J M Pett studied Maths at the University of Bristol and gained a Diploma in Personnel Management while working for a major travel and transport company. After ten years as a self-employed management development consultant she retrained, gaining a Diploma in Earth Sciences from the Open University and a Masters Degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London. She then embarked on a policy research career, where she has many publications in topics relating to fuel poverty, energy efficiency in buildings, and climate change.
What's the story behind your latest book?
White Water Landings is based on my father's memories, stories he told us round the dinner table when we were kids. He worked for Imperial Airways in the 1930s, and as a young man was sent out to very isolated places in Africa, to set up landing sites for the new flying boat service. He practised his stories on us - I remember the one about the chicken in the ladies toilet very well, although he left out the one about finding a woman passenger in the bath that had been prepared for him - the water had to be carried miles up on to this plateau so it was a real treat for him!
The biggest story, which we never tired of hearing, was how he and my mother got together during the war. His side is fully presented in the book, and I've tried to do my mother's adventure justice, too.
There are lots of great pictures in the book, and whether you're a flying boat romantic like me, or a student of aviation or colonial history, I think you'll enjoy it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I think Smashwords is amazing, because of the access it gives us to stores other than Amazon. There are plenty of people who prefer to work through smaller companies, and share the love around, and I'm one of them. I really appreciate the pioneering work done by Smashwords, and they continue to innovate, which is great. Others may follow in three years time, but Mark Coker's great team will be ready with another advance by then.
The romance of pre-war air travel meets the romance of a man and a woman kept apart by war, in this memoir of a young man and his career in Africa with Imperial Airways. The book covers intriguing details of the Empire Flying Boat Service: commissioning of the 'boats; indiscretions of the passengers; the dangers of a herd of buffalo at night, and the bravery of exiles awaiting war-time transport.