AUTHOR TO AUTHOR - An Interview with Durwood Heinrich, PhD - Pilot
Durwood Heinrich, author of Attack Out of the Sun: Lessons from the Red Baron for Our Business and Personal Lives © 2010
Thank you, Durwood, for taking time away from your latest writing project to answer a few questions for your fans.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your book Attack Out of the Sun?
“Manfred von Richthofen is widely known as the famous pilot who achieved an incredible eighty aerial victories, eclipsing all other aces of World War I. He became a living legend not only to the German people, but also to his opponents who admired his prowess and affectionately referred to him as the Red Baron. In Attack Out of the Sun, I explored the life of Richthofen, a man who lived to be only twenty-five years old but who nonetheless had a tremendous impact on the lives of many. I examined the Red Baron’s personality, technical skills, management style, leadership ability, strategies, and undaunted determination. Against the backdrop of Richthofen’s positive attributes as a wartime hero, I focused on preparation and planning for success, execution for results, and evaluation and renewal in order to assist readers in improving their business interactions and personal lives.”
Q. What has been the biggest surprise about your success as a published author?
“In addition to opening doors for potential speaking engagements, being a published author creates an avenue for fascinating interaction with both existing and aspiring authors. It’s always amazing to me how many individuals have either written a book, are currently working on one, or plan to publish sometime in the future. The creativity I encounter is incredible.”
Q. What project are you currently pursuing as a writer? And especially for your fans, do you have a target date for completion?
“Most recently, I have been busy writing articles for several publications and giving presentations aboard cruise ships. However, I am nearing completion of my latest book What I learned at 45,000 Feet (A Bird’s Eye View of Life!). It’s another book about life’s lessons plus some humorous anecdotes.”
Q. In your opinion, does your work fall into a particular genre, and if so, which one? Or does this book crossover between two or more genre?
“I often explain to people that Attack Out of the Sun is a hybrid book, meaning that it is not only a complete biography of Manfred von Richthofen but also a motivational and self-help book.”
Q. Would you say that you are still experimenting with different styles of writing, or have you settled into a style, which feels uniquely suited to you?
“I like to think that I can write in several different styles and I typically attempt to do so (with varying degrees of success!). Because of my background in aviation, engineering, and psychology, my comfort level is mostly centered in non-fiction.”
Q. How long did it take to write Attack Out of the Sun: Lessons from the Red Baron for Our Business and Personal Lives? And - How did you move through the writing process from idea to completion?
“In addition to formulating my concept of the book, I spent the first six months accumulating and reading some 75 books plus numerous articles and videos about von Richthofen. It took another six months to write and to revise the manuscript.”
Q. Outside of your family, who has been your greatest supporter in this endeavor?
“In addition to my patient and loving wife Charlene, my good friends Paul H. Smith and James W. Robertson were my biggest supporters.”
Q. If you had one piece of advice to share with someone starting his or her first novel, what would that be?
“Simply begin writing and try to write a little each day! Get it down on paper (or computer). Don’t make the mistake of attempting to write a New York Times Best Seller, painstakingly modifying each sentence and paragraph as you go along. Just enjoy the experience, the freedom, and be yourself! Not long ago, I edited an autobiography for a good friend, a Colonel who spent 30 years in the Army Air Corps/USAF and who is a true hero in every sense of the word. What has made his book such a success is that he wrote it just as he talks—by telling stories. In his draft, he seldom gave grammar or punctuation any attention at all!”