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Laura Kaye | Military Heroes are Special


I'm very excited to be celebrating the release of HER FORBIDDEN HERO, my contemporary romance from Entangled's Indulgence line. And I'm especially excited to share with you Marco Vieri, my prior Army Special Forces tortured hero (that's Italian actor Giulio Berruti over there-THE Marco in my head!). Here's the book's blurb:

You always want what you can't have...

She's always been off-limits...

Former Army Special Forces Sgt. Marco Vieri has never thought of Alyssa Scott as more than his best friend's little sister, but her return home changes that...and challenges him to keep his war-borne demons at bay. Marco's not the same person he was back when he protected Alyssa from her abusive father, and he's not about to let her see the mess he's become.

...but now she's all grown up.

When Alyssa takes a job at the bar where Marco works, her carefree smiles wreak havoc on his resolve to bury his feelings. How can he protect her when he can't stop thinking about her in his bed? But Alyssa's not looking for protection-not anymore. Now that she's back in his life, she's determined to heal her forbidden hero, one touch at a time...

I felt a special responsibility writing Marco. In HER FORBIDDEN HERO, Marco's military background is central to his character, his identity, and his goals/motivation/conflict. Though he's not the first military hero I've written (Lucas in JUST GOTTA SAY was also prior Army), the amount of time and detail I spent in the story exploring his military background, motivations, emotions, and injuries made me feel particularly conscientious about trying to get the details right. Partly, this is because I work for the military (as a civilian), so I want to do right by the real life heroes I know and work with every day. And partly this is because I didn't want to trivialize the experience or feelings of real people who might have gone through (or be going through) something similar to Marco's character.

I watched hours of YouTube videos shot by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Interviews about the soldiers' experience in country. Recorded patrol missions. Recorded engagements with insurgents. Documentaries. I read interview after interview with wounded veterans. I read in detail about the training and deployment of Special Forces troops. I based Marco himself after a wounded Navy SEAL with similar joint/ligament and traumatic brain (TBI) injuries. Having had a traumatic brain injury myself (almost four years ago), I also felt on a bit safer ground to talk about the consequences of even a mild TBI. I just really wanted to get Marco right, to make him real, to make it so that someone who knows a real-life Marco can say, yeah, that's really true to the guy I know, too.

For those of you who have love to read military heroes (or other kinds of heroes, even), do you think authors have a responsibility to get it right?

Thanks for reading!

Laura Kaye




46 comments posted.

Re: Laura Kaye | Military Heroes are Special

I really want to read this. All of the blurbs and excerpts have me dying for it :).
(Victoria Sloboda 12:00pm June 19, 2012)

Oh absolutely! I am so disappointed if an author hasn't done
the right research or completely misses a character's
motivations. Completely and utterly important :)
(Rachael Grime 12:09pm June 19, 2012)

I think it is great the amount of research authors put into making their stories as authentic as possible. I love learning little tidbits this way! It should not however take over the story so that the characters get lost along the way
(Lynne Hankins 12:30pm June 19, 2012)

I love reading about military (past or current) heroes. And, yeah, I think there is always a responsibility to get every character right.
(Kelli Jo Calvert 12:36pm June 19, 2012)

I do, its what helps make a good story great! :)

(Dawn Saenz 12:54pm June 19, 2012)

YES! If you are going to suspend my disbelief, then everything needs to be based in fact as much as possible, unless going into the novel I know its supposed to be far-fetched.
(Angie Lilly 1:14pm June 19, 2012)

Yes. Thats what makes the story..Would Love to win. Need a good book to read..
(Tina Myers 1:18pm June 19, 2012)

Yes, the facts help to make the story believable. I love
military heroes that fight the good fight.
(Mary Hay 2:06pm June 19, 2012)

Authors, and the media as well, should certainly get it right!
(Marjorie Carmony 2:18pm June 19, 2012)

This sounds like an excellent story, I'd love to win it.
(Wilma Frana 2:45pm June 19, 2012)

I think it should be as close to factual as it can be, but I also enjoy how creative an author can be... sounds great.
(Colleen Conklin 2:52pm June 19, 2012)

Yes I think its important to have authenticity in any
situation you create, by including important details. But i
also think imaginative approaches are ok too
(G Bell 3:33pm June 19, 2012)

Yes, I think that an author should do as much research as possible in order to get the facts right. I get so frustrated when I see war movies and the uniforms are all wrong. Thanks for the contest.
(Kathleen Yohanna 4:03pm June 19, 2012)

i love heroes and this sounds really good i love books like this
(Denise Smith 4:54pm June 19, 2012)

@Victoria - woot! Glad to hear you're enjoying the tour!

@Rachael - thanks for letting me know your take!

