Title: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold
Author: Iain Reading
Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #1
Genre: YA Adventure and Mystery
Published: November 30, 2012
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.
After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.
There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone.
“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”
For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/
As soon as the engine began to sputter, I knew that I was in real trouble. Up until then, I had somehow managed to convince myself that there was just something wrong with the fuel gauges. After all, how could I possibly have burnt through my remaining fuel as quickly as the gauges seemed to indicate? It simply wasn't possible. But with the engine choking and gasping, clinging to life on the last fumes of aviation fuel, it was clear that when the fuel gauges read, "Empty," they weren't kidding around.
The lightning strike that took out my radio and direction-finding gear hadn't worried me all that much. (Okay, I admit it worried me a little bit.) It wasn't the first time that this had happened to me, and besides, I still had my compasses to direct me to where I was going. But I did get a little bit concerned when I found nothing but open ocean as far my eyes could see at precisely the location where I fully expected to find tiny Howland Island—and its supply of fuel for the next leg of my journey—waiting for me. The rapidly descending needles on my fuel gauges made me even more nervous as I continued to scout for the island, but only when the engine began to die did I realize that I really had a serious problem on my hands.
The mystery of the disappearing fuel.
The enigma of the missing island.
The conundrum of what do I do now?
"Exactly," the little voice inside my head said to me in one of those annoying 'I-told-you-so' kind of voices. "What do you do now?"
"First, I am going to stay calm," I replied. "And think this through."
"You'd better think fast," the little voice said, and I could almost hear it tapping on the face of a tiny wristwatch somewhere up there in my psyche. "If you want to make it to your twentieth birthday, that is. Don't forget that you're almost out of fuel."
"Thanks a lot," I replied. "You're a big help."
Easing forward with the control wheel I pushed my trusty De Havilland Beaver into a nosedive. Residual fuel from the custom-made fuel tanks at the back of the passenger cabin dutifully followed the laws of gravity and spilled forward, accumulating at the front and allowing the fuel pumps to transfer the last remaining drops of fuel into the main forward belly tank. This maneuver breathed life back into the engine and bought me a few more precious minutes to ponder my situation.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday," I said, keying my radio transmitter as I leveled my flight path out again. "This is aircraft Charlie Foxtrot Kilo Tango Yankee, calling any ground station or vessel hearing this message, over."
I keyed the mic off and listened intently for a reply. Any reply. Please? But there was nothing. There was barely even static. My radio was definitely fried.
It was hard to believe that it would all come down to this. After the months of preparation and training. After all the adventures that I'd had, the friends I'd made, the beauty I'd experienced, the differences and similarities I'd discovered from one culture to the next and from one human being to the next. All of this in the course of my epic flight around the entire world.
Or I should say, "my epic flight almost around the entire world," in light of my current situation.
And the irony of it was absolutely incredible. Three-quarters of a century earlier the most famous female pilot of them all had disappeared over this exact same endless patch of Pacific Ocean on her own quest to circle the globe. And she had disappeared while searching for precisely the same island that was also eluding me as I scanned the horizon with increasing desperation.
"Okay," I thought to myself. "Just be cool and take this one step at a time to think the situation through." I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, slowing it down and reining in the impulse to panic. Inside my head, I quickly and methodically replayed every flight that I'd ever flown. Every emergency I'd ever faced. Every grain of experience that I had accumulated along the long road that had led me to this very moment. Somewhere in there was a detail that was the solution to my current predicament. I was sure of it. And all I had to do was find it.
Maybe the answer to my current situation lay somewhere among the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia? Or in the steamy jungles of east Africa? Or inside the towering pyramids of Giza? Or among the soaring minarets of Sarajevo? Or on the emerald rolling hills and cliffs of western Ireland? Or on the harsh and rocky lava fields of Iceland?
Wherever the answer was, it was going to have to materialize quickly, or another female pilot (me) would run the risk of being as well-known throughout the world as Amelia Earhart. And for exactly the same reason.
"It's been a good run at least," the little voice inside my head observed, turning oddly philosophical as the fuel supplies ran critically low. "You've had more experiences on this journey around the world than some people do in their entire lifetime."
"That's it!" I thought.
Maybe the answer to all this lies even further back in time? All the way back to the summer that had inspired me to undertake this epic journey in the first place. All the way back to where North America meets the Pacific Ocean—the islands and glaciers and whales of Alaska.
All the way back to where this entire adventure began.
1. What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?
I always compare my writing process to being on a subway train. Before I get on I know where I am starting out and where I am going. I even know all the stops along the way. But what I don't know is what exactly will happen between each of those stops. I can usually guess, but there's always something unexpected that happens. And as I make my way through the story I take walks and think ahead to what is going to happen next, while still keeping in mine all the future stops and my destination. And once I have that clear in my head I sit down to write it. And even then unexpected things happen. But that's the best part of the whole process.
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
I think that varies from book to book. My Kitty Hawk series, for example, the idea for the entire plot of a teenage pilot that flies around the world and solves mysteries came directly from the heroine's name. Kitty Hawk (the place where the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane) as the name of a teenage pilot. That series almost wrote itself. The idea for another of my books, the dragon of the month club, came from the television show Modern Family. In one episode Jay has a subscription to the sausage of the month club. And I thought, what if there was a dragon of the month club? Hmmmmm, I thought. And then the idea of the whole book suddenly became clear.
3. How long have you been writing?
About three years now. A bit more. But maybe the better question is how long I had NOT been writing. For a long time before that… and unfortunately the last year or more. I made my life very busy and have to figure out how to juggle that and still keep writing.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
I am not sure I am much of an authority, but here goes… three things:
1) Writing a book is not as difficult as you might think;
2) If you're writing for the first time and you want to write a book series… write the third book first. Then shelve it. Then write the first book and go from there. You'll be much more familiar with the process and characters that way. (Of course this is slightly weird advice….); and lastly
3) Write the book you are capable of writing – not the book you might WANT to write. I would like to write books like a lot of my favourite authors, but I am not them, so I can't. And trying to do so only will end in frustration.
5. How much research do you do in order to make your books as historically accurate as you want?
I generally do a LOT of research. This includes good old Google, of course, but also reading every book on the subject that I can get my hands on, plus studying maps and historical documents, trips to library archives, and best of all (for me) I always visit the places I am writing about in order to get a sense of them and to be inspired.
Books/authors/genres – Favourite books: Contact by Carl Sagan and The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux.
Movies/TV Shows – Favourite movie: Moneyball (don't ask me why…. I can watch it over and over and over – and I don't even like baseball). Favourite television show: I have to say Modern Family, don't I? Since it inspired one of my books.
Music – Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone, but I really like my own music. I guess that's why I wrote and recorded - because I wanted to hear it. But for real music I would say: Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Taylor Swift and The Script.
Food/writing snack – There's no time for snacking while writing! Ha ha. But one of my favourite snacks is something they have in Holland called Mexicantjes which are little round crackers with cheese flavour. And you get them with soft soft white cheese with chives and it is SOOOOOO good.
About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.
Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/