Turns out, writing a romance featuring active military characters on combat deployment is much trickier than I initially thought!
The first problem of course, is that romantic interludes are a big no-no in the military code of justice. Like, potentially court martial offenses. So anything romantic going on between my characters must be on the sly, discreet, and they must not be in each other’s direct chain of command.
Yeah. Awesome (that’s sarcasm, by the way).
So, I’d painted myself into a tight corner and had to figure out how to write my way out of it. I’ll admit I struggled with it. A lot. I agonized over it. The last thing I wanted to do was insult the very people I was trying to shine a spotlight on in my books. How the heck was I supposed to pull off a forbidden romance in the middle of a military base and still be respectful?
All the military contacts I spoke to assured me that “relationships” and hookups do happen on base and while deployed overseas, but they stressed I had to make sure I noted they were forbidden and a punishable offense. This ups the danger of the couple in question being caught, which provides its own sort of tension. I like to think of that as a plus.
Deadly Descent is the first book of the series published by Carina Press, featuring a medevac helicopter pilot heroine and a Pararescue Jumper (PJ) hero. If you’ve never heard of the PJs, prepare to be amazed. They are something else, and some of the bravest, most selfless men you’ve ever met. I have terrible crushes on all of them.
Tactical Strike is the second book, coming out next year from Carina Press (no release date yet). It features two characters introduced in book 1: a Spooky II gunship pilot heroine and a Combat Controller (CCT) hero. You might not have heard of CCTs either, but what they do is fascinating. And integral on today’s battlefields.
Book three is tentatively titled Lethal Pursuit, and features a Security Forces heroine and another PJ hero. I’m currently writing it right now, and it’s also due out next year.
My favorite part about these books is the research I’ve put into them. I read a ton of Special Ops non-fiction, and I’m constantly watching documentaries, things like that. This is really strange since I’m a wimpy pacifist by nature, but I like to think it’s an interesting quirk. I try my best to get as many details right as I possibly can.
I’ve met some really interesting people along the way, and they’ve helped answer lists of specific questions about equipment and procedures I’ve put to them. I’ve also gone up in helicopters a few times despite my deathly fear of flying, interviewed a multitude of pilots and air crew at air shows (yeah, it’s a rough life, but someone’s gotta do it) and people in or recently retired from the AFSOC community.
I feel so lucky to have their input. The trick, I’ve found, is not to tell them I’m writing a romance. That’s the kiss of death. Once they see my questions and realize how serious I am, however, usually they’re more than happy to help. Then, if they ask, I’ll admit it’s a romance. They’re always surprised at why I bother going to the trouble of doing all this research for a romance novel. The answer is, I want to do our men and women in uniform justice. Of course there is a lot of artistic license within the story to make the plot work, but if there’s a way for me to check a military detail in my books, I’ll do it. I hope my books portray our military in a positive light, and that my readers learn something with each story I put out.
Well, I hope I’ve piqued your interest enough to want to read Deadly Descent. Please leave a comment for me here to enter the giveaway.
Kaylea Cross is an award winning author of edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense. A Registered Massage Therapist, Kaylea is an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dancer and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband.
You can find Kaylea through her website, Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.
Reaching for happiness in a war zone is the last thing Captain Devon Crawford plans, but she can't ignore the feelings she's hidden for so long. Cam's sexy charm and wicked kisses weaken her resistance, but she's too afraid of losing him to give in.
When Dev's helicopter and crew are shot down and set up as bait by a notorious warlord, Cam risks all to save the team. What he doesn't know is that the trap is set for him....
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