Hello Claire, it’s lovely to fly over the pond to see you since I’m quite partial to zooming off to new places. You’ve invited me to write about a favourite scene in one of my novels, so I’m going to tell your readers about a dangerous little floatplane trip which occurs in my contemporary romantic mystery Take Me Now.
In Take Me Now, Nairn Malcolm has a head office base in London, but he spends some of his time at his home, a recently restored small castle, on the island of Lanera. For the novel, I invented the island of Lanera as next to Mull and opposite Oban on the west coast of Scotland. Nairn would normally be flying his floatplane himself but just before the story opens, he’s been involved in a mysterious motorbike accident near Loch Lomond. The extent of his injuries mean he has to temporarily employ someone to fly his floatplane, and his jet, to get him to his business venues. In comes Aela Cameron, a feisty lass from Vancouver, Canada, who is employed to ferry Nairn around the globe and help him with all sorts of other little tasks while he’s a bit incapacitated.
Aela’s a very competent pilot, even better than Nairn is, but sometimes the weather, and other circumstances, can make flying just a wee tad hazardous.
My favourite scene is this one:
Returning from a trip to London, Aela flies Nairn’s small jet into Glasgow after which they then board his floatplane for the shorter hop northwards to Lanera. Unfortunately, billowing clouds of dense black smoke from a local warehouse fire mean Aela is only given clearance to take off if she makes a huge detour to avoid the slowly drifting pall of smoke. Aela’s not fazed at all by that since it means she gets to see a bit more of Scotland from the low floatplane height. However, by the time she’s made the huge deviation the weather has quickly worsened in the Inner Hebrides. As she approaches Lanera battling the driving wind and rain is a major and potentially deadly challenge in the tiny craft.
Aela’s not worried about her piloting skills but she’s never had anyone on board with an injury list like Nairn already has. She’s very concerned about all of his broken bits— ribs; leg and arm. Nairn knows he wouldn’t have been experienced enough to fly in such conditions and is so very enamoured of his temporary employee’s fabulous expertise. He quite fancies her before this trip but he likes her a lot better afterwards! Aela’s had plenty of experience back in Vancouver, Canada and handles everything with grit, determination and aplomb.
I’ve been asked what made me think of this part of the plot for Take Me Now which I really enjoyed writing.
In 2010, along with eight other members of my family, I experienced something similar though the horrendously bad weather off the west coast in Take me Now is totally fabricated!
A trip in a 9-seater seaplane had been booked for months but it had been cancelled twice due to adverse weather conditions. Scotland’s weather is a wee bit notorious for that so I was delighted to get the call from the tour operator that the trip would go ahead on the third try.
On the Saturday morning in early June, we assembled at the Glasgow dockside next to The Science Centre to find that the weather wasn’t likely to be much of a problem. You can maybe imagine that we had massive smiles all around but they were immediately dashed when the pilot then told us that there was a lockdown on flights going in and out of the nearby Glasgow International Airport, which lies only a few miles away. This was due to a raging inferno in a disused Victorian-built warehouse to the west of the airport, and the resulting billowing black clouds of dense smoke were blanketing the area. Air Traffic Control had banned all flights till further notice. After a half hour of me biting my nails at the dockside—since I was the one co-ordinating our weekend holiday—the pilot declared that he had clearance for our trip but only if he took a circuitous route to avoid the dense pall of smoke. The permission was only given because the seaplane taxied out onto the water from Pacific Quay on the River Clyde in Glasgow and not from the airport itself. The pilot had to do some fancy manoeuvres once into the air to bank away from the cloying smoke, all the while reassuring us that all was well with his piloting.
We were the only plane in the air that morning near the River Clyde!
The northward flight to Oban was brilliant and we were only slightly affected by the clouds of smoke. We did hit some low rain clouds as you can see in my photo of Loch Long near Inverary Castle but the flight was only a little bit juddery! Imagination did the rest for Take Me Now.
Bio: Nancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time Travel Series). All historical eras are enticing and ancestry research a lovely time-suck. She regularly blogs and loves to have guests visit her blog. Facebook is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds. Grandchild-minding takes up a few (very long) days every week and any time left is for reading, writing and watching news on TV( if lucky).
Find Nancy at the following places
About Me https://about.me/nancyjardine
Rubidium Time Travel Series on Facebook http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG