If I managed that reading experience with no unpleasant repercussions, the books of Sharon Hamilton sound like something I could really get into. Sharon, my guest hijacker for this post, writes in genre that might be called romantic military suspense. If that has piqued your curiosity, then read on...
Men of Steel: Writing Military Romance (This is Not Political)
I didn’t grow up as a romance reader. I liked mysteries, science fiction and literary fiction as a youngster. I learned to read on Nancy Drew and then gravitated to science fiction and gory murder mysteries. I loved historical fiction, reading James Clavell and James Michener.
It would have been impossible for me to read a romance novel in my household growing up. Today, kids probably read unmentionable things on their ereaders or cell phones, but it would have been a problem for me to have anything like a naked man’s torso or a woman’s nearly bare chest on a book cover.
So I was late to the party. Because I think you have to read a lot to be a good writer, I have done just that, plowed into romance novels, and let all others go by the wayside. When I attended my first RWA (Romance Writers of America) meeting, a multi-published author explained something I’d never heard before. “You know it’s a romance because the woman always wins and there’s always a happily ever after.”
This premise works for me. In a world where the woman doesn’t always win, and things, especially now, are not happily ever after, I have become a vehicle, delivering a rich fantasy life of what could be. Get me as far away from reality as possible. I can watch TV or listen to the radio for that.
I like that falling in love is not political. Same for military romance. We romance readers and writers like alpha heroes in our books—hunky guys who can go in and save the day. We don’t want to see a warrior in full battle dress unsure of what to do. Leadership coaches would call those types “stupid soldiers” – the ones that get everyone else killed. No, we like the take charge alpha who is so well trained that hesitation is drummed out of them. And Navy SEALs, in my opinion, complete that picture quite nicely.
I know several in the SEAL community, family members among them. SEALs are unique in that they don’t seek the spotlight, like to stick to themselves and their own community and don’t brag or draw attention to themselves for their amazing accomplishments. That’s not to say they don’t have an ego. I think most of them have enormous egos.
So you take this highly trained asset, and plunk him in a situation he hasn’t been trained in, like a love story, and voila, you have a romance novel. This highly trained military hero goes weak at the knees for the right woman. Readers love that.
85% of all romance readers are women (this statistic is changing, however as more men enjoy them), and the average romance reader reads 3-4 books a week. 5l% of all the books sold online are romance. It is a huge part of the publishing marketplace. I think a lot about that when my family asks me when I’m going to get a real job and not a hobby.
SEAL training is probably the most brutal program there is. BUD/S dropout rate is at least 75%. It isn’t uncommon, like in my book, for a class of young recruits to start out with close to 200, and wind up with less than a dozen graduated. The odds just to be selected to try out for the teams is 1 in 1000 already enlisted in the military.
Act of Valor realistically portrays the SEAL community. All the lead characters and many of the other actors were at one time or are now active Navy SEALs. The stunts are real, the ammunition was live.
Every member of the SEAL community knows someone who has made the ultimate sacrifice. Everyone. Team guys will gladly die for one another, without thinking. It’s just the way they are. We find that hard to believe in a day and age when lines are blurred and rules are morphed into guidelines. Our current SEALs are also trained, for the first time in a couple of decades, by SEALs who saw actual combat.
I asked one young SEAL why he decided to try out for the teams. “I just wanted to know what my limits were.” He knew that if he never tried, he would always want to know, just how far he could push himself. It had nothing to do with the rah rah. It was a deeply personal decision. I think most of these young men are the same.
Hope you’ll follow along with me and enjoy some of my fiction, based on these real men of steel.
Christy Nelson embarks on her new career in Real Estate by holding her first open house. Entering the wrong house, by accident, she finds the nude sleeping body of a young man.
Navy SEAL Kyle Lansdowne, on a mission to find his AWOL Team buddy, is staying at his buddy’s home while investigating the disappearance. When someone breaks in, he takes protective measures. He doesn’t expect to find that a beautiful young woman is responsible for his teammate’s abduction.
What starts out as a meeting by accident becomes a hot affair neither one is ready for. Kyle is conflicted about getting Christy involved in his mission, but his hand is forced when he learns the same San Diego gang responsible for his teammate’s abduction has kidnapped her.
Battling a cadre of dirty law enforcements hell-bent on getting military equipment, especially state-of-the-art firepower, Kyle is forced to admit that he would be willing to die to protect her.
Sharon's books are available from Amazon:
Sharon Hamilton loves all things paranormal: Angels, Dark Angels, Watchers, Guardians, Upogenie and Vampires. She also has developed a series of hot romantic suspense Navy SEAL stories. Her characters follow a spicy road to redemption through passion and true love—not exactly what they taught you in Sunday School!
Sharon is represented by agent Jill Marsal, and has finaled in several erotic, contemporary, paranormal and single title contests over the past three years. She regularly participates in four RWA and California Writer chapters, and two blogs.
An avid organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country in Northern California, where most of her stories take place.
Have any of you read any of Sharon's books? Have you read books in this or a similar mix of genres? What do you think of romance novels? Do you have any questions for Sharon?