Anyway, I feel lucky that today I get to share an awesome mil spouse book with you guys. I was recently sent a copy of The Ocean Between Us by Susan Wiggs to check out. You know I love to read, and this book was no different! I have read another by the same author before and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to read her take on the craziness that is a military marriage. If you haven't read a Wiggs book yet, or if you like mil fiction, you should check it out. It's a page turner, I promise!
CC: In Home Before Dark you pulled me in with your story in the Texas Hill Country, and with The Ocean Between Us, you clearly illustrated the sacrifices of a military wife. What do you do to make the stories and characters so authentic? How do you immerse yourself in the topics?
SW: I am endlessly fascinated by people and places. Everyone’s life seems so much more interesting than mine! This probably makes me tune in to people’s emotions and issues, finding the most dramatic way to weave them into fiction. This usually means making things sharper and more extreme than they might be in real life—and the resolution in fiction tends to be less ambiguous. I also read tons of self-help books. The good ones bring up real human issues, and show positive solutions for resolving them.
CC: I see you have lived all around the world. How has that changed you as a person and a writer?
SW: I was never tied by deep roots to a particular community, so it probably made ties with family and friends more important. I also missed all the TV shows of the 1970s while overseas—I suspect I’m better off for it! My lack of roots might be one reason I really play up the nostalgia angle in some of my books, particularly the Lakeshore books, set in a small, tight-knit community.
CC: Do you have a favorite travel destination for writing inspiration?
SW: Um, my patio? Seriously, I am incredibly lucky to live in one of the most gorgeous, dramatic spots on earth. The water and mountain views are incredibly inspirational to me. Here are some shots of an aircraft carrier passing by—no wonder I loved my Navy family in THE OCEAN BETWEEN US!
CC: How were you first inspired to write about the complex world of military marriages?
SW: I was inspired by a writer friend, Geri Krotow, who is a beloved author for Harlequin. What readers might not know about her is that she is a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, a former intelligence officer, and currently a Navy officer’s wife. She was generous enough to open her world to me when she was stationed on Whidbey in Washington, and later, Naples. My characters are purely fiction, but I tried to ground them in the world I explored through Geri.
CC: You have written more than 40 novels, spanning a number of different genres. Do you have a favorite genre to write? Do you have a favorite novel that you have written?
SW: Yikes, that’s like asking which chocolate in the Godiva box is my favorite! I have to be in love with a book because it dominates my work life for six months to a year. Each one demands a high level of passion from the writer. That said, The Ocean Between Us is definitely a favorite because of amazing people I met while writing that book—Navy wives, officers, sailors, pilots—everyone was so welcoming and helpful.
CC: I see you are a former teacher from Texas who loves to travel, take pictures, and loves to read. It seems as if we have a lot in common! Do you ever miss teaching? Do you ever miss Texas? (Please notice how I didn't beg her to be BFFs here. Totally calm, cool, and collected)
SW: I miss both. Teaching is one of the most demanding, creative and under-appreciated professions there is. And Texas—I miss the friends I made there, so long ago. And Tex-Mex food. Who wouldn’t miss that?
CC: Is there anything else my fellow military wives and I should know about you and/or your novels?
SW: Just that I have the greatest respect for them and their sacrifices on behalf of our country. I hope I did them justice in The Ocean Between Us. And I’m sorry about getting the commissary and dispensary mixed up.
CC: Thank you for the opportunity to preview your new paperback release of The Ocean Between Us. I look forward to downloading The Story of Us (the prequel to The Ocean Between Us) very soon!
How cool was that? Okay, well I thought it was cool. You should too! You know what else is cool???
You can win a copy of The Ocean Between Us! No kidding! Then you will probably want to beg Susan to be BFFs too, but remember, I was first. So, if you want to win...
1. Comment with the title of your fave book for 1.
2. Follow for 2. (Make sure to let me know you follow!)
That's all! Incomplete entries won't be counted, so make sure you follow the rules. Also, if you do win, you have to contact me within 24 hours. The winner will be chosen Monday, May 10th.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of the book to read. And a bajillion dollars. Okay, maybe not the last part.