"I don't do these things for fun, you know. Getting my picture in the paper doesn't mean a thing to me anymore.
Come on up if you want to, but under two conditions, that you mention my latest book and that you don't print a roadmap for tourists to my front door. We left California for the San Juan Islands so I could get some work done without constant interruptions. I haven't had much luck yet, but it's an improvement."
This Ernest K. Gann, one of the most successful authors in America, submitted to what every successful man and woman faces frequently: requests for interviews during working hours.
The book Gann wanted mentioned, Song of the Sirens, an autobiographical sailing story, was formally released to the public on the day of this interview.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
It follows a series of successful novels on flying that invariably became best-sellers, were bought by book clubs and for condensations, and then were made into movies for which Gann wrote the screenplays. Still, on the release date of his new book, Gann appeared anxious about its reception.
Gann is at work on his next book, to be published two years from now. ('Publishers feel that a book every two years by a major author is often enough,') and it is another of the flying stories which have made him so famous.But his time is not devoted entirely to writing. If there is a formula for filling each day with some excitement, Gann surely must have it. Boredom and inaction are not in his vocabulary.
Gann is a man of many talents and interests: writer, flyer, sailor, painter, patriot, horseman, conservationist, husband and father, and farmer, all about which he speaks with a definite tone of voice and a great deal of wit.
An indication of his speed of mind and movement is indicated in the total time involved in taking the photograph and getting more information than space permits the use of. One hour from the time the writer and photographer arrived at his front gate, the meeting ended at the local airport and they were on their way downtown to a restaurant where one of Gann's oil paintings hangs in the bar.
Gann left them at the airport with a brief wave. Then he stopped his small car and shouted another story idea to them, snapped in the clutch, and headed over to the airport office, where he jumped out of the car and began talking to a friend. It probably was a short conversation; Gann rations his time in terms of minutes rather than hours or days."
Above text by writer Mr. Archie Satterfield (1933-2011)
Seattle Times, Sunday 10 November 1968.
Few men have lived a life of such challenge and adventure as Ernest K. Gann, the best selling Fate is the Hunter, he recounted the many years of his flying career as a professional airline pilot. Song of the Sirens is the story of the shops he has sailed and owned, of his years as master of a commercial fishing vessel on the Pacific coast, of ocean crossings in all manner of craft and of storms and emergencies encountered at sea. Most of all this is the story of Gann's most beloved vessels, the seventeen sirens, for the beautiful 117-ton brigantine Albatros to the incredible Butterfly. Charles J. Doane, former editor of Cruising World, has provided a new introduction for this edition.
Book search here:
Song of the Sirens
A few months prior to his death 19 Decemeber 1991, E. K. Gann made his last flight on the 50th anniversary of his promotion to flight captain at American Airlines.
2003, 9 July:
Governor Gary Locke awarded the Medal of Merit (the state's highest honor) to Gann.
Archie Satterfield lived in the Pacific Northwest for many years working as a reporter, then editor and columnist, for several newspapers, one being the Enetai, a magazine for riders of the Washington State Ferries.
He authored over 40 books published by national and regional publishers, including Workboats with Walt Crowley. Some of Satterfield's books were in print for over 30 years. His last home was on Whidbey Island, WA.
Satterfield, Archie. Workboats, An Illustrated Guide to Work Vessels from Bristol Bay to San Diego.