by Jennifer St. Giles
That was Sergeant First Class Jack Hunter’s only viable option in Collateral Damage, the first book in my Silent Warrior Series. These books are romantic thrillers featuring military heroes and heroines with extraordinary hearts. Collateral Damage starts two weeks after Jack has been seriously wounded on a FUBAR mission in Lebanon. Jack sees the picture of prominent American businessman, Bill Collins, on the news, who he swears he killed in Lebanon two weeks ago, but nobody believes him, especially since Collins reportedly died in Brazil just yesterday. Leaving the hospital, Jack goes AWOL to uncover the truth. Instead of answers, he gets assassins, more questions, and a terrorist plot that threatens to ignite a world war. As Jack fights to keep Lauren Collins, Bill’s estranged widow and her twin sons alive, he lays more than his life on the line and stands to lose everything when the truth behind Bill’s death comes to light.
There is an interesting story behind Collateral Damage. In early 2001, I read a magazine article about mining from asteroids in the near future and being the writer that I am, my mind whirled with “what if’ questions. What if a new or highly concentrated element was discovered? What if that element became the basis for a new super fuel? What if someone or group of someone’s decided to use that new fuel to gain world-wide power? What if? What if? What if?
I sat down and wrote the proposal for the story then. I set the story ten years in the future and used the world’s dependency on oil and inflamed religious factions to bring about global chaos as the backdrop for the story. I chose an extraordinary soldier for my hero and an ordinary mom for my heroine and threw them into the deep end of trouble where they uncover the truth, conquer the odds against them, and fall in love with the best and worst of each other. I sent the proposal out to agents and editors.
Then 9/11 happened and no one wanted to touch the story. Al-Qaeda and terrorists were issues too sensitive to use, especially for a romance writer. I went on to become published in the historical and paranormal suspense markets and Collateral Damage sat in my file cabinet for nine years. But the way the real world events kept playing out since 9/11, I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I kept seeing how ripe the world was for this “what if scenario” and I finally decided in 2010 to write the book.
To make the story less sci-fi and more realistic, I went from a space mined fuel to an algae-based biofuel and I went from generic American businessmen to a ruthless environmentalist as the mastermind behind the plot.
My next problem was to bring the big world plot down to a personal level. In the book, both Jack and Lauren, my every day hero and heroine, are affected by collateral damage from the choices other people in the story make. They learn from each other that how they deal with the fallout is what determines the quality of their future. In fact, I think that in one way or another everyone becomes a victim to collateral damage in their life. What do you think?
This is my first military inspired thriller and my first e-book release. I would love to hear from you on your opinion of the book and also the e-book format.
You can listen to the audio from when Jennifer was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Ghost in the Machine podcast here: https://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WyZgXJ7k