I’ve always wholeheartedly believed that real heroes don’t wear capes, they wear dog tags. Having grown up with a father, sister, and brother who all served in different branches of the US military, it would seem patriotism for this great nation runs deep in my blood. My mom and I were the proverbial black sheep, willfully choosing the civilian life. At least she was a nurse, still dedicating time to helping Americans in a different way. Before becoming a full-time author, I filed documents for the government. It wasn’t exactly a noble profession, though maybe a part of me was still trying to chase the military way of life.
When I think back to when I was eighteen, the only reason I can surmise for not enlisting would be because I was (and still am) a lazy wuss. A couple of years ago, some friends suckered me into a “mini boot camp” type training/hell, and I hardly made it through one session. Simply getting me on the treadmill every now and then is a serious ordeal, and often involves bribes of one kind or another. So it’s probably safe to say that the military just wasn’t for me.
But thankfully it was for my brother. And bless his heart for joining the Marines when I was in high school, because there was never a shortage of hot new friends for him to bring around. Some may say I have a slight obsession with Devil Dogs as every single one of my romance books to date includes a Marine. But as with the Marines I know in real life, there’s something special about my fictional jarheads that goes beyond simply being ripped and smoking hot (although that never hurts to expedite the fantasy).
Every Marine I’ve ever met is brave, loyal, and dedicated to their country. They’re true patriots even after they’re no longer on active duty. They’re also the kind of people you’re glad to know, because they’d have your back in a heartbeat. The Marines in my life may tend to get a little crazy, but they know how to have some serious fun. Whatever you do, don’t call them an ex-Marine, because they’re always and forever dedicated to that way of life.
In Fighting for Phoebe, Jace immediately feels a duty to protect Phoebe from her ex. Before anyone says “but they just met,” the idea of a Marine physically stepping up to a stranger in the bar, determined to honor what they felt to be the right thing, was drawn from real life experiences. I’m telling you, they’re an exceptionally loyal crew, driven by what they believe in their hearts.
Now that my teenaged son participates in federally funded youth program with the U.S. Navy, I’m cheering on our military with an entirely different role, one that will forever create tears of pride. And if my son enlists after high school as planned, I’ll probably have a hard time writing romance that involves young sailors, mostly because I wouldn’t want him or his new friends to be weirded out. But that doesn’t necessarily rule out the appearance by a hot Naval officer or two. ;)