I’m sure there are a million things that can inspire an author to write a particular story. Here’s how BLUE ANGEL was born:
started writing my first draft more than three decades ago. I was newly
married to a wonderful man who was an officer on a nuclear submarine,
the USS Haddock, stationed in San Diego. I was incredibly impressed with
his sense of honor and duty. He loved being out to sea, and he loved
helping to protect our nation.
When we were married only a year,
he was deployed on a West-Pac (Western Pacific) sea tour. He was gone
for six months straight (with brief stops at ports in the Pacific.) Our
only communication was through family grams (50 word “telegrams” that
could be sent to my husband while his boat was submerged.) Each wife
received six family grams during the six-month deployment.
was alone in San Diego, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. In
the local media I’d heard a new romance writer’s group, the Romance
Writers of America, was hosting its first convention in town. I was
curious. While I didn’t attend that convention, I did sit down at the
typewriter and start typing.
My first hero was a submarine
officer who had lots of dinner dates with the heroine, a nurse. It
didn’t take a professional editor to tell me it wasn’t working, so I
started again. This time, I decided my hero would be a Navy pilot who
had lost his best friend to a flying accident. Understandably, he
develops anxiety about being in the cockpit. That plot twist comes
directly from my experience flying.
When I was a 21 year old
college student in Boston, I was returning to school after winter break
and my plane (a DC-10) overshot the run at snowy Logan Airport and
landed in the Boston Harbor. It was a terrifying experience. I was
sitting toward the front of the plane, and I watched in horror as the
nose of the plane separated from the body and descended into the icy
water. Two men, a middle-aged man and his elderly father, had been
sitting in the from row and they were never found. I had to walk on the
wing, wade through hip-deep water and climb up an icy incline to get
back to safety. (It wasn’t easy as I’d been wearing Candies shoes at
the time.) While I was unharmed, I never got over the experience. I do
fly today, but I never relax and enjoy it.
So, it seemed fitting
to me to create a scenario where a fear of flying (and getting over a
fear of flying) played a key role in my story. Also, most of BLUE ANGEL
takes place in San Diego where I lived during my husband’s Navy sea
tour. I loved the city–truly the most fabulous weather in the world–and
hope that comes out in my book.
I hope you enjoy Blue Angel.
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