at my website,

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A.  My writing inspiration comes from living my day to day life. A conversation overheard in the grocery store check-out line might become dialogue in a short story. A song lyric might generate a leading lady. Take in everything and work with the stuff that makes you look twice. 

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A. The feeling that I am doing exactly what I was born to do with my life. 

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A. Trying to fit the other demands in my life around the desire to be writing. Sometimes it's hard to have a great writing session and then head back to the day job in an office on Monday morning. 

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A. I would take a bunch of theater classes and pursue the stage. I was a choir geek in high school and college and wish singing was more a part of my life today.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. Adventures of a Curly Haired Booknerd

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I was given a copy for my 10th birthday and I have read it at least twice a year for the last 19 years! 

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. I'll go with Idgie from Fried Green Tomatoes. I'm always barefoot, I think overalls will make a comeback, and I always sass off without thinking first. 

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

A. I don't think I've written that character yet. "Taking Flight" is definitely about who I was, but not really who I am today. 

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. Songs of the Humpback Whale. I would love to walk through those apple orchards at sunset. 

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Summer - the hotter, the better!

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. I knew before I wrote "Taking Flight" that I would create the cover from the photograph of my Dad pushing his plane out of the hanger. He was so triumphant and proud - and that's what I want readers to take away from our story. 

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. A 12 year old girl got ahold of my book and decided to use it for her mid-year book report. She needed a prop other than the book, so I sent her a copy of my Dad's journal page (which is also the back cover of the book). I threw in an autographed copy of the book as well, since she had read the entire thing on her iPhone. Her mom emailed me to say that her younger brother desperately wanted to hold the paperback, but she wouldn't let him near it for fear he would ruin her new favorite book signed by the author. 

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. I am over halfway through my second book, a travel journal recounting the two weeks I spent in Germany and Poland studying post WWII history and literature. The trip changed and saved my life - I feel compelled to put it down on paper before the details are lost forever. 

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Thank you for stopping by and supporting the literary arts!

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