An Interview with

Shawna Kelly,

Author of

 

AVIATORS IN

EARLY HOLLYWOOD

 

 Shawna Kelly's author press photo is courtesy of Jimmy Manos.
 
 

   

What was your inspiration for writing the book?

 

Throughout my life, I heard stories about the bravery and high flying achievements of my great grandfather “Daredevil” DeLay. He performed onscreen with classic comedy star Oliver Hardy, thriller queens, and in live exhibitions with legendary director Cecil B. DeMille and Charlie Chaplin’s family aviator crew. DeLay’s sabotage mystery and the other leading motion picture aviators “wings folding” (crashing) so young while performing has held back a significant amount of their heroic history from shining as brightly as it merits. The motion picture aviators were considered heavenly action heroes in their time.

 

How did you research the information for the book?

 

I researched my family’s collection of over 100 motion picture photos and nearly 90 articles about “Daredevil” B. H. DeLay. I also researched DeLay over several years through visiting museums and experts in Venice Beach and Hollywood, where he performed live aerial exhibitions as well as stunt flying and acting in over 50 motion pictures.

 

What will readers find interesting about the book?

 

The many rare thrill and epic motion picture photos, behind-the-scenes heroic displays of loyalty, as well as flying with wild chimpanzees and lions.  The real-life DeLay sabotage unsolved mystery is also a source of continuing intrigue.

 

What writing advice would you give to aspiring authors and historians?

 

Follow you natural passion with writing. Dig into your personal and local history. History is full of patterns of wisdom and connects all of us. My distant family member Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “In different hours, a [person] represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each [person’s] skin, --seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his [or her] life is.”

 

What lasting impact do you hope your book will leave?

 

To leave a lasting visual impact of daring examples of unity and the powerful high flying results of unification. We can also store in mind the deep loyalty and endurance of the aviator in the tough times ahead. The barnstorming and screen aviator’s passionate pursuit transcended the Great Depression and they became a classic image of heroic adventure.

 

 

 

 
How you want your book autographed:

 

 

 

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