Please welcome Emily Mims back to the blog. She’s talking about her latest three releases from Boroughs Publishing Group. Take it away, Emily!
Writing About Wounded Warriors
Veterans in general and wounded warriors in particular have a very warm spot in my heart. I live in San Antonio, home of San Antonio Military Medical Center, site of the Army’s famous burn treatment center and one of the three stateside hospitals where wounded warriors come home to recuperate and rehabilitate from their devastating injuries. Many of the more severely injured young men and women, those whose injuries were such that they can no longer serve in the military, have settled here in San Antonio to continue their medical care, and it is absolutely no big deal these days to see a young father or mother on two prosthetic legs chasing a couple of children across the mall or a man with severe facial scarring paying for his groceries at the store or a young man in a wheelchair holding a baby in his lap. Nor is it unusual to work beside a colleague with a closed head injury that suffers from migraines and struggles to put names with faces. Here in San Antonio the wounded warriors aren’t just a face on a magazine cover or an abstract concept-they are our friends and neighbors and part of our community.
So why are they such compelling heroes and heroines? Why do I like to write about them? Perhaps the answer lies in the bravery I see these men and women exhibit on a routine basis in everyday life. No, we’re not heroes, they will tell you. As far as they are concerned, they are just going about their ordinary everyday lives the same as the rest of us. And that they do. They hold jobs, they go shopping, they go to church. They ride their bikes down the street. Most of them are remarkably unself-conscious about the hardware and the scars. In ‘After the Heartbreak’ I have a child remarking that Cathy and Beto’s prostheses are ‘no big deal’, because here in San Antonio they aren’t. But the fact that they are carrying on ‘business as usual’, even when the circumstances are anything but ‘usual’, is what makes them seem so brave to me.
So what about their private lives? Their love lives? Again, the wounded warriors are just like the rest of us in that respect. They date, they fall in love, they have fights and break up and make up. They get married and raise families. Sometimes they do it with each other. I will never forget the young couple I saw at one of the malls a few years back. He had burn scars from his knees up and she was walking on a prosthesis. They were holding hands and even from across the mall you could see the love in their eyes for one another, and they are not the only couple to meet and fall in love with another wounded warrior. Sometimes wounded warriors fall in love with someone who nursed them back to health-there have been many marriages between wounded warriors and their nurses or other caregivers. And many, many have come home to the husband or wife who loved them already, and it is heartwarming to watch these loving spouses reach out and fashion a new normal for their wounded loved one.
Yet at the same time, the scars remain. PTSD is a common problem and particularly insidious in that it doesn’t show on the outside. After asking a time or two if a wounded warrior would share their experiences with me and seeing the expressions on their faces, I decided to do my research on topics like firefights and prostheses and PTSD and IED’s online rather than ask them to relive the horror. They simply do not want to go back there and I can’t blame them. (If I did have a question, I went to my son, who saw a lot but thankfully came home without a scratch.) But, outward and inward scars or no, I do see these brave men and women as heroes of the highest order, the kind of heroes and heroines I like to bring to life in my stories.
Together Cathy and Beto have faced horror and heartbreak. Will they together find their way back to happiness?
What was to be the first night of the rest of their lives together instead became an evening of heartbreak and horror. Now dealing with the aftermath, Cathy Armbruster and Beto Flores struggle to put their lives and their relationship back together. Was their future destroyed on that fateful night, or will Cathy and Beto find a way to get past the heartbreak and claim the happily ever after with one another that they both want so desperately?
Tommy Joe is home from war, but he’s now in a wheelchair-and always will be. Can he still be the man a woman like Christi deserves?
Crippled by a sniper’s bullet, paraplegic Tommy Joe Reece doesn’t see how he can run a ranch from a wheelchair-or be a husband to Christi, the girl he’s always loved. Will Tommy and Christi let their doubts and fears about the future destroy their love, or will they have the courage to reach out to one another and find a way to make it all work?
Daughter of Valor
When wounded war hero Holly Riley comes home to the Texas Hill Country to build a new life for herself, she has no idea that life will include sexy Congressional candidate Jimmy Adamcik!
Wounded war hero Holly Riley has come to the lakeshore community of Heaven’s Point to recover from her injuries and build a new life for herself with her band of fellow wounded warriors. Temporarily employed as a nanny for charismatic Congressional candidate and neighbor Jimmy Adamcik, Holly and Jimmy quickly began to care for one another in spite of Holly’s distrust of politics. But Jimmy finds himself sucked deeper and deeper into the seamy side of the political process, and an old enemy from Jimmy’s past targets Holly’s soldiers one by one. Will Jimmy and Holly’s love survive the double onslaught-or will they be the final target of their unknown enemy’s rage?
Thank you, Emily, for sharing your stories!
Thanks for having me, Christine!
Wonderful post Emily!
To people who don’t interact with veterans or wounded warriors, your books put faces and emotions to a concept that may be no closer than their television set or newspaper. That’s wonderful. And it’s great to hear that San Antonio residents assimilate and welcome these veterans into their hearts. Thanks for sharing. Great post!
Your series sounds terrific, Emily. Congratulations and best of luck!