Monday, 14 May 2018

The Best Laid Flight Plans by Leigh Dreyer - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Excerpt

Book Cover: The Best Laid Flight Plans by Leigh Dreyer
Today I'm happy to be welcoming Leigh Dreyer, who has just brought out her debut novel, edited by Christina Boyd. The Best Laid Flight Plans is a modern Pride & Prejudice variation against an airforce backdrop. Leigh comes here with some Q&A and an excerpt from her book, plus there is the opportunity to win a copy of the book if you're quick! Let's take a look at the blurb:

Book Description

In this modern Pride and Prejudice variation, Captain William “Fitz” Darcy has just received a new assignment as an instructor pilot at Meryton Air Force Base. Soon he meets the intrepid 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Bennet, a new student at the base that he cannot keep out of his head. Elizabeth, on the other hand, finds Captain Darcy to be arrogant and prideful and attempts to avoid him at every turn. Despite Darcy’s insulting manners, Elizabeth soars her way through pilot training, but can she soar her way into love as well?

Author Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself and your background

I work as a speech pathologist, currently in the Las Vegas area. I work both in person and doing teletherapy (which I absolutely love) from my home. I write while my kids take naps and during teletherapy breaks. I also have just been the lead in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. I have an incredible husband who is a pilot in the Air Force and two amazing kids. My son is three and my daughter is eighteen months. Both my husband and I are Air Force brats, both children of pilots which makes for fun family get togethers.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? 

Elizabeth Bennet and “Fitz” William Darcy are well known to any regular JAFF readers, but in my novel it was fun to see them in the military, a culture with which I’m so familiar. When I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, I’ve often wondered what amazing things Elizabeth would do in a time where women could go and do anything a man could, and I loved seeing her go out and reach for her dreams.

What are you working on at the minute?

Book two, The Flight Path Less Travelled and a short story about how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet meet and get married.

What’s it about? 

The Flight Path Less Travelled will start where The Best Laid Flight Plans ends and will continue the story to see where Elizabeth’s dreams end up.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

The Best Laid Flight Plans will be book one in a series (although I think it stands alone quite well). I really wanted to see the journey of Elizabeth Bennet and see how our dreams change based on factors outside our control. My Elizabeth is a strong, independent, woman who, unlike the original, doesn’t need a man to help her move up or continue in the world and I think it is interesting to explore how love changes us.

How much research do you do? 

For this book most of my research was talking to my husband or calling my dad or father in law. My husband went through pilot training in 2009, my dad spent over 15 years as a master instructor pilot in the T-38 and still works at the base Meryton is based on, and my father in law did more than twenty years in the Air Force as a pilot.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I went to a book club attended by Diana J Oaks and told my sister in law my idea about Darcy in the Air Force and I started writing the next day.

Book Cover: The Best Laid Flight Plans by Leigh Dreyer
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

The photoshoot was done in Utah at the Air Force museum at Hill Air Force Base. It was important to me to highlight Elizabeth as a female pilot. Females are so rare in the pilot world that I wanted to be able to see Elizabeth as I see her, a strong woman who is willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve what she sees for herself. I made the choice to have the little ringlets and her hair up in a kind of braid Mohawk, because I thought it was a fun throwback to the Regency hairstyles. The back cover is Darcy and I love his name tag and the idea of a compass for Elizabeth’s journey.

Where do you get your ideas? 

Life, really. I’ve been around the Air Force my entire life and it is something I know well. Every time I’ve gone to an Air Force event over the last few years, I’ve sent my husband weird note-taking text messages about the event so I can remember them and put them in a book later. I think it’s important for me to give a glimpse for all the civilians into the world of the modern military. There aren’t many books written about them these days that isn’t about the combat aspect, and while that is certainly important, my husband has been deployed several times and that is an ever-present theme in our lives, I think the culture of the military outside of combat is just as interesting.

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Excerpt from The Best Laid Flight Plans
Elizabeth Bennet smoothed her hands downs her starched camouflage ABUs once more and reached absently to the pins in her brunette hair, exhaling nervously. Again, she rehearsed what she would say, muttering under her breath. Putting her hand on the large, wooden door, she paused, stretched out as tall as her petite frame would allow, and walked in. 

“Major Warby, sir,” Elizabeth said crisply.

The major did not look up from the papers on his desk, his hand hovering over one particular sheet, and staring back at his computer. Over his slouched frame, she could see the top of his bald head reflecting the cheap fluorescent office lighting. 

“Major Warby?” To her dismay, Elizabeth’s voice lilted higher in question.

The major let out a noisy sigh and looked up, rolling his eyes as he did so. As he rustled the papers on his desk, tiny dust particles danced into the air. 

Picture from The Best Laid Flight Plans
“Hmm?” He grunted the question. Elizabeth hated when men grunted that way. They tended to do it a lot to her. And sighed. The sigh, especially, was always a sign she had disappointed them. The difficulty was however, she could never figure out precisely what she had done to offend. She persevered, thinking it would be best to have this sorry excuse for an interview over with.

“Sir, I’ve shredded and replaced the regulation binders as you asked. It took a little while because it was difficult to find all of the appropriate AFI’s for each flight when no one could tell me where the binders were exactly. You should be ready for inspection next week.”

“Thanks.” Major Warby grunted his response and gave her a bored look that seemed to politely invite her to get the hell out. She stepped forward, fidgeting, but ventured forth regardless. 

“Sir, is there any other work I can complete?” She hoped against hope that there would be a task, anything, for her to do. Elizabeth Bennet hated to be idle. She was a useful sort of person who thrived in activity and one more day of mediocrity might just kill her.

“Bennet, look”—Major Warby spoke to her like he spoke to his three-year-old at the last Family Day picnic—“You’re in casual status. Do you know what casual lieutenants do?”

“Yes sir. They complete all work assigned to them and are available to their commanders for additional assignments as needed. Sir.” The sarcastic answer dripped from her lips before she could stop herself, so she smiled as she spoke to ensure it sounded more polite than she felt.

“Bennet. That was a lovely book answer, but really, do you know what you guys do?”

“Umm.” Elizabeth glanced at the white-painted cinderblock wall to her left and saw the clock ticking. She could almost hear its silent taunting. 

“Bennet.” Elizabeth could hear the sigh as he said her name. “You wait. That’s it. Nobody cares about what you do or don’t do because you don’t have a real job. You just sit around waiting for your slot to come up. Now, can I do anything for you or are you just here to distract me from what I’m trying to finish before I can go home and have a drink?” He punctuated his question by raising his eyebrows, the wrinkles on his forehead becoming deep creases.

“No, sir. I’m sorry to have bothered you. I’ll just go sit at scheduling in case you need me.”

The major grunted in reply as Elizabeth exited, letting the door slam behind her. Her boots squeaked as she strode down the dull, tile floors. Oh, but she was bored. The assignment the major had given her had taken her two days. Two whole days that she was not sitting, bored, at the scheduling desk waiting for life to happen to her. 

She turned left down the hall and looked at her favorite picture in the squadron. It was small and in a cheap, plain black frame, but she loved it. A loaded A-10 aircraft flying right above the cloud line where she could see the colors of the clouds. Most people thought clouds were big, white puffy cotton balls in the sky, but Elizabeth Bennet knew better. Clouds were a million colors: white and pale yellow with streaks of bright cerulean and cornflower blues, sparkling like pearls in the sunshine or darken in a sinister instant. This picture somehow captured what Elizabeth was so anxious to see for herself. 

Elizabeth had only ever had one dream. She wanted to fly. When she was eight, she wanted to bend her legs, jump, and take off swirling through the skies. When she was twelve, she met a pilot during career day at school and decided to do everything she could to become one. She worked hard and blasted through her classes as fast as she could. And now, here she was, not quite twenty-one...and stagnant. Stuck as a casual lieutenant in a squadron that did not care whether she showed up to work or not. Elizabeth took another long look at the painting and sighed. She hated to wait.

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Author Bio

Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way, “You know the Great Balls of Fire scene in Top Gun (“Goose you big stud!!!”), where Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son and a daughter who is almost walking.

Connect with the Author - Facebook - Goodreads - Website

Book Cover: The Best Laid Flight Plans by Leigh Dreyer
Buy links

This book is available to buy now! US / UK

Giveaway Time

There is a giveaway associated with this blog tour, but you'll need to be quick to enter. Use the rafflecopter to enter.

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16 comments:

  1. Carole in Canada15 May 2018 at 00:03

    Thanks for interview Ceri! It's great learning about new authors and their inspiration! I'm looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

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    1. Thanks! The inspiration was pretty easy when that's what I've been around for thirty years. hahaha Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Hi Carole. That's one of the things I like about blog tours too, it's like having bonus features on a dvd!

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  2. I already read this book and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for Leigh Dreyer and I am looking forward to the next book.

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    1. Awesome! I'm so glad you liked it!

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the story Jen!

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  3. I, too, read and enjoyed this book. Waiting for the next one as there is much to anticipate. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm hard at work on book 2!

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    2. Thanks for the feedback, Sheila. I always like to know that you've enjoyed something as we have similar taste :)

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  4. Hi Ceri,

    Must admit that this is an intriguing premise!! I can just imagine the tense atmosphere between Darcy,as instructor and Lizzie,as a student,in this modern version.
    Looking forward to seeing how it pans out!!

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    1. Luckily, Darcy isn't an instructor over Lizzie, but it is still pretty tense. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for visiting!

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    2. It's an interesting set up isn't it, Mary!

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  5. That sounds really interesting! I am very curious to read more! Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it, Daniela.

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  6. Great interview and excerpt. This plot is perfect for Elizabeth and Darcy.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Eva!

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