Saluting Military Heroes and Heroines

In honor of Memorial Day and the brave men and women who serve, we asked Harlequin authors o share some special messages about writing military characters and the real-life heroes and heroines who inspire them.

Anne Marsh, author of Daring Her SEAL (Uniformly Hot! series, Harlequin Blaze):

“While the military men in my books are invented, their heroic qualities are not. The vets I’ve met have made an indelible impression on me: a vet panhandling for food money in San Francisco because his monthly rent consumes his disability check; my father-in-law, who serviced aircraft on the edges of the Vietnamese jungle; a marine-turned-cop busting drug dealers in gritty Orange County, California; a Russian literature professor ducking under the classroom table during an earthquake because the quake’s rumble sounds like WWII gunfire. And when I commute into San Francisco, the train takes me past a grassy hill in Lafayette. Ten years ago, the hill was empty; now, thousands of white crosses proliferate, each cross representing a life lost in the Iraq War. While Memorial Day is a time to remember those losses, every day is a good day to celebrate our heroes who served and an even better day to say thank you.”

Amy Woods, author of An Officer and Her Gentleman (Peach Leaf, Texas series, Harlequin Special Edition)

“I have a major soft spot for the uniquely beautiful combination of war veterans and service animals. From dogs to horses—and everything in between—researchers are only beginning to understand the potential depth and mutual advantages of relationships between humans and other species.

In my latest Peach Leaf, Texas novel, An Officer and Her Gentleman, I had the great pleasure of exploring this fascinating subject through my army veteran character, Avery Abbott, her service dog, Foggy, and the trainer that united them, Isaac Meyer. When Avery, two years out of her last tour, meets Foggy, a very special rescue mutt, both of their lives are changed for the better as they work to overcome acquired mistrust, fear and emotional pain.

My hope is that this book introduces you to an exceptional method of healing and to the beauty of animal-human friendship.”

Laura Drake, author of Against the Odds (Harlequin Superromance):

“My father was stationed in the Pacific in WWII. He always told funny stories about it, so it wasn’t until he took me to see the movie Tora! Tora! that I understood what war was really like. The flashes on the screen showed the real truth etched on his face.

When I wrote The Reasons to Stay, one of the supporting characters was Bear Steele, a big scary dude who paints cars and befriends Nacho, an orphan flirting with delinquency. Readers wanted to know more about Bear, so Against the Odds is his story. He is an army sniper, back from two tours in Iraq, with scars no one can see and a horrific secret.

Bear struggles to feel worthy of love and take his place in society. After having given so much to the country he loves, it was an honor to craft him a perfect happily-ever-after. He earned it.”

T.R. McClure, author of Wanted: The Perfect Mom (Harlequin Heartwarming):

“Memorial Day honors those who have died in the service of our country. When I was a child, for the holiday weekend, my family would “decorate” the graves of deceased family members with flowers from the backyard. May in Pennsylvania promised bouquets of pink peonies and purple irises. For many years since, a flag has flown over my father’s grave, a World War II veteran.

In Wanted: The Perfect Mom, both of my main characters are former members of the military. In many families, military service is a continuing thread that goes back to the American Revolution. Because I’ve been part of this thread, but only through the service of father, brother, daughter, I try to convey the contrast between civilian life and military life. One is a choice, one a commitment.

This weekend, take a moment to remember those who gave their lives serving our country.”

Lauren Canan, author of Redeeming the Billionaire SEAL (Billionaires and Babies series, Harlequin Desire):

“Chance Masters, a US Navy SEAL, returns home on a medical leave and finds that Holly, the younger sister of his best friend, is not a kid anymore. Holly notes the changes in Chance: six foot four of hard muscle, a sharp mind, and the bad boy he used to be has been remolded into the kind of man that earns respect. His voice is deep. His smoky-blue eyes are intense. He doesn’t request—he commands. He is, in all things, a warrior.

I have always had a deep love and admiration for members of our armed forces, especially the heroic efforts of the navy SEALs. They truly are the best of the best. They go in, get the job done and never ask for praise or glory. I couldn’t imagine a better hero.

I hope you enjoy the story.”

Sophia James, author of Marriage Made in Hope (The Penniless Lords series, Harlequin Historical)

“War changes a man. For Francis St Cartmail, the Earl of Douglas, soldiering and its trials has left him lonely and dislocated; a man who wears the slash of a sabre across his face for all to see and one who has traveled far and wide to try to escape his demons.

With a past that keeps reaching out to claim him, Francis drowns himself in strong drink and remembers those he has killed and those who have attempted to kill him.

When he tries to rescue a young woman who has fallen from a bridge, he almost hopes he will not surface again and that he will be celebrated as a hero if he fails to reappear.

But fate has a different journey for Francis and for Lady Sephora Connaught, the girl whose life it is he saves from the dark and cold depths of the Thames.”

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