@Lynne - I agree. Authors need to be careful "not to let their research show" by overdoing it

@Kelli Jo - awesome! Thanks!

@Froggy - Thanks!

@Angie - that's a really good point!

@Tina - good luck! :)

@Mary - I think you just might really love Marco! :)

@Marjorie - good point!

@Wilma - awesome! good luck!

@Colleen and G - it's the mix, so true! Thanks!

@Kathleen - right! In certain genres, there really is reader/view (if a movie) attention to those kinds of details, and see them done right is part of the enjoyment

@Denise - Awesome! Thanks!

Thanks for all the great comments today everyone!
(Laura Kaye 5:46pm June 19, 2012)

The amount of research with correct facts and details an author puts into their writing makes a much more authentic and interesting story.
I've read, "Her Forbidden Hero" has been nominated for the Romance Studio's 5 Heart Sweetheart Award, along with many awesome reviews! I really have to read this book...CONGRATS,
Laura. Your painstaking homework (labor of love) has been a success, and you've created a winner!
(Linda Luinstra 6:00pm June 19, 2012)

Military hero stories are great to read about and much more appreciated when true facts come forth throughout the story by the author. Homework is important. I want to read this one!
Just recently watched the DVD movie, Memorial Day (anyone who knows of a hero or someone that's served in the military during wartime would appreciate this one)! A good, touching story.
(Rich Cook 6:29pm June 19, 2012)

@Linda - Aw, thank you so much, Linda! xoxo

@Rich - I definitely agree, Rich, and thanks for the movie recommmendation! :)
(Laura Kaye 6:46pm June 19, 2012)

A man in uniform looks mighty nice and gets my attention.
(Alyson Widen 6:49pm June 19, 2012)

@Alyson - LOL I love that! And agree! :D
(Laura Kaye 7:33pm June 19, 2012)

Sounds like a great read!
I think it's important for an author to do their homework however they have to find a balance. I want good information that adds to the story and/or characters. I don't want so much information that it seems like a text book. That's what encyclopedias and text books are for.
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 8:29pm June 19, 2012)

What a delightful subject...a true hero. Coming from a long line of military relatives this sounds like my kind of story. Congratulations!
(Gladys Paradowski 8:40pm June 19, 2012)

I don't want any glaring errors but I can forgive a little creative license. What I really love is when the author talks about research in the book notes and it turns out that they had active millitary personnel look at the book. I think that is great!
(Jennifer Beyer 9:23pm June 19, 2012)

I think if it is a good story and the problems aren't so glaring, then remember it is a story. However, if it is a well known subject then you'd better get the information close to being right. But it is a story, just make it a good story.
(Shonda Abercrombie 9:34pm June 19, 2012)

Yes, Authors should be as accurate as they possibly can if they're writing about the Military as their subject. Being a person who has been recovering from a closed head injury for 2 years now, I know I would be able to relate to the character in your book. My injury has gotten better, but I still have a ways to go myself. There are still issues, as well as demons that I have to fight with on a daily basis, so I'm sure I would enjoy your book very much!! It sounds like a wonderful story!! I am also going to look up your other book as well.
(Peggy Roberson 9:48pm June 19, 2012)

it sounds like a great book and i added it to my wish list.thanks alot jen
(Jennifer Beck 10:20pm June 19, 2012)

Absolutely! While the story is sometimes better made up, getting details right is important! I can't wait to read this!
(Veronica Jarvis 10:33pm June 19, 2012)

This sounds like a good story I'd love to read it. I like when an author does research on their story line. It makes the story more real and appealing to me.
[email protected]
(Lori Meehan 11:12pm June 19, 2012)

Research is very important. I remember reading about how a bird call in the opening scene of The Sound of Music ruined the movie for the viewer - there was absolutely no way that bird could have been in Austria.
(Mary C 1:04am June 20, 2012)

I am very disappointed in a story if it is far-fetched. I think if the author is writing a book that she/he should get their facts straight.
(Cathy Phillips 1:16am June 20, 2012)

Don't write it if you can't get the details right even though it is a work of fiction. The basic story should be correct. It makes it more real.
(Sharon Extine 5:24am June 20, 2012)

It depends on the story but the author should hve basic facts correct and be true to the story.
(Lindsey Ekland 5:58am June 20, 2012)

I have read many books about the First or Second World Wars - which usually mix life in Britain with life at war on the Continent - and a couple about the Spanish Civil War, several about the American Civil War and not many modern day war stories. Modern war is not usually considered a topic women would be interested in reading so publishers here don't go for it. So I would be very interested to see how they compare with yours. Research is vital - even when watching a film people can find fault with detail.
(Clare O'Beara 6:08am June 20, 2012)

I appreciate the authenticity, but I can forgive 'poetic license'.
(Mary Preston 7:53am June 20, 2012)

