Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Lynette Latzko is talking with Kaylin McFarren, author of High Flying.
FQ: The main character in your novel High Flying is a young, female stunt pilot. What was your motivation behind creating a character with such a unique job?
MCFARREN: I virtually grew up with United Airlines, since my father was the lead maintenance foreman in L.A. in the late 50s, and later in Seattle. I remember sitting on his shoulders, watching planes take off on the tarmac and dreamed of becoming a pilot one day. It wasn’t in my cards, unfortunately, but I always enjoyed going to airshows, watching stunt pilots accomplish amazing feats. I wanted to create a daring female pilot willing to do anything to overcome her fears and troubled past.
FQ: At the beginning of each chapter in your book, you open with a quotation by an anonymous author. Is there any personal significance in your choice of quotes?
MCFARREN: I wanted each quote to reflect the actions taking place in each chapter and to pick anonymous lines that anyone could relate to —female and male alike. In other words, they’re kind of an introduction of what’s to come.
FQ: Back to your main character, Skylar Haines, who is described as a person who self-harms. What led you to create a character with this particular issue, and what type of information did you come across when doing research on this topic?
MCFARREN: I wanted to created a story about a badly damaged soul, pushed her to her limits, and ultimately leave her believing that she had value, redeeming qualities and skills that she wasn’t even aware of until the final pages of the story. This tends to be my MO with stories — allowing my characters to grow and surpass their mental and physical limitations. We all need a hero, but also a believable role model that gives us hope.
FQ: Are any of the characters from High Flying based on real people?
MCFARREN: Every character in High Flying was based on people I’ve met in my life. Some are daring, others are afraid to take risks. But they all are interesting, three-dimensional beings with a passion for making their marks in this world.
FQ: Time travel and having the chance to possibly influence one's past is one of the themes in your story. If you were given an opportunity to go back in time and possibly make an impact on events in the past, would you?
MCFARREN: Knowing what I do now, I definitely would. One example: my father died from colon cancer because he never considered having himself checked. He’d still be alive if he had. My oldest brother rushed to enlist in the military to fight in the Vietnam War because he wanted to be a hero, never knowing that exposure to Agent Orange would ultimately kill him. There are so many "what-ifs" that I’m sure we’ve all faced at one time or another in our lives.
FQ: What do you hope readers will take away from reading your novel?
MCFARREN: To not be afraid to take risks or consider all the options when faced with the worse possible situations. We need to strive to rise above the cruelty and hardships in our lives and not let them deter us from our hopes and dreams.
FQ: I see that you are a seasoned writer, including having written a four-book series. What advice do you have for new authors just beginning their writing journey?
MCFARREN: Stay true to your passion and don’t let anyone’s opinions or hurtful comments keep your from realizing the goals you set forth for yourself.
FQ: Are you currently working on any new writing projects?
MCFARREN: Yes. A new Sci-fi thriller that keeps me up late at night, typing away. I love delving into all kinds of genres and creating an interesting cast of characters that readers will relate to and hopefully root for as well.
FQ: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?
MCFARREN: I guess that I’m like most writers, longing for an expanding band of cheerleaders that enjoy every story and far-fetched tale that cultivates in my mind and finds it’s way onto a shelf. In one way or another, we all want a slice of immortality even if it comes on a written page. 🙂