When I sat down to write Nickels, I looked to my own life and past for inspiration. Everyone always advises authors to write what you know. So, I thought the perfect career for my main character, Niki Turner, was the career I have been working in for the past twenty years—software engineer (computer programmer).
Since my career inspired a great deal of what happens in the novel, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a few other things from my life. I had to tie in some aspect of the two years I spent overseas in Germany on a military base. In my case, I was married to an Airman. Though Niki moves to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany as a teenager, I still drew on my experience and first-hand knowledge of the military.
I don’t exactly know when my love affair with the US Military began. Perhaps it was as a young girl when my sister and I spent hours studying the Air Force ranks in volume “A” of the encyclopedia set my parents purchased. Maybe the detailed stories we invented planted a seed.
Regardless, at the age of 21, I found myself married to a military man and suddenly thrust into an entirely different culture and country. After two years and much heart ache, I left a bad situation, but my love for our military survived. Even my second husband served our country for eight years, though I met him long after he became a civilian again.
Somehow, the back story for Niki began weaving together in my mind. She faced tragedy and was left to her brother’s care. He was stationed at Ramstein and at the tender age of 14, she experienced the same culture shock I did. It was here that she first met Kyle Jacobs—a true military brat and typical teenage guy—while attending high school on the military base.
From my experience, I learned that many families have a legacy of military service. It seemed only natural that Kyle Jacobs would grow up to be a pilot in the Air Force, just like his dad. Only his story takes a twist. He doesn’t follow completely in his father’s footsteps and his career is cut short. Suddenly he’s thrust back into the civilian life, dreams shattered and recovering from deep grief over his time in Iraq.
In Nickels, I cover many aspects of the military life: growing up on a military base, marriage in the military, long military careers, and careers cut short by tragedy. Each main character is shaped by their experience with the military life and each must overcome some aspect of that life to move forward with their own.
These experiences are such a part of who I am that I felt compelled to include many aspects of the modern military life in this contemporary romance. I hope this story will leave readers with a greater respect for the sacrifices service men and women and their families make for us each and every day. May God continue to bless the USA through them.