Dorcey Alan Wingo – The Rise and Fall of Captain Methane

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My most recent book is called The Rise and Fall of Captain Methane. This is my autobiography of over 370 pages, chronicling my aerial adventures and misadventures.

I fell in love with flying as a kid in a tiny town in Texas. My flying career took off as a young chopper pilot in Vietnam, evolving into that of a commercial aviator, mountain rescue pilot, fire fighter, movie pilot, logging pilot, and public figure. I’ve enjoyed freedom in a way few Americans ever have, as this bares-all memoir will attest.

Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up the youngest in a school teacher’s family of six. My parents moved every few years to try and keep up with raising teachers’ salaries. We lived in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico before I came of age and was drafted into service for Vietnam. I enlisted in the US Army for the opportunity to learn to fly, and the military gave me the training. My first wife left me while I served as a combat chopper pilot with the Fourth Infantry Division. My second wife and I have been married for over 34 years. We have three children and two grandchildren. We are retired and live in southern California.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was indicted as one of five defendants in the infamous “Twilight Zone the Movie” trial in 1986, the time came for me to take the stand, which lasted four days. During an early recess, an L.A. newspaper reporter sought me out and said, “You should write a book!” I knew nothing about writing, but I took his suggestion to heart.

How did you choose the title?

The title arose from being a commercial chopper pilot, where one climbs (rises) and descends (falls) many times a day. Noting that there are a few existing books that began the same way, I knew it would be easy to remember. It also summed up my career!

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Self-publishing is easier the second time around? Possibly, but I needed three long years of working with my patient editor before we were ready to submit the ms. Financing was difficult, but there was an encouraging submission of advance book sales. Ten long, frustrating months later, my book was published by Outskirts Press.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I never had the patience for writing until I got to my first duty assignment in Bangkok Thailand. The office I worked in had an old typewriter, and I found my fingers were strangely at home on the machine. Before I knew what happened, I wrote a two-page, single-spaced letter home, rife with my feelings about the Vietnam war, patriotism, protesters, etc: things and details that I wouldn’t have written about – had I pen in hand.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I like to write at least thirty minutes a day, and the time of day isn’t important. Many stories jump out in an hour or so, but at times I spend many hours thinking about a story or how best to tell it, before I write the first word. Fiction is easier for me, frankly – but I make my bed in nonfiction.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

By publishing this book, I learned I had written a page-turner without ever knowing it. My editor and I were both fatigued from the process of editing such a tome and our senses were dulled as to its reception by the critics. Imagine how pleased we were to receive an EVVY Award for autobiographical works in 2011!

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

If I had it to do again, I would have more color photos and illustrations in lieu of the black and whites.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

My favorite writers are guys like Luis LaMour and Larry McMurtry, although I tend to read nonfiction, biographies, etc. Wanderer by Stirling Hayden is a favorite. Westerns are easy to fall into, and I enjoy a good fist-fight and bringing justice to the bad guys. The misunderstood maverick seems to stroke my alter ego.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Book number three is under way, over half done. There will be more of what got me here: heli-logging stories, good guys, bad guys; fishing stories from childhood you won’t believe; helicopter entrepreneurs whom I’d like to strangle, and several tales from Vietnam involving very brave pilots under fire. Some made it home, some didn’t. They are my heros. All this and more in Captain Methane and his Finely Feathered Friends.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

My advice to anyone who wonders whether or not they should consider writing to be published is this: While working my first book, I was involved in dangerous helicopter work on a daily basis. More than once, I realized I lucked out and could have been killed had anything gone differently. I had flashes of headlines involving my death and the revelation that I had been working on a book that would never be published. That spurred me on to finish Wind Loggers, the first (nonfiction) book ever – about helicopter logging.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The perfect reader for my book would be any mature, bi-lingual adult who likes biographies, enjoys flying; adventure lovers; seekers of intellectual stimulation. Military veterans, world travelers, school teachers, professional motorcycle racers, business owners, off-shore pilots, mountain climbers, drug smugglers, cops and fry cooks alike will absolutely love one chapter of this book or another. That is my promise.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Both of my books are available at Amazon.