Pilot Journal
Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Author's JetPROP

From best aircraft performance to best seller

piperAh yes, the first novel. It’s every writer’s dream to someday pen a novel. No matter what their medium—motion pictures, television shows, advertising, technical manuals or even magazines—nearly all who wield pens for their daily bread, and even some who don’t, aspire to author the next great American novel, to create their own characters, their own stories, even their own worlds.
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Considering the author’s busy travel schedule, it might seem that he has little time to write. Woods notes, however, that the best thing about his occupation is the ability to travel and write on the road. “I love the freedom. I can write anywhere—all I need is a couple of hours of solitude and a computer, and I can write a chapter. Since my work is portable, I can live anywhere I like.”

Woods’ two loves—the ocean and aviation—show themselves frequently in his novels, which feature numerous references to sailing and airplanes. His JetPROP’s registration, N123TF, often winds up as a reference in his books. “Since that’s my airplane’s number, I can be reasonably certain I won’t get any complaints from readers,” says Woods.

No matter where he is, Woods tries to write four or five days a week, usually a minimum of two to three hours a day. He typically edits the previous day’s work first; then, attempts to complete a new chapter on his current book. Once, when asked about how he’d developed his craft, he answered, “Writing is like singing—everyone can do it a little, and those who do it a lot do it better. For me, writing is a kind of magic and shouldn’t be questioned too closely.”

We caught up with Woods in Santa Monica, Calif. His newest Stone Barrington/Holly Barker novel, Dark Harbor, had just been published, rocketing to number two on the New York Times Best Sellers list in its first week.

Woods was halfway through a 22-city public appearance/book-signing tour. In view of his schedule, the JetPROP’s 250-knot cruise speed was practically essential to his mission. Though his typical stage lengths rarely exceeded 600 nm, Woods feels that the JetPROP is nearly ideal for his current needs, offering maximum two-and-a-half hour legs between cities.

Woods and his girlfriend had just flown in from Tucson, Ariz, and after two days at the Los Angeles Times Book Fair, the author was on his way to Monterey, then San Francisco, then a half-dozen other cities before returning home to New York City. After recovering from a month on the road, Woods is considering another trip to Europe, this time in his JetPROP, routing up through Greenland and Iceland. The first stop overseas will probably be London. “England is my favorite country, and London is my favorite city,” the author explains.


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