Saturday, April 9, 2016

Aloha to Maggie Leffler and THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT - Author Interview


Maggie Leffler joins me for a cozy chat to celebrate the release of THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT in May. 

A native of Columbia, Maryland, Maggie Leffler graduated from University of Delaware with a major in English, a minor in biology and was team captain of women's cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. She was the recipient of a Wilmington Trust scholar athlete scholarship and part of a North Atlantic Conference championship-winning women's cross-country team. She volunteered with Americorps before attending St. George's University School of Medicine.

Learn more about Maggie and her books at

Kim:  Waiving from your home town, what do you miss about Maryland? What do you love about Pittsburgh?

Maggie:  I miss my sister, who still lives there! I wish she lived next door to me. I miss my childhood--Maryland is all about memories for me. I love Pittsburgh, with its hills and valleys and rusty bridges, and beautiful old houses and restaurants--there are a lot of excellent places to eat! Also, because of the rain, it's always so green here. I could do with more sunny days.

Kim: How or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Maggie: My writers group helped me tremendously! They critiqued multiple drafts of this novel and helped me to shape it into a better story. Also my agent, Brianne Johnson, never gave up on getting this novel into the right hands.

Kim: What inspired THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT? Where did you find research materials?

Maggie: In 2009, I wanted to write a multigenerational family saga about sisters lost and found (that was the original plan, anyway--it changed somewhat over the years to come!). I was in the early stages of figuring out the characters when I saw an article in the paper about President Obama honoring the Women Airforce Service pilots with Congressional Gold Medals after their contribution to the war effort had been ignored for so long. Suddenly I knew that my main character Mary's past involved flight, that she'd left her family to go serve during the war and fell in love before she disappeared. So I used to find out all I could about the WASPs, and I interviewed Women Airforce Service pilots Lucile Wise and Florence Shutsy-Reynolds, who answered my many questions about their time serving during WWII. I also read books, interviewed a commercial pilot, and watched YouTube videos from the 1940's about flight training for WWII cadets so I could imagine what it would feel like to step inside one of the aircraft and take off. I didn't have the guts to take a flight on a vintage plane myself!

Kim: What's next for Maggie Leffler?

Maggie: I'm still in my gathering-ideas phase for my next novel. My sons are lobbying for middle grade fiction about the adventures of two boys, and they have all sorts of very specific requests. I would also like to write more historical fiction woven with contemporary settings and characters.

WACs exercising at Ft. Crook

Mahalo, Maggie, for sharing THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT:  

This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.

Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.

Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.

As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways.

Check out the book trailer at this link.

I am giving away military swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment Pittsburgh - what do you know about the Steel City? I attended RT 2007 in Pittsburgh where we met WWII Army veteran George Small (left), Steely McBeam (middle), and Fabio (his hair is peaking over my husband on the right).

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 16, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 17.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


  1. I don't know much about it...

  2. I actually don't know anything about Pittsburgh.

  3. Never been there and I don't know much about it.

  4. My Mom was born in Pittsburgh. That's all I really know.
    I have been waiting for this book. I love, love stories like this. Thank you for the post and congrats toMaggie on her rsoon to be released The Secrets Of Flight.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  5. They have a great sandwich with everything but the kitchen sink in it. Home of the Steelers and Pirates.

  6. I have a friend who lives out side of Pittsburgh. They have a foot ball team.

  7. That's my city and I don't know where to begin since I know so much about it lol. It's known for it's friendly people, it's sports teams, hospitals, colleges, restaurants, parks, churches, ethnic areas, museums - we have it all :)

  8. I have only driven through the city!

  9. never visited Pittsburgh - isn't that where Flashdance was set?

  10. I know that there are a lot of Steelers fans!

  11. Ketcup steelers and steels are there
    Th Anka