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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, September 2, 2022

For the Love of Aviation

Breakfast in Narita is a Fun Read! 

Jean, Jeff and Kathy in the Good Ole Days
Northwest Airlines 

I met Kathy McCullough, Retired Northwest Captain, and the author of Breakfast in Narita, back in 1997. She is a good friend who was one of the first female pilots at Northwest Airlines. I am honored to write this post because I understand the effort it took to bring her current book to life, and what she experienced to be able to tell this story.  

Ten years ago Kathy McCullough began writing this novel. Four or five years ago, I did my first read and edit with four more to follow over the years. While it takes a team to write a book, I understood the world this story originated and the importance to get it right. As an author it's hard to tell a story when you  you're in the center of the action in real life. It becomes necessary to step outside the drama in order to tell the story, and allow the characters to have a life of their own... to share the challenges of women in aviation but make it a fun read. Because honestly, it was not always that much fun. Unless you made it fun, which Kathy and I did on many occasions. 

While this book is fiction with a sinister plot that includes corruption to the highest and most disgusting level in the pursuit of financial gain, the events of what Kathy lived are true. 

Since June 6th there were 20,447 views on LinkedIn visiting the post on Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry. And 15,224 views on the follow up Not my Problem, Think Again. Thanks to an FAA report and Dr. Tony Kern for his great insight as to the inability to have a positive safety culture with this type of behavior ongoing, we are one step closer to solving the age old problem. 

Breakfast In Narita: 

Kathy lived in this world, and I understood the story she was trying to tell. I am glad she invited me to be part of her team. While dining in Haneda, dinner and dessert, at the gym, in the tub, while locked in my hotel, I had the opportunity to read this novel for the final time. And I smiled as I read this version because this is the book she was looking to write. She did it! 

There I was... Reading Breakfast In Narita 
While Having Dessert in Haneda


"My grandmother encouraged me to write as a child, and I loved creating stories. It was my goal to be a published writer long before Amazon existed. I sold some stories to Woman’s World and Cricket magazines, so I knew I could do it. After all, I heard Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing Little House on the Prairie at age 65. 

I used to drag a heavy word processor around the world with me. When you wake up in the middle of the night in a hotel room, there are not many things you can do. That’s why I have two nonfiction books, and a lot of journals and other writing. Breakfast in Narita is fiction because I'm hoping the real characters from this book have grown in their retirement years. At least they won't be causing anyone grief in the future. Besides, fiction is a fun challenge, or at least I thought it would be. 

I thought writing Breakfast in Narita would be easier to get it down on paper than it was. Creating believable characters and making their dialogue sound real is hard. I took tons of classes and went to writing conferences. Show don’t tell. I am very good at “telling” a story, but showing is different. Also, I didn’t want my main character to sound whiny or mean, although there was plenty to whine about. There were so many false starts and so many times I gave up and quit working on this book. Then a flight attendant friend-of-a-friend read my nonfiction book, Ups and Downs. She loved it. 

She loved my voice and told me I had a gift. That’s what I needed to make me finish this. Encouragement and confidence. Now I’m glad I did, because the feedback has been incredible. A goal accomplished!"

For Your End of Summer Read
I recommend:

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene