"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
G. K. CHESTERTON, The New Jerusalem
When I first started writing Soldier of Love, I had a vague sense of the Black Moment I wanted my characters to face (the Black Moment is the point in the novel when you believe that everything is lost). If you do a little reading, you’ll quickly find that these are some of the major issues facing veterans in the 21st century: unemployment, homelessness, PTSD, readjustment to civilian life, and backlogged VA claims (among many others).
It’s disturbing to me that the very people who defend our rights overseas, against enemy forces, are treated so poorly once they come home. In fact, my local newspaper just ran an article about the high number of homeless veterans right in my county. They sleep in their cars or on friends’ couches or in the woods. If we consider the fact that “In the past 15 years (1999-2013), the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has documented 1,437 acts of violence against homeless individuals…” and that 90% of these victims were males over the age of 40, we can clearly see the dangers homeless veterans face.
I chose two of these issues, homelessness and violence against those who are homeless, in creating the Black Moment for Heath, my hero in this book. Although he triumphs in the end (of course he does! it’s a romance!), I wanted to create realistic struggles for him and his fellow veterans, and raise awareness about the ways veterans are treated every single day in this country. They deserve better.
Soldier of Love is the story of a veteran returned from war and the woman he falls in love with. It will release at all retailers on March 18 and is available for exclusive pre-order NOW on iTunes.