Truth is Stranger Than Fiction: Stories About Real Heroes
Today I’m pleased to host author Sharon Hamilton, who is going to give us some insight into writing military hero stories, Navy SEALs, in particular. What makes these men so compelling to read about, to write about?
Having relatives in the U.S. Navy SEAL community gives me an advantage when it comes to writing romance using those characters. But I have to chuckle a bit after making this point. I’ve actually had to alter the stories I’ve been told to make my fictional characters seem LESS fantastic, over the top, unbelievable.
I’m probably not the only writer who has had her work critiqued by someone who makes the comment, “that would never happen,” when we’ve had first-hand experiences identical to what we’ve written. In doing research for my Navy SEAL series, I had to change some of the accounts, or no one would believe them.
But alongside the fantastic comes the silly or common. Beside every warrior are those family members who love them, or try to love them. They go to ballet classes with their daughters, wash laundry, wear Batman pajamas and wear Superhero underwear when they go out on missions in some pretty scary places. At home, they mow the lawn, paint the house and roll around on the living room floor and play “woo-dee-do” with their dogs.
I like the mixture of the strong silent hero who is also very human. I’ve enjoyed writing about vampires and dark guardian angels, and all their special body parts that do amazing things. But there is something so fun and absolutely thrilling about writing about Navy SEALs, those common every day men of steel who have that soft side, and sometimes a blind side, especially when it comes to love.
Some stats you may not know. There are only about 2000 SEALs. The chances a regular Navy sailor would get to try out for the Teams are one in 1000. It is not uncommon to have a failure rate in the BUD/S classes of 90%. A man wouldn’t know that he couldn’t tolerate a HALO (High Altitude) jump at midnight, or that he had a problem getting free from under 20 feet of water tied to a chair without oxygen, until he tried it. Doesn’t mean he isn’t strong, have a warrior’s heart and soul. He’s a hero for even considering it in the first place.
I’ve been told stories about strategies for passing the grueling training, and most of the time, these “tools” are proven false. This can cause panic. There is such a thing as being overly prepared. In the end, everything is stripped away. Hesitation is drummed out of them. A lot of the bravado is wiped clean. Not to say there aren’t huge egos in this community, but they’ve learned to keep it in check in public. At the end of their training, they will do whatever has to be done, even at the cost of their own life. Most importantly, they would be willing to die for each other without a moment’s thought.
For the first time in two decades, instructors who have themselves experienced active combat situations are training our SEALs. It is also chilling to me to understand that every SEAL knows someone who has fallen. It hasn’t always been the case in past years.
I’d be lying if I were to say I didn’t admire these brave young men. Though all my characters are fictionalized composites of people I’ve met or been told about, their community and their brotherhood is something good and true I attempt to accurately portray. Because each man has his own personal journey he must follow, there are thousands of stories yet to tell.
And that thrills me to no end.
What about you? Do you read military romance? What do you find compelling about a military hero? What about military heroes do you find the most interesting?
For more about Sharon, visit her Blog and her Website You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Her books, Heavenly Lover ‚ Underworld Lover, Honeymoon Bite , Accidental SEAL , and SEAL Encounter are all available through Amazon