Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she's not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.
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For the last ten and a half years, the American military has been a regular feature in the news and other media. As an author, the constant flow of information about military operations, service members, and veterans piqued my natural curiosity. With a cousin who served in the Navy and a writing buddy who deployed to Iraq more than once with the Army Reserve, it’s only natural that the military infiltrated my writing. As the War on Terror continued and I learned more about my own father’s experiences receiving services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, I also developed an interest in veterans and the challenges faced by many recent veterans.
All of this led to research and brainstorming. As a result, I wrote two ebooks with a military/veteran theme. The hero in Riley’s Mission is a lieutenant in the Indiana National Guard. The inspiration for Riley’s Mission came from news reports of nursing home residents being left behind during Hurricane Katrina and severe flooding in Indiana, which caused a hospital to be evacuated. Those two incidents started the “what if…” process I always use to begin a new story. Multiple reports of National Guard units being deployed or returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq mixed into my musings, and I started thinking about what the National Guard does here at home. Assisting with evacuations and natural disasters are what most people think of when they think of the National Guard.
In order to write a romantic suspense, however, Riley’s Mission needed more than just a flooded hospital. It had to have danger and romance as well. This is where the heroine of the story comes in. As an Israeli operative, she made a few enemies and got to know the hero through his previous occupation with the State Department. With regular news reports of Al Qaida and terrorism, the villain of the story was obvious: a terrorist the heroine had thought she finally stopped. Because of her work as an operative, Jade fought her attraction to Riley, even though he encouraged her to trust him. The romance in Riley’s Mission is sweet and hard-won, since Jade and Riley must survive a terrorist determined to kill her and overcome fears of future danger.
Healing in Haven Falls is an inspirational romance with a veteran for the hero. Keith faces daily challenges due to permanent injuries suffered in Afghanistan. I was inspired to write Keith because of several interviews I had seen or read with survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI). While the effects aren’t always as obvious as those I gave Keith, the challenges presented by a TBI can have a devastating impact on how the survivor views himself. I touch on a few of those issues with Keith’s character, although it’s important to remember that each individual will be affected differently and may or may not share the same issues.
The heroine of Healing in Haven Falls, Autumn, must face the challenge of learning that good men do exist. She’s suspicious of Keith at first because she doesn’t realize that what she thinks are signs of intoxication are actually some of the effects of his TBI. This misunderstanding of what can be an invisible disability is one of the reasons I wrote Healing in Haven Falls. Although my initial “what if” question considered the idea of two wounded hearts healing each other, it quickly morphed into “What if the hero is a disabled veteran, but his disability isn’t as obvious as a missing limb or being confined to a wheelchair?”
Thousands of veterans face challenges daily because of their time in the service, and not all of those challenges are obvious to outside observers. Physical disabilities are usually easy to see, but neurological and psychological disabilities tend to be much harder to spot, especially if the symptoms are mild. Writing Healing in Haven Falls allowed me to give a brief glimpse into one type of neurological disability and the psychological effects it can have on a man. While Keith is a completely fictional veteran, I researched the effects of TBI on veterans in order to make him as realistic as possible.
I appreciate the sacrifices of the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the military. It take a special person to leave behind family and friends and lay his or her life on the line to protect the freedom of the United States and to help free oppressed people in other countries. The sacrifices of their families are also to be remembered and commended. It can’t be easy to send your loved one off for months with no way of knowing how they will fare.
This Memorial Day, thank a veteran or a current military member for their willingness to selflessly serve their country. Thank their loved ones as well, for their tireless support of the men and women in our nation’s military.
Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us to thank a veteran or current military member for their service. I have family members who are veterans and so appreciate their service and the service of all our military.
1. I learned to read when I was three years old.
2. I struggled with English classes all the way through school.
3. I’m a high-functioning autistic.
4. I have a pet ribbon snake named Mr. Squiggles.
5. I love to use my hula hoop.
Why do you like being an author?
Being an author allows me to share my ideas with others. I love to create interesting characters and put them in unique or difficult situations. Watching the story develop and the characters grow is something I will never tire of. The ability to share these stories with readers and perhaps bring awareness to something that might otherwise stay in the shadows is an amazing blessing.
I love your reasoning and agree wholeheartedly. Who’s your favorite author of classic literature?
I love Rudyard Kipling. His Just So Stories have been a favorite of mine since childhood, and I have fond memories of The Jungle Book as well. Kipling’s work has always appealed to me, perhaps because of the faraway settings or maybe because of the unique characters and stories he created.
Trapped in a flooded hospital, former Israeli operative Jade Rosen discovers she’s not alone. One of the other stranded patients is none other than the cold-blooded killer she'd left behind in a Syrian prison, the man who had forced her to leave everyone she loved behind and go into hiding.
Indiana National Guardsman Riley Jackson is on a mission to locate and contain a cunning terrorist whose guards aren’t responding. He finds more than he bargained for when the woman he loves appears out of nowhere, desperately ill and once again needing his protection.
Will Jade and Riley finally find their happy ending, or will they pay the ultimate price at the hands of a man determined to see Jade dead?
Sounds like a great book. Where can readers find your book online?
Purchase Link for Riley's Mission
Autumn Reger is no stranger to mistakes—she’s made more than enough to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the consequences of those mistakes and her distrust of men, keep haunting her.
Keith Burke served his country with honor, but his service in Afghanistan ended with a roadside bomb. The emotional and physical scars leave him wondering if he’ll ever be able to make a friend or find true love.
Can two wounded hearts heal the scars of the past to find the future God has planned for them?
Where can readers find your book online?
Purchase Link for Healing in Haven Falls
Thank you so much for guesting today and helping us to remember our military veterans and servicemen. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your books.
Please feel free to hang out and chat with E.A. West.