Hey, Jadette. Thanks for inviting me to blog here!
Once a Marine, my new release from Riptide Publishing, took a long time to gestate. I’d been wanting to write a m/m book with a DADT theme for a couple of years, but I had to wait for the policy to be officially repealed before I could see giving that kind of story a truly happy ending. So when President Obama signed the repeal into law right before Christmas in 2010, I rubbed my hands together and started brainstorming ideas.
As luck would have it, I’d also been following the awesome Rachel Maddow’s ongoing series of interview with service men and women discharged under DADT. Here interview with Army Captain Jonathan Hopkins struck a chord with me. When he told her he’d effectively put his personal life on hold for the better part of ten years because any relationship he had would have to be closeted, I knew I had the model for my Marine, Cole Hammond.
Then I had to come up with a worthy object for his affections – and I’ll admit, I didn’t look too far. I knew I wanted to set the story in a university town, so I picked Berkeley – because I HATE location research, and UC Berkeley is my alma mater, so I already know the town really well. And I made Marc Sullivan, Cole’s lover, a writer because I’d never written a book with a writer protag before. Basically, Marc is me if I were a thirty-year-old gay man. So once I had that down, I was good to go.
Writing the first draft took about a month, which is pretty fast, but I can normally knock it out quickly when I have the characters and the story firmly in mind. It was the editing that nearly killed me – in the best way possible. I’d never had developmental edits before, and needless to say, they were an eye-opener. But they helped kick-start my writing brain into overdrive, and by the time we were done, the book was a thousand percent better.
Many readers have commented on my choice to write the story in one 1st person POV (Marc) and one 3rd (Cole). Some have found Cole’s POV a bit distancing, which is exactly what I was aiming for. I wanted readers to get to know and slowly fall in love with Cole, the same way Marc does. Was I successful? That’s for readers to judge.
I had a great time researching and writing Once a Marine. It was a privilege to tell Cole and Marc’s story. I can only hope I’ve honored Cole’s sacrifice, the same sacrifice made by so many of our valiant service men and women, who can now serve openly, with dignity and honor.
Here's the blurb:
Love is a battlefield.
Discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is struggling to find a new identity. But PTSD casts a pall on everything, and his hard-nosed, homophobic father can’t even bear to look him in the eye. To top it all off, he’s pretty sure he’s flunking out of law school.
Marc Sullivan is a kind, sensitive romance author-slash-waiter with a thing for men in uniform. Cole’s not wearing his anymore, but there’s no mistaking the warrior Marc meets in the diner one rainy afternoon. Cole’s sexy smile and Carolina drawl prove irresistible, but Marc’s played this game before, and he always loses. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and if there’s one thing Marc knows about such men, it’s that they all leave him in the end. It doesn’t help that Cole’s practically closeted in public, or that he refuses to seek treatment for his PTSD.
But like any good Marine, Cole’s willing to fight for what matters. And like the characters in Marc’s stories, he’s certain that if they try just hard enough, together they can find their own happily ever after.
Click the title to read an excerpt and purchase Once a Marine.
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