Friday, August 6, 2021

Vicki Cody Interview - Fly Safe


Photo Content from Vicki Cody 

Vicki Cody grew up in Burlington, Vermont and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1975, with a BS degree in education. For the next 33 years she was an Army wife, supporting her husband in his career. While raising their two sons and moving all over the United States and overseas, she served as a coach and mentor for Army spouses and as an advocate for Army families.

She is the author of “Your Soldier, Your Army…A Parents’ Guide” published by the Association of the United States Army in 2005. Her articles have appeared in numerous military magazines and publications. This is her first memoir.

She and her husband of forty years live in the Washington, DC area.

    
  


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My most rewarding experience since being published is hearing from people of all walks of life, who not only enjoyed reading my book, but got it and took away something from it. I write memoir about Army life from the perspective of a spouse and also the mother of two soldiers, so I enjoy hearing from military men and women who say that I tell their story well. It is really gratifying to hear from civilian readers who knew little about military life before reading my book but gained a new understanding and perspective after reading my book.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Army life influenced my writing. Being an Army wife for 33 years was a roller coaster ride to say the least. It was filled with highs and lows, ups and downs, exciting places, interesting people, and many joys and blessings mixed in with challenges and stress. So many times along the way, it was like I was silently recording it all in my head just waiting for the time and the opportunity to put it all in writing. I felt an overwhelming need to share my story and experiences for others to relate to or to gain strength and validation from.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I grew up in Vermont and went to college there so will always have strong ties to Vermont. Being married to an Army guy and living all over the country and overseas, we sometimes didn’t know where to call home. When my husband retired, we settled in the DC/ northern Virginia area and we feel like this is “home.”

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
From a young age, I had an urge to write, but I never dreamed I would actually do it until late in life. Army life afforded me the opportunity. I often tell people that the events of September 11, 2001 were what started me down this path to writing. For those of us with a loved one in the military, September 11, was a huge turning point. My husband was still on active duty and our sons were just beginning their Army careers. Just months after the terrorist attacks, our oldest son deployed to Afghanistan. And so began a cycle of deployments for our family and in the coming years, our sons would be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times; twice they served in the same unit in Iraq. I needed an outlet to help me cope with the stress so I began writing and ended up writing a book for Army families. Helping others cope the stress of combat deployments helped me get through the tough times. I loved how it made me feel; knowing that my writing was helping others. That book then led me to write my first memoir, Army Wife: A Story of Love and Family in the Heart of the Army. That book led me to write Fly Safe.

Can you tell us when you started FLY SAFE, how that came about?
Every time I stumbled upon the box of letters my husband wrote to me during Desert Storm, I had a feeling there was a story there. I began writing it in August 2019 with an idea, an outline, my journals, and the ninety-four letters. My goal was to finish this book in one year. And then the Covid 19 pandemic hit and we were all forced to stay at home for all those months. With fewer distractions, no travelling, and endless quiet time I was able to reach my goal and I finished the actual writing in August 2020.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope readers get a new perspective and maybe an appreciation for those who serve in the military and for the spouses and families who stand beside them. I hope they gain an understanding of the first Gulf War and I hope they enjoy the ride I take them on and feel the adrenalin rush of the combat zone and what it is like for the families back home. And ultimately, this is a love story, so I hope they feel the love between two people separated by distance but connected by their love and commitment to each other.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing FLY SAFE?
I had not reread my husband’s letters in almost 30 years so when I sat down and reread all ninety-four letters, I was blown away by his devotion to me and our two sons. In every letter, he expressed his love and his pride for me and he was so appreciative for what I was handling and dealing with back home.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I didn’t have any distractions while writing this book.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Anything that is outside of your comfort zone that you might not ordinarily do; something that makes you feel special or that you can accomplish anything. I got my private’s pilots license at the age of 32 with two small kids at home.

Best date you've ever had?
The best first date was the one with the boy I would one day marry. It was the summer of 1969 and we went to the drive-in movies to see Romeo and Juliet.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I would choose true love with a guarantee of heart break over never have been loved.

TEN REASONS TO READ FLY SAFE
  • 1. You will laugh.
  • 2. You will cry.
  • 3. You will get to know Vicki, her husband Dick, and their sons, Clint and Tyler in an intimate way.
  • 4. You will cheer Vicki on as she navigates the challenges of her husband’s deployment.
  • 5. You will be on the edge of your seat when Dick and his pilots go on their mission to fire the first shots of the Gulf War.
  • 6. You will remember the patriotism in our country during that time.
  • 7. You will wait right alongside Vicki for the letters and the sporadic phone calls from Dick.
  • 8. You will have a front row seat to the unfolding history of the first Gulf War.
  • 9. You will gain an appreciation for the men and women who serve this nation and their families.
  • 10. You will feel relief when Dick and his soldiers return from war.
Favorite quotes/scenes from Fly Safe
“Sometimes you reach a point where there is nothing left to say. Every part of you is telling you to hang on a bit longer, but at the same time you know what you need to do: let go gracefully. It is the right thing to do.

I did not want my last conversation with Dick, regardless of the outcome, to involve me whining or crying about the situation at hand. Whatever he is up to, he needs to be completely focused, with no excess baggage from me. For the record, I stepped up to the plate that day, in a big way. I did it for Dick, but I also did it for me. I needed to know that when things got tough, I could be counted on.”

“The next morning, as Dick and his two teams flew over the sprawling tent city that was home to the eighteen thousand soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, those on the ground were oblivious to the history-making aviators on their way to the division’s next [rendezvous with destiny.] if they heard the hum of the blades and looked up to the sky, they saw nothing out of the ordinary. Hundreds of aircraft flew into and out of KFIA daily. There was nothing to clue them in to what was different about that particular formation of helicopters and what was going to take place in a matter of days. It was just another day, just another flight of helicopters going out for some training. And that was exactly what Dick wanted them to think.”


It is August 1990, and Iraq has just invaded Kuwait, setting off a chain reaction of events leading up to the first Gulf War. Vicki Cody’s husband, the commander of an elite Apache helicopter battalion, is deployed to Saudi Arabia—and for the next nine months they have to rely on written letters in order to stay connected.

From Vicki’s narrative and journal entries, the reader gets a very realistic glimpse of what it is like for the spouses and families back home during a war, in particular what it was like at a time when most people did not own a personal computer and there was no Internet—no iPhones, no texting, no tweeting, no Facetime. Her writing also illuminates the roller coaster of stress, loneliness, sleepless nights, humor, joys, and, eventually, resilience, that make up her life while her husband is away. Meanwhile, Dick’s letters to her give the reader a front row seat to the unfolding of history, the adrenaline rush of flying helicopters in combat, his commitment to his country, and his devotion to his family back home. Together, these three components weave a clear, insightful, and intimate story of love and its power to sustain us.
You can purchase Fly Safe at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you VICKI CODY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Fly Safe by Vicki Cody.
jbnpastinterviews

5 comments:

  1. When I was in High School I thought it was Math or French. Now I wouldn't mind knowing a bit more of both.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Higher math courses for anybody not going into a field that would need/use them.

    ReplyDelete