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USGNN Original StoryGlass Group CEO Wayne Harding Talks About Writing His First Novel

"The glass business is in my blood," says Wayne Harding, the 87-year old founder of Glass Group Inc. in Boulder, Colo. Both his father and grandfather were also in the glass industry; in 1918 the family started Harding Glass Co. in Fort Smith, Ark. But Harding's work experience also spans beyond the glass industry. After graduating from Princeton he and Bill Millar were hired by Dick Burroughs, chief test pilot at Chance Vought Aircraft, as World War II Navy pilots in 1946.

"Princeton guys don't like to get their hands dirty," Harding remembers with a laugh.

But within those first two years, both Burroughs and Millar lost their lives, and this lead Harding to ask over and over, why?

"I felt that evil had some part in taking their lives because these guys were tremendous," Harding says.

Now, Harding has published his first novel, His Edge, a semi-autobiographical book about a young Navy pilot before and after becoming a civilian test pilot. Harding took some time this morning to talk with™ about his experience writing his first novel.

Q. What made you decide to write this book?

About 20 years ago I started thinking about [what happened to Burroughs and Millar] … and I had always liked writing, so I started [working on the book]. And I wrote and wrote and revised … but what I was missing was the guidance of an editor. Then about a year or two ago I had a bout with pneumonia and after I was OK [my kids encouraged me to finish the book]. My daughter, who was a high school teacher, became my editor and she made some revisions and really turned this into a beautiful story

The last revision, I finished it last spring, is [what was published]. Since it's semi-autobiographical my kids keep asking, 'hey is this guy you?' and I say I'm not telling you anything!

Q. What's been the most exciting part about writing this book?

First, you're not used to being the center of attention, like at this signing we did last week in Denver. I outline why I wrote the book and then people ask questions … I'm having the time of my life and I'm 87 years old.

Q. What other books have you published?

In 1982 I wrote a book called The Extra 2% That Makes Sales Happen. We're selling it as a sidekick to this one.

Q. Do you plan on doing anymore writing?

I don't know. I have a sequel in my head, but it really is a lot of work. You have to be sure of what you're doing and I would hate to write a book without an objective.

A lot of what's in this book … there are principles in the characters that I want my children and grandchildren to see and be. You can talk [to kids] for 20 years and not be able to get across a certain principle to them, but a novel can cover it and it gets across to them.

But this past year has been an extremely wonderful experience. I feel that this book has meaning for anyone.

Q. How much time did writing the book take you away from the glass business?

I didn't let writing the book keep me away from it. I'd write for two or three hours in the evenings and it would help take my mind off of things. It was therapy for me.

CLICK HERE to read more about Wayne Harding's new book.

Wayne Harding (above) has recently written a novel titled His Edge about a young Naval pilot. The book is semi-autobiographical about Harding's own expereinces as a World War II Naval pilot, during which he tested the Corsair.

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