Author Rhonda Colia shared with us at Blueprint Press Internationale her incredible journey and sources of inspiration in creating “The Crop Duster’s Daughter,” a memoir of her mother’s life as a pioneering woman. This book is a memoir of Rhonda Colia’s mother, a pioneer in crop dusting and crop spraying. A bold and fearless lady with a passion for defying the odds.
What made you write this book?
Rhonda Colia: My mother was born in 1918, and because this was such a unique and unusual area of vocation, I thought that people needed to know what a pioneer she was for crop dusting and crop spraying. I mean, there’s only a handful now. In fact, there’s only like 3,000 crop dusters in the United States.
It’s a very limited group, and I just thought, since she pioneered it, she built her own airplane. Ah! She was amazing. I had to get the word out.
How fun has this journey been for you to write this book?
Rhonda Colia: Oh! It’s been a hoot. Mixed emotions because I missed her, you know. She always made me laugh. She was always in for good pranks or good jokes. She really loved pranks, and she would always leave me silly little notes, you know. And I memorized one and got one published. A little poem. It’s been a journey of reminiscing and remembering closeups and personal journeys.
Did you have any desire to learn the skill that she had?
Rhonda Colia: I did…first, but I know how dangerous it is and the actual lifespan of a crop duster, when she was doing it, was only seven years. And she was a pilot and instructor for 34 years, and she was a crop duster for 29. So it tells you she had some serious skills.
What do people not know about Crop dusting that you talk about in the book?
Rhonda Colia: Well, I don’t go into a lot of detail in the book because I thought it might not be as interesting to them as it would be if I just told her life story. But, basically, when you are flying over that crop, you are about a foot off that crop, you’re spraying at a hundred and twenty miles an hour, and you do not have room for error. If the wheel caught the top of that crop, it’d be over in just a heartbeat. If you make a mistake coming up and you hit one of the powerlines, you need to go in an angle so that the crop will cut the wire instead of bouncing you back like a rubber band.