I never set out on a mission to write the Coming Home books. From the beginning, they were stories I wanted to tell, I just didn’t know how to tell them. I wanted to write about soldiers – active duty soldiers who were still soldiers – who were facing everything the war and the army and life had to throw at them. I wanted to give soldiers a happily ever after.
It turns out, I was writing on a mission after all. As these stories took shape, one after another, I started to really feel like these stories were making a difference. I’ve received reader emails telling me how much they loved that I wrote about sergeants instead of just officers. That email still makes me smile because I used to be an NCO before I transitioned over to the dark side and became an officer. Oh and I married an NCO, too. But never mind that.
Each book in the Coming Home series deals with issues that some of our returning warriors have faced. From getting blown up (SFC Shane Garrison in BECAUSE OF YOU and SGT Vic Carponti in I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS) to learning how to be a husband and a father again (CPT Trent Davila in BACK TO YOU) to getting ready to deploy for a tour during the Surge (CPT Evan Loehr and CPT Claire Montoya). SFC Reza Iaconelli has to learn to face his demons and his addiction in ALL FOR YOU. And CPT Ben Teague and MAJ Olivia Hale square off over a soldier who’s under investigation for a very bad thing in IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU.
I love writing these books. I love getting reader emails telling me I’ve got it right, even when I’m terrified about the reception of my treatment of PTSD and alcoholism (ALL FOR YOU).
But the best part about writing is knowing that somewhere, my books have made a difference. I received a note from a young soldier getting ready to deploy. She was a young mom, getting ready to leave her little girl for the first time. I talked her through my experiences of leaving my kids and through the really rough transition of coming home again. I was honest with her and encouraging but at the end of the day, she wouldn’t have found me if not for my books and because of readers who help spread the word and make this all worthwhile.
So thank you, readers, for letting me do something that I love. For encouraging me to do something I believe in. And for never giving up on me.