The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Darwin to Aboriginal/European parents and then raised in Grafton on the North Coast of NSW. I went to school in Grafton and university in Sydney.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
I was addicted to the show LA Law when I was 12 and I always wanted to be a lawyer. I thought being a lawyer involved walking around in glamorous outfits, pointing your finger and winning arguments.
When I was 18, I still wanted to be a lawyer and actually went off to UNSW to study, but mostly at 18 I wanted to be able to be openly gay and living my life. When I was 30, I was travelling all over the world and I really wanted to write a book or make television documentaries.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At 18 I saw the world as black and white and I thought that if I was intelligent that it would combat everything and I concentrated on study. As I got older and had a more world persective, I realised study was important but life experience and travel was equally important and that the world wasn’t necessarily black and white.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
In my family life, my father died when I was a young adult and my brother and sister were still very young (at school) and my mother was thrust in the position of being a single parent over night. It taught me, very early on that life isn’t to be taken for granted and is fragile.
In my career, after September 11 happened, I saw the whole world as we knew it transformed and the innocence and freedom we had enjoyed was no longer. Everyone was more cautious and cultures and people all became sceptical of each other.
In reading, the book that most effected me was April Fool’s Day. It was written at the height of the AIDS epidemic and it was such a beautiful love story. It really opened my eyes and very closely after came the life changing movie, Philadelphia.
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?
Call me a traditionalist but I love books. There is nothing quite like thumbing through a book and taking it with you to the park or a bar or on the train or PLANE with you. When I finish a book, it usually has red wine stains and coffee stains and dog ears throughout.
Also, a book is something to keep forever and it is such an achievement and honour to be published.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
My latest book is called Confessions of a QANTAS Flight Attendant and it documents my career as a flight attendant from the beginning through to leaving just recently. Throughout the book, I address things that shaped my career and the flying world such as September 11, Mumbai bombings and the anthrax terrorism in the UK. I walk you through the different destinations that I flew to and show you my adventures, good and bad. There is my accession into being a first class flight attendant and meeting all of the celebrities such as Katy Perry, Russell Brand, Lily Allen, Cate Blanchett, Princess Anne and Venus Williams, to name but a few.
Intersecting this story is my recovery from a severe, life-changing injury in which I broke my back and had to learn to walk again and make the long road back to being an International Flight Attendant.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
It would be poverty and or terminal disease. I have been to some places where there is such extreme poverty such as Africa and India and to see mothers begging for some unpolluted water for their babies or people laying in tips and children in orphanages, it’s just heartbreaking. I would change that and equal out the system for everyone and medicine and hygiene available to all.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
I would say that I most admire Nelson Mandela. He was a freedom fighter and always fought for what he believed in (and what I believe in), which is equality. When he got into power he treated his captors with dignity and respect and set out to heal and educate. He was considered a terrorist at the time because his ideas and intelligence placed him well outside the bell curve (which important people don’t like) and he changed not only South Africa but the world. I thank my lucky stars for him, every day.
I want to have my own talk show, similar to Graham Norton’s interviewing all of the fabulous stars and more from my book and I want to write another book/movie! I’d also like to pursue a luxury travel show and work on something similar to Getaway.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Know your story well and how it will unfold. Also know who your audience (or main audience). Target the right publisher and then build your brand alongside your book. Your social media and press is as important as the book itself.
If you get knocked back, don’t be disheartened – ask why and look for ways to improve it. Go away and take the advice.
Most of all be true to yourself and enjoy it.
Owen, thank you for playing.
by Owen Beddall
Want to know what really goes on on an aeroplane? Let’s go behind the scenes and fly high with these tall tales and gossip from the galley! Everyone wants to be a flight attendant, or at least they want to know about the cushy lifestyle they lead – flying to exotic destinations, swanning about in five-star hotels, daytime lazing around the pool and night-time tabletop dancing with Bollywood stars. At last the lid is lifted. Come on board a real airline with a real flight attendant and find out what really goes on.
In Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant – True Tales and Gossip from the Galley, Owen Beddall dishes the dirt – he tells you the things you always wanted to know (and maybe a few things you didn’t) about the glamorous world of flying.
This book is packed with cabin crew adventures and misadventures in and out of that smart uniform in far flung places. There’s sex, drugs and lots of celebrity gossip; Katy Perry, Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue, Venus Williams and Cate Blanchett – are all in the galley having a gossip with Owen. Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant is a hilariously bumpy ride around the world with a very funny man.