What is it about Men in Uniform? Alison Bruce, the author of A Bodyguard to Remember, dishes the dirt on how this series got started! If you like Romantic Suspense with humour, you will love this book. I did. Read my review at the end.
There's something about Men in Uniform...
by Alison Bruce
It was NaNoWriMo time (National Novel Writing Month) and I was determined to complete my 60,000 words this time. At the same time, I wanted an escape from the mundane adventures of being a single parent of two active kids and a father who kept forgetting he couldn’t be as active any more. I started with “There was a dead man in my living room” and ran with it for 30 days, 60,000 words and three love interests – all men in uniform. Then
I stopped, took a deep breath, and started making sense of the story so far.
First, the research…
I’m a stickler for research. Because of that, I’ve given up most of my shyness in asking strangers questions. When I met a woman at a conference and found out her husband was a retired homicide detective, I had no compunction about enlisting her help getting an interview. At the same conference, I met a woman who was a Police Academy dropout. (She couldn’t shoot to kill.) I almost missed a workshop because I got caught up talking to her about police culture.
Fortunately, I had done a fair bit of research on the various levels of law enforcement for DEADLY LEGACY. I knew, for instance, that if I wanted to involve the RCMP in Ontario, I had to have a case involving national security. Why RCMP? Because I fondly remembered being a reference for a fellow Girl Guide when she applied. (Actually, she used my mother, our guide Captain, as her reference but she was out and the officers interviewed me instead.)
My motto: take advantage of ANY research opportunity…
A few months later I might have decided to make the investigators Ontario Provincial Police officers and made the dead man a drug dealer instead of a spy. That was after being in a car accident.
Strapped to a backboard, unsure of whether I had whiplash or a broken neck, I asked the OPP officer taking my statement if knew anyone willing to talk to me about police life. He did and I later had a great interview with Constable Bob Cloes.
My son got a kick out of having a uniformed officer visiting our house. He wasn’t quite so happy when we were out together and I introduced myself to bicycle cop. And my children will never let my live down my military encounter when I took a wrong turn on the way to Owen Sound.
It wasn’t the wrong turn. It wasn’t my getting out, asking for directions. It was the time I took and the silly grin on my face when I got back into the van. Hey, how often does a forty-something single mother get to flirt with a tall, handsome artillery sergeant?
Real emotions make a work richer…
I trained with the army and drank with Special Forces. My father was in the navy. My grandfather was in the air force. And my aunt, to whom I dedicated A Bodyguard to Remember, was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. I’ve been listening to their stories all my life and they speak, more or less, through my stories
During NaNoWriMo, a fellow entrant chatted with me from Afghanistan, where he was stationed. There was a lot I could not ask him, but I did ask about how it felt to leave home to serve overseas and how he felt about coming home. I drew on that when writing about Merrick’s son Nate. In fact, you might say that real soldier was as much a father to Nate as Merrick was.
The cutting room floor
I have to admit, I went a little overboard representing the various branches of law enforcement and military. I had enough uniforms to start a parade. In the editorial process, those secondary characters and their plots were trimmed. The love interests were pared down to a manageable number. As my editor pointed out, they could be featured in future novels. Still, it hurt a bit to cut them. In the journey from first draft to publication, they’d become old friends.
What can I say? There’s something about men – and women - in uniform.
Book 1 Men in Uniform
By Alison Bruce
“Classic romantic suspense spiced with warmth and humour”
“This is a fun read and Bruce is a talented storyteller”
Prudence Hartley has the same problems of every other single mom: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day's work done; oh, don't forget about dinner. But everything is about to change for Pru when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact.
Suddenly Pru's problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous. When a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody, Pru has so many questions running through her brain she doesn't know where to begin.
How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are they after her now? Oh and there's one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?
· Lachesis Publishing Inc http://lachesispublishing.com/?product=a-bodyguard-to-remember-by-alison-bruce
· Chapters/Indigo Online
Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical western romance novels.
A Book to Remember!
Review by Melodie Campbell
A Bodyguard to Remember starts with a bang. Dead body on the floor and a protagonist who is very much alive with humour and warmth. From the beginning, I was hooked on Pru. Her sense of humour and good moral compass are a delight. But dead bodies bring the police, and there is a mystery to be solved. Who killed the stranger? And why leave the body in Pru's living room? Not only is she a suspect, but her own life could be at stake. I won't give away the plot, but what happens next is classic romantic suspense.
Let me state how refreshing it is to have a heroine who is into her thirties and who actually has children. Bruce handles this deftly; the children provide believable motivation for a lot of Pru's actions. We admire her even more because of how she manages to deal with the angst of protecting her children instead of just herself.
A Bodyguard to Remember is the best type of romance book; lots happens, more than just love is at stake, and you don't know who Pru will end up with until the very end. This is a fun read, and Alison Bruce is a talented storyteller. My kind of book. Five stars.
Melodie Campbell is the award winning author of The Goddaughter series.