Greetings, Inspy Romance readers. Today I want to talk about one of the inspirations behind my romance novel heroes: military veterans.
I’d always heard romance writers say that men in uniform make great romance heroes, but I grew up in the Vietnam era when those serving in the armed forces didn’t get the positive attention they get today. And as a peace-loving scholar, I didn’t meet a whole lot of veterans. So my early romance novels didn’t tend to feature heroes who had served their countries.
That all changed when I started dating a veteran who was extremely passionate about the USA and about helping other veterans. Through him, I got to know a number of veterans and became aware of what heroes many veterans are in real life. Some of the activities I did with my friend:
- Attended meetings of the local 82nd Airbourne chapter
- Watched a funeral service involving a final veteran salute and an armed guard to protect attendees
- Met a WWII vet who ended up serving as the inspiration for an ongoing character in my Rescue River series, the librarian of the Senior Towers
- Raised a glass with the guys at the local American Legion (okay, did that more than once!)
- Watched the dedication of a memorial sidewalk at Soldiers and Sailors Hall in Pittsburgh
- Ran in the “Run as One” 5K to raise awareness about the high rate of suicide among veterans
Getting to know some of these fine men and women whose courage and spirit shines bright has been a wonderful inspiration. What could be more romantic than a hero who’s sacrificed for others, is protective, and has great military muscles?? I’ve included veterans in several recent novels, including His Secret Child, A Bond of Vengeance, and A Brother’s Bond. And just between us, I have an idea for a new series in which veterans play a major role. More on that in a few months.
The course of true love never did run smooth, as William Shakespeare reminds us, and my veteran friend and I have parted ways. But I will always be grateful for the insight he offered into the lives of America’s veterans, and for the way that insight has enriched my writing.
Do you like reading books with military heroes? How about movies? Any favorites to share?
And hey–if you’d like a free short story with a heroic veteran at the center of it, visit my website and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll get access to “Before the Bond” as well as updates on the new series as they become available.