posted on October 22, 2019 by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

“It’s Die Hard…with romance…”

I’ll admit it, Die Hard has long been my favorite movie. Some might say this is a strange choice for a romance writer—but then, some might say I’m a strange romance writer generally…yeah, moving on! I’ve loved Die Hard ever since I first saw it in the cinema as a teen. I loved the wise-cracking reluctant hero. A man whose honor won’t allow him to do anything but fight for what’s right, even though he’d rather someone else was doing the fighting. I loved the complexity of the bad guy, played by the astounding Alan Rickman. I loved that all the secondary characters are unique in their own rights and memorable—how many other films can say that? But most of all, I loved the writing of the movie. It’s so densely written. There are no wasted words or scenes—from the first scene where we see John McClane’s fear of flying and realize this isn’t your usual action hero, to the last scene where Holly’s Rolex is released and left to fall from the tower in order to end the bad guy. The same Rolex that’s a symbol of her turning her back on family to follow ambition. (And yeah, I still think John should have just supported his wife and moved with her!) The point is, the movie is a tightly written, gloriously plotted, witty action ride from beginning to end.

And Red Awakening is my love letter to Die Hard.

In Red Awakening, we have a reluctant hero in Mace. He doesn’t want anything to do with the world, and thinks it should sort its own problems. But when he gets pulled into those same problems, Mace fights with honor for what’s right—although he does it with deep sarcasm. He also doesn’t do it alone, because Red Awakening is romance. So I gave him a woman who’s the other half of his personality. Where Mace considers, Keiko is reckless. Where Mace has skills, Keiko has enthusiasm. Where Mace is even-keeled, Keiko has a temper. They’re two sides of a coin. But both are honorable and brave. Willing to sacrifice themselves to do what’s right.

Just like John McClane.

In fact, I loved the movie so much that I peppered my book with Die Hard Easter Eggs for other enthusiasts to find. Here are a few, so you can keep your eyes open for them:

  • Keiko spends most of her time running through CommTECH’s research facility, a sixty-eight-floor skyscraper, barefoot—just like the hero did in Die Hard. And, as in the movie, where John has to pick pieces of glass from his bare feet, underlining how vulnerable he is, there’s a scene with Keiko’s bare feet that underscores the vulnerability of both hero and heroine in Red Awakening.
  • Then, there’s Mace quoting directly from the movie when he gets his hand on a gun. That one isn’t really hidden, but you can smile when you read it.
  • In the movie, John’s famous shirt goes from white to mud brown and covered in blood. In Red Awakening, Keiko’s pristine dress gets chopped and torn.
  • In the movie, John’s only link with help is a radio to a cop who has his own issues to overcome. In the book, Mace’s only link is to his team in a van nearby, and they’re hindered by the issues they have to deal with too.
  • In the movie, John watches as someone important is sacrificed. In the book, Mace and Keiko watch as someone important loses their life.

There are lots more little Easter Eggs in the book, all twists on what happened in Die Hard, but I’ll leave them for you to find. Just, please, once you do, pop onto my Facebook page and let me know what you found. I’ll be happy to share the joy with you—as one Die Hard geek with another!

Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Janet is a Scot who moved to New Zealand fifteen years ago. Among other things, she's been an artist, a teacher, a security guard at a castle, a magazine editor, and a cleaner in a drop-in center for drug addicts (NOT the best job!). She now writes full-time and, so far, has written eighteen books. When she isn't living in her head, she raises two kids, one husband, and several random animals. She survives on chocolate and caffeine.

6 thoughts on ““It’s Die Hard…with romance…””

  1. Avatar Debra Benedict says:

    I love all of Janet’s books … and this new series, starting with Red Zone, did not disappoint. Although so different than the setting and time from her Lingerie Series, the way she writes her people, their interaction with one another and how they all have flaws – but are truly good people, this draws me into her books more and more. I cannot wait for this new book. I’ll re-read Red Zone this weekend as a prelude to Mace’s story. I love McClane and Die Hard, so can’t wait for those similarities. Janet is an awesome writer and a great person. She pays true attention to her fans on facebook and makes us all a part of her life and writing. Everyone should read her books.

    1. <3 I really hope you enjoy the book Debra. And it's set in Houston too!

  2. Avatar Clare Drexel says:

    Awesome Janet. Thanks for writing this. Love “Die Hard” and this was the first time witnessing the great actor, Alan Rickman. Became a huge fan of his after (AASF) 😉 He was the best villain. I will have to reread “Red Awakening” and look for the Easter eggs.

    1. Make sure to come tell me about them when you find them Clare!

  3. Avatar Mary says:

    Awesome. I thought often of Diehard as I was reading Red Awakening. I also loved that movie. Excellently portrayed by all the actors. It was certainly well-cast. I now will have to read it again to see if I missed any other references. Nice blog post Janet!

    1. Thanks Mary. I hope you spot them!

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