NEW YORK -- A flight attendant who became a best-selling novelist released her second book this week.
T.J. Newman spent a decade working the air which was experience she put to great use for her debut novel, "Falling."
That book landed at the top of the best-seller list and now her second book, "Drowning," came out this week.
Newman's remarkable success is all the more sweet because it came after years of pursuing a dream that didn't pay off, followed by numerous rejections once she focused on writing. Now she is looking to inspire others to follow their dreams.
"The bar was set high with the success of my first book, and that pressure was real, it was very real and for a while it kept me from being able to fill up good pages because I was afraid," Newman said.
But what kept her going was an obligation to readers who bought so many copies of her first novel, which was written at her old job.
Her second was conceived on a night flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles.
"There's nothing out there for miles and hours every direction but water, and so the wheels in my head start turning, the way my brain works, and I start thinking, you know, 'what if something went wrong?'" Newman said.
"Drowning" is about an airliner forced to ditch.
"I just knew in every capacity: story wise, tension wise, emotion wise, heart wise, it had to be bigger," Newman said.
The future novelist was a theater major in college who once hoped to star on Broadway.
"And, you know, since we're not talking about my next Broadway show you can assume how that went," Newman said.
But her years living in Queens were not a total loss.
"You never learn more about yourself than a day spent in New York," she said.
Her dreams may have changed, but not the scale of her determination and she recently wrote a column to encourage her fellow dreamers.
"I wanted to reach them and say, 'look if I can do this, you can do this.'" Newman said. "I didn't have an in in publishing or the film industry, anywhere. I just kept going, and you just gotta keep going."
Movie rights to "Drowning" have already been sold, adding millions more to her bank balance, but Newman still lives in the same condo and drives the same car she had before fame came her way.
Her success may have come up in the air, but she remains very much down to Earth.