Laura, I already loved you, but this interview was seriously awesome. Yay for researching our military heroes! It's important to me to "get it right" as well, as much as I can, anyway. Thanks for doing your homework!
(Kaylea Cross 10:24am June 20, 2012)

I appreciate the time and dedication authors put into research when
writing a book. And it shows in the end product. I may not know all of
the details or specifics of a certain era, job, or country, but you can be
certain I do know when something doesn't "smell" right. So, yes, authors
do have a bit of a responsibility do get it somewhat right, but not perfect.
After all, it is fiction.
(Cynthia Netherton 10:34am June 20, 2012)

There is nothing in the world that irritates me more than when an author writes a book and has no idea the details that go behind it. I've seen books that are about a Marine but on the cover he is wearing Army cammies (yes there is a difference). Another example, a Marine who was flying with their cammies on (you can't go anywhere in your cammies unless you are on base)and gets all huffy puffy over the fact that the TSA guy called them "Soldier" because they couldn't tell that they were a Marine (the Army is allowed to go anywhere in their cammies even shopping in WalMart). At least the author got the fact that military branches don't like to be confused but in all actuality they had a huge no-no in the book.

I think no matter what the book is about the author should do their homework and make sure they know the basics. It's like if I were to write a book about football. I have no idea the dynamics of the game other than they trying to get the ball between the goal or running it the entire way... oh and of course I would write some elaborate victory dance at the end of a touch down
(Kristin Bingham 10:35am June 20, 2012)

Yes, absolutely. It is obvious when a writer hasn't done her/his homework and fails to make the details fit the story, reflecting a lack of understanding and/or an assumption that background is "wallpaper", not essential to the development of the characters or plot. Bravo for your hard work and dedication to getting it right.
(Dolores Feagin 11:13am June 20, 2012)

@Tracie - I definitely agree! The research needs to be seamless with the story and not overshadow it!

@Gladys - your comment made me squee! :)

@Jennifer - Ooh, I love those author notes too!

@Shonda - yes, that makes sense!

@Peggy - so sorry to learn we have this in common, Peggy! Speedy recovery to you!

@Jennifer - thanks so much!

@Veronica - yay! I hope you enjoy it!

@Lori - I agree!

@Mary - LOL! That's a good story! Didn't know that!

@Cathy - yes, goes back to an earlier commenter's view about there's only so many times you can ask a reader to make a leap of faith/believe something unbelievable (really, I think it's no more than once a story...)

@Sharon and Lindsey - right.

@Clare - military heroes are pretty big in romance, even if war-time settings are less so... good points!

@Mary - agreed!

@Kaylea - *waves* Thanks so much for stopping over!

@Cynthia - thanks so much!

@Kristin - your comment exactly raises why it's necessary to get it right. There are so many small differences between the services. I'm writing the follow-up story to HER FORBIDDEN HERO right now and just the other day came upon a small example of this: the dog tags (ID tags) differ between the services - the layout of info, the content of it, etc. Such a small detail, but people in the military would totally know it. And it would be irritating to see it wrongly described. Great comment!

@Dolores - oh, very good point. Right, if it's not essential to the characterization or plot, why is it there?

Thanks for all the great comments everyone! I'm really enjoying reading them!
(Laura Kaye 11:47am June 20, 2012)

Yes, it's very important to get it right---nothing worse than an unbelievable charactrer because the details aren't believable.
(Sue Farrell 1:12pm June 20, 2012)

I'm into uniforms and men in the forces - I have to be as I
married one 35 years ago :D I love reading stories set in the
military as it brings back fond memories of our life back
(Ilona Fenton 2:54pm June 20, 2012)

I worked for the Dept of Defense as a civilian before retiring. What an honor to work with the military. So any books concerning military interest me.
(Mary Tharp 5:13pm June 20, 2012)

@Sue - so true!

@Ilona - That's awesome!

@Mary - my day job is working for the DoD, Mary! :)
(Laura Kaye 7:45pm June 20, 2012)

I definately think that I am much more invested in my heroes/heroines when the author has taken the time to do some research and make it as realistic as possible. I know that I am reading fiction, but it makes it amazing when it feels REAL. That is when you get my heart involved.
(Patti Paonessa 12:46pm June 21, 2012)

So true, Patti!
(Laura Kaye 10:11am June 21, 2012)

Your book sounds really interesting. My father was in the military over 30 yrs (WWII, Korea & Viet Nam). My husband had just gotten out of the navy when I met him. I worked in Military Pay for almost 20 yrs. Yes, I love to read about the military. Like Mary, I worked for the Department of Defense for over 20 yrs before retiring. Looking forward to reading your books.
(Pat Moore 2:44pm August 1, 2012)

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