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About Bobbi

Bobbi Phelps Chapman grew up in Connecticut, forty miles from New York City.  She became a flight attendant after working as a legal secretary in San Francisco.

In 1967 Bobbi travelled solo around the world for four months and returned to complete her education at the University of California, Berkeley. She then rejoined the airline industry. After six years as a flight attendant taking troops in an out of Vietnam and vacationers to Europe and the Orient, she and her husband travelled from New Zealand, to the British Isles, and finally to Africa where she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

With a degree in art history, Bobbi worked as a photographer and copywriter. From knowledge gained by her employment at Sierra Designs, she started the Angler’s Calendar and Catalog Company in 1975. The calendars sold to thirty foreign countries and her business won Exporter of the Year for the State of Idaho (1993 small company category).

Bobbi was a twenty-year member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, an Arnold Gingrich writing award recipient with Fly Fishers International, and a nine-year Idaho board member to The Nature Conservancy. She continues to write periodic travel series in The Connection, a Lenoir City newspaper in Tennessee.

Bobbi was past President and is currently Chair of the Retail Committee for the Authors Guild of Tennessee. As the author of six books, she gives numerous book presentations throughout the United States.



Interview by Katie Elyce Jones and Bobbi Phelps Wolverton March 2015. Enjoy!


Interview with Bobbi

How did you come to write Behind the Smile during the Glamour Years of Aviation?

As a flight attendant, I always told tales about my international adventures when I returned to the States. The listeners constantly encouraged me to write a book. I joined a memoir class at our local library and learned how to put those harrowing stories into the written word.

Where did you get the title?

When we were going through flight attendant training, we were encouraged to always smile. Our airline wanted their passengers to have pleasant experiences, and we were to show them that we were happy and accommodating on every flight. Behind the scenes of a flight attendant during those wonderful years of working in the air, however, were not always as they seemed. Some incidents were impressive and extravagant while others were terrifying and shocking.

Tell us about your next book

My next book is titled, Life’s Too Short. It’s a creative nonfiction memoir about my 18-month trip around the world: backpacking, flyfishing, and exploring. Some of my experiences included climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, having my hand threatened to be cut off in Iran, and being charged by a lion in South Africa. During this venture, I also flyfished from Lapland above the Arctic Circle to the tip of New Zealand’s South Island and most places in between.

Where can one buy Behind the Smile?

Behind the Smile is available from Amazon, at some Barnes and Noble locations, and (for a signed copy) from my website. It is also available as an eBook on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Apple iBooks, Copia, Baker & Taylor, Gardner, eSentral, Scribd, and PagePusher.

What My Readers Say

Jane D Toupin
Twin Falls, Idaho
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Captures the essence of the era…our adventures and our innocence....

Kathy Kane
Flight Attendant Kathy Kane, Trans International Airways
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Life on the other side of the smile was an education worth more than money could buy....

Peter Friedman
Captain, United Airlines
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Well written by a pioneer in aviation’s infancy. Recommend reading about living life from a mile high....

Paula Moore
Captain U.S. Navy (ret.)
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Delivered on its promise of sex, humor, and terror as encountered on flights during the 1970's....

Cheryl Peyton
Author, Murder on Bedford Island
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Shocking stories about passengers and crews....

Johnny Wiseman
Captain, World Airways
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A must read for anyone with a love of life. Humorous, heartwarming, and exciting. A page turner....

Carla Schulte Reinking
- Flight Attendant , Saturn Airways
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Gripping tales of intense flights and outrageous passengers...

Jerry Sedik
-Captain, American Airlines
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