Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Guess the Plot
Fear of Landing
1. After Sylvia gets her pilots license, her boyfriend comes up with an idea to get her out of his hair: a quest to visit every island in Great Britain and write a book about it. But some of those runways look more like driveways.
2. Now that she's at 27,000 feet, watching the landing gear fall toward Kansas, Wanda Carson realizes she should never have agreed to fly for Bare Budget Air Freight. But that free carpet shampoo was irresistible.
3. Tommie Landing has bullied the entire school all year, and not even the teachers can control him. The staff are terrified of what will happen when Tommie is promoted to third grade next year. Will the district recommend home schooling? Or can little Tara Smidley tame his savage heart?
4. Three year old Jeannie is just figuring out staircases. The straight up and down ones aren't too bad--just a matter of velocity adjustment near the bottom. But word from her older brother is that the ones that turn halfway down have monsters on them.
5. At first, Erica was agoraphobic, fear of the outdoors. Then she was aviatophobic, fear of flying. Now it’s fear of the Dead Cat Bounce (Felinus-Bouncy-Bouncy-Thudda-phobia).
6. The last three starships to return to Earth exploded upon reentry to the atmosphere. As physicists back home try to discover the cause, the captain of the Hephaestus, returning from Alpha Centauri, considers an unscheduled layover on Uranus.
I understand that you represent non-fiction books and would like to introduce my work-in-progress: Fear of Landing, about my travels in single-engine plane around the British Isles, told from a unique international viewpoint.
I am a 39-year-old German-American (brought up in both countries) currently living in Spain with my British boyfriend and very confused son. After I received my Private Pilots License, I found I wasn't keeping the hours up without a goal. My boyfriend set the challenge: fly to every island possible in the British Isles. [Recommendation 1: Dump this guy immediately.]
I have identified 38 islands with usable runways within the geographical British Isles, from Jersey off the coast of France to the icy Faroes, located halfway between Iceland and Norway. Ireland and the Aran Islands lie to the West and the Scottish Shetlands are my unexpected Eastern boundary. [Recommendation 2: Has it occurred to you that with a sea plane you could get to islands with no runways? 38 isn't bad, but 100, now that would be a feat.]
Highlights include Lundy in the Bristol Channel (population 7 [8, if I survive the landing]); Mainland, an intriguingly named island in the Scottish Orkneys; Barra in the Outer Hebrides with a runway only available at low tide [Technically it's available at high tide, but the landings tend to be a bit abrupt.] and Walney Island in English Cumbria, which appears to have no redeeming value whatsoever. [Recommendation 3: Make sure you have plenty of fuel when you land on Walney Island. The last time someone got stranded there overnight he literally died of boredom. True story.]
I have a blog about the project at http://www.fearoflanding.com/ featuring planning and historical information and photographs from my trips.
Excerpts from my initial travels have appeared in Piper Flyer and the Guernsey Star and Press.
Fear of Landing will be my first full-length book. I am happy to send you a more detailed overview and the first three chapters at your request.
Thank you for your time,
It's not clear whether the book is about the islands, flying, or you. In other words, I'm not sure whether the book is intended mainly for travelers, with photos and information about each island, in which case it wouldn't matter how you got to them, and the book might seem more complete if you made it to the Italian Chapel at Lamb Holm , or to Iona Abbey, even if you can't fly in; or if it's intended more for other pilots who might want to try something similar; or if it's mainly about the personal accomplishment of flying to these islands. The title is clearly more appropriate if it's the latter. But the query doesn't make it clear that this is an amazing feat. Have you given yourself a limited amount of time to pull this off? Is it amazing because you do have a fear of landing?
"Available only," rather than "only available."
Recommendation 4: In view of the book's title, and to make it a more daring accomplishment, include Sealand as one of your stops.