Billie Bates grew up in Australia with unquenchable thirst for travel. After exploring the world as a VIP flight attendant for seven years, she finally settled in the quiet Midwest of the USA, where she now lives with her husband and two children.
Q & A with Billie Bates
How did you become a writer?
I started writing and entering short story competitions in my 20s. Eventually the desire to write a book led me to novel writing classes, which eventually led to the bizarre belief I could actually write an entire book. My focus for the past three years, however, has been screenwriting.
How did you come up with your title?
It was the working title for a screenplay I wrote inspired by the book. So, as a title, Private Air is boring, but functional!
They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
I love my cover! Oceana Garceau from the Editorial Department did mine, and I think she did a fabulous job.
What are you hoping readers take from your book?
I’m not going to pretend there’s a multitude of depth to this book. The goal was simply to offer readers a few hours escapism while lounging by the pool. It’s a fast paced read about two young (and somewhat silly) girls who learn the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, or that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
I loved writing the chapter when they first arrive in Saudi. It was fun trying to express the ‘Alice through the looking glass’ experience for Sienna after she’s catapulted into this opulent and culturally different world. Obviously it helped to be able to draw on personal experience!
Why did you feel you had to write this book?
I just felt Private Aviation was a fun and little known world that would make a fantastic backdrop for a Chick Lit novel.
Are you an avid or occasional reader? If so, what is your favorite genre of books?
I was an avid reader before children. My shelves were split evenly down the middle with Chick Lit on one side and Eastern-philosophy-with-a-contemporary-twist down the other. Ha ha. Did I just make up a genre? I’m referring to books such as Way of The Peaceful Warrior,The Celestine Prophecy, and the likes. Now I mostly read screenplays or Cat In The Hat books to my boys.
If you could interview one of your favorite authors, who would it be? Why?
I’d love to interview Karen McChulla Lutz. She wrote the Chick Lit novel The Bachelorette Party. But I won’t lie, I’d be drilling her on her screenwriting process and what it was like to be on the set of Legally Blonde!
If you could make a movie out of one of your books, which one would it be?
I actually write more screenplays than I do novels. The first script I ever wrote was the movie adaption of Private Air, but it really wasn’t movie worthy as is, so the script has since morphed into something quite different!
If I hadn’t been so keen to get my second novel out of my system, I might have rewritten Private Air (the book) to be more like the script. I just love the story of the script. Kind of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in tone and theme (learning to have roots and wings), with a healthy dose of romance. I’ve been drawing on this script for Catch a falling Czar, actually (Private Air 2). I really am a romantic at heart, even though you wouldn’t know it from my first book, which might appear more jaded toward love! 😉
What new projects are you working on?
I’m currently working on Catch a Falling Czar (Private Air 2), which is due out in November. Catch a Falling Czar is more of a straight up Rom Com, and it’s where Sienna more fully arcs as a character. She has glimpses of the shallowness of her world in Private Air, but she’s still intoxicated by the glitz and glamour of it all. But in book 2, love will save her. Well, I hope it does. I haven’t written the ending, yet. 😉
Where can readers find you?