Myriam Huser, pilot, humanitarian and author on how writing helped her learn more about herself and why she encourages everyone to JUST GO FOR IT!
I never wanted to fit into what was normally expected of a woman; I chose to chase my dreams instead.Myriam Huser, author of They Called Me Sky Hunter
Myriam Huser is an incredibly skilled pilot and a talented storyteller – ask her about the time she was detained in Sudan while on a humanitarian aid mission; or, what it was like to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. She’s also a nature photographer and videographer. Recently, Myriam added ‘author’ to her list of titles and experience. They Called Me Sky Hunter, her new memoir about her adventures as one of the first women bush pilots, was published earlier this summer. Since then, she’s received countless reviews praising her book. She’s also had some fun interactions with the media. While being interviewed by Calgary morning radio hosts, Sue and Andy, she was told that, “she makes Indiana Jones look like a librarian!”
We caught up with Myriam to see how things have been going in her new adventure as an author. She shares her reflections and advice, and a couple of entertaining stories from her new book for Tellwell’s August author of the month feature. Enjoy the read!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Who am I? Sometimes I wonder myself, haha. I was born in the Swiss Alps and I immigrated to Canada in my twenties. I never really stayed put as my aviation career kept taking me across the globe.
Most people see me as a strong independent woman. I see myself mostly as a shy introvert who is simply living her life as she wants. I do realize that my life is not an ordinary life, but to me, it’s just my normal life. I never wanted to fit into what was normally expected of a woman; I chose to chase my dreams instead.
What inspired you to write They Called Me Sky Hunter?
Being aware that my life has been one big adventure that most people would never experience, I felt the need to share it. I wrote it, in part, to inspire anyone who has a dream but doubts if they can realize it. I’m hoping it will give those people the little push to get started. I also wanted to write it for those who cannot pursue their dreams, for whatever different reasons.
I wanted to take people on a journey where they can escape to far away lands and experience extraordinary adventures through the stories in my book.
Personally, it also gives me an extra sense of accomplishment, the feeling that everything I have done won’t be forgotten as if it never mattered.
Your book is full of incredible adventures that take us from Baghdad to Darfur to Sudan; from Uganda to Algeria; from the South of France to British Columbia. You’ve lived such a full life! Is there a particular story that you’re excited for readers to discover from your book?
Yes, there is. The time spent in Eastern Chad working as a humanitarian pilot was the most fulfilling of my life. I experienced so much there, and saw and learned more than I ever could have imagined. There were so many extraordinary adventures that kept coming one after the other, so much that I often feel like it was almost impossible that all this happened in only the span of two years.
What were some of the more significant lessons you learned from writing and publishing a book?
It’s a process that at first seemed impossible, not really knowing where to start. But with the professional support I have been given by Tellwell, it all came into place one step at a time. Seeing what felt at first like a daunting process became clearer and clearer. It was the most incredible feeling to see it all finally put together as a finished product.
On a personal level, as an author, the process of writing my story was also, in a sense, a way to learn more about myself. It even allowed me to make peace with certain events of my life as I was writing them, almost as a therapeutic healing process.
What advice do you have for young authors considering self-publishing a book?
Just GO FOR IT! It’s one of the best experiences you will have and you are not alone in it. There’s a lot of options out there, so do your own homework and research to find what will best fit your needs. I personally chose Tellwell after being given good recommendations about their service, but also because their packages corresponded to what I needed. The whole process has been fantastic, with a great team behind me who worked hard alongside me to bring this book to life.
How have you been promoting your book so far, and what are you looking forward to next for marketing your book?
I have a pretty good presence on social media, especially on Instagram (@husermimi). So I regularly promote it on my stories there and on my feed once in a while, in between my regular outdoors and adventures related posts.
I also promote it on my LinkedIn page where it’s more related to my aviation career and followed by many aviators who I have worked with over the past years. I was thrilled to see such great responses from so many of them. I’m sure they all discovered new things about me – in real life I’m more of a quiet person and usually don’t over share a lot about my personal life.
Some of them are in turn talking about it around them and trying to find ways to help promote it in their region. And what’s exciting is that it happens on every continent as I worked with people from all over the world. I’m looking forward to seeing how far it will go in a snowball effect.
One specific comment I have received multiple times is, “It would make a great movie.” What an extraordinary thing it would be to see my story on a screen one day. I know that dreams do come true, so you never know!
Who would play you if your book was turned into a movie?
I would say someone who has an adventurous mindset and is not afraid of anything. Someone who is willing to push the boundaries, strong headed but someone who is joyful, sensitive and always smiling no matter what, because this is how I am.
Tell us about the success you’ve been having with your book. Don’t be shy:)
I was invited for an interview on the “Mornings” with Sue and Andy show (Myriam comes in at the 16:25 mark) on 770 CHQR Radio in Calgary. They introduced me with the biggest compliment I’ve ever heard by saying that “I make Indiana Jones look like a librarian,” hahaha. That was the most beautiful comment.
I love reading about women who take on great adventures. The author’s love of flying and adventure are paramount in her life and in this story. This adventure is not for everyone and that makes it fascinating for someone like me to read. Living in one country, working in another for months, sometimes not working at all for long periods of time, the uncertainty would give me anxiety, yet she powered through because of her passion. I liked the bits of personal history woven through the story and how those relationships shaped her life. A great read!Amazon Reader Review
What’s next for you?
That is “the” question I’m asking myself too. Since the start of the Covid crisis I’ve been unable to find work as a pilot, and I definitely miss that along with all the adventures.
I have a few ideas and am working on getting myself back into a cockpit to do what I love most, and if all goes well by the end of next year I might be able to do so. Only time will tell.
All I know is that I need something that gives me excitement in what I do. I get bored too easily when I stay put and this past year has been emotionally difficult in that sense. Luckily I live close to nature and I can fulfill some of this need for adventures in the great outdoors of Western Canada.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to recognize the amazing talent of Cristina Ruiz De Castaneda who is the painter of the beautiful image on my book cover. The original photo the painting is based on was taken while I was working in the Sahara in Algeria in 2008. It was the middle of summer, the heat midday was sometimes reaching 50 degrees Celsius and the only reprieve from it was finding a little shade under the wing of my aircraft while I was waiting for the passengers to arrive.
You can learn more about They Called Me Sky Hunter at mimihuser.com.