Reading and Writing Military Characters

Hello, SEers. Mae here, kicking off the week with you. Today is Veterans Day in the United States. A time to honor all the men and women who have served in our military. Many of you have family members who have served (or are serving). Others may even write books with military heroes or enjoy reading books that feature men and women of the armed services.

My question for you today:
Have you ever written a book with a military hero or character?

My first release, Weathering Rock, featured a Union Colonel from the American Civil War. Although it was a time travel romance, I took special care with Caleb DeCardian. Not only was he the hero of my novel,  he was also a hero of America’s bloodiest war.

As a reader, I enjoy novels set during the Civil War and the American Revolution. I’ve read quite a few, and also have an extensive nonfiction collection devoted to both time periods. In addition, I’ve read several novels featuring military (or ex-military) heroes set in present day. Military fiction—especially of the romance variety—is a popular genre.

If you enjoy military fiction and heroes, you’ll like THIS LIST on Goodreads. It features New Releases, Most Read (for the Week), Popular, and a series of lists broken out by category. On the other hand, if you prefer nonfiction THIS is the list for you.

To close, I want to share a book written by my father. If you’re a follower of my personal blog, I apologize if you’ve already seen this. My dad was a vet of WWII. He never talked about the war or what he experienced, but as a twenty-two year old solider in the Pacific Theater, he kept a journal. Later, he struck all the personal information, self-published the book, and gave each man in his regiment a copy so they would have a record of what took place. You won’t find my father’s name on the cover or anywhere in the book, and all you’ll find in the preface are his initials. Published in 1946, I have one of only two remaining copies in my family. Even more precious, I have the original typewritten manuscript, AND my father’s original handwritten notebook from 1945 (note the date on the paper below).

Naturally, I treasure these. Given Veterans Day, I thought they made a good share. My love of writing stems mostly from my father, who penned multiple stories in his younger years. Although he passed away when I was thirteen, his gift of words and the gift he gave to his country remains.

Have you ever written a book with a military hero or character? Do you read military fiction or nonfiction? Do you have a favorite book featuring  a military character? 

It’s time to share your thoughts. Ready, Set, Go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair



44 thoughts on “Reading and Writing Military Characters

  1. This is such a touching story, Mae. I am sorry you lost your father at such a young age. My biological father died when I was three months old but I have a dad who my mom married when I was 2 years old. My biological father was a chartered accountant who wanted to be a painter – I see some family traits there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t imagine what your mother went through, losing her husband when you were so young. I’m very sorry, but it sounds like you had a wonderful dad in your life when your mother later remarried. It’s interesting the connections to your biological father. Knowing what I do about you, I see those similar family traits, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was a very lucky girl, Mae, to end up with such a great dad. I have three lovely half sisters too so my life definitely turned out well despite the loss of my biological father. I never knew him so it didn’t really impact me although I sometimes think how horrible it must have been for my mom to watch her husband die of a heart attack in front of her. My son, Greg, is apparently very like Bill (my father) who was said to be an extraordinarily clever man.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful piece of your father to still have! My father served 25 years in the Army. We are lucky that he never was called to serve in a war, and he is still with us today. I am sure each of your father’s fellow soldiers treasured that gift from him. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Yevette. I really do treasure these things my father left behind.
      Wow! Twenty-five years is a long time. You must be very proud of your father. I know the military life is not for everyone, but I am so thankful for all those who serve and have served.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember you posting about these a long time ago. I think it’s wonderful that you have them, and that you shared them with us today. With the kind of stories I write, my answer is kind of. Both Coop and Ethan from Panama were cavalrymen and were in Cuba with Roosevelt. Pure fiction, but that might count. The hat certainly got involved in all kinds of historic issues, but those remain unknown so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thrilled to have these after all this time, Craig. They’ll be passed on in my family for another generation to treasure.

      I remember Coop and Ethan, though it’s been a while since I’ve read Panama. And wow, you could do all kinds of things with the hat. I sense a plethora of novellas waiting to be written! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your dad was a very handsome man, Mae. To think your father’s notebook survived the war and landed in your treasured hands- I’m sure it gives you chills at times. I’ve written a series around a Navy SEAL Team. It starts with them on tour and then as they transition out. I spent a lot of time researching, took classes, watched movies (I know, not always