Celebrate International Women’s Day With Author Backstories
Happy International Women’s Day! We’re here to celebrate women’s achievements, not just on the page, but the authors behind some of your favorite books as well. Every week, you can expect a look at the origins of some of our authors. This week, we’re kicking things off with Cindy Dees!
Readers know Cindy Dees as the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 50 romantic suspense, thriller and epic fantasy novels, but did you know she was the youngest female pilot in US Air Force history and a spy for military intelligence?
As an Air Force pilot, Cindy flew supersonic jets and the massive C-5 cargo plane—one of the world’s largest planes—and was the first (and only) woman pilot in every squadron in which she flew. She experienced the thrills of supersonic flight, formation flying, dogfighting, acrobatics and low-level flying as well as moments of sheer natural beauty the likes of which few people get to see—seven-eight mile-high views of the heavens and earth during sunrise and sunset, the aurora borealis, the stars out in the middle of the ocean at night, smoking volcanos, thunderstorms over Africa and more. She also found great fulfillment in missions assisting those in dire circumstances—bringing food to people in the middle of a famine, hauling hay to farmers during a drought or delivering the first water, food and first aid to an area hit by a hurricane or earthquake. Fluent in Russian, Cindy often flew as an escort pilot on Russian diplomatic flights to gather intelligence for the Air Force, which explains how she came to be arrested by the Stasi (the East German secret police) and detained by the KGB.
Cindy started writing after she left the Air Force but had to wait seven years, until her security clearances expired, before submitting any manuscripts. While on assignment flying or spying, she didn’t see any particular glory or excitement in the job, but after she’d been out of the cockpit awhile, she realized that it had been an extraordinary ride and began to dip into her own experiences in her novels. It certainly lends authenticity to stories about Navy SEALS when you’ve flown them in the back of your C-5 for a year while they experimented with airdrops and jumps. When pressed, Cindy admits that she misses flying hot jets; however, she’ll also tell you that the excitement of plotting an edge-of-your-seat suspense story fully makes up for it!
For more information, please visit her website at cindydees.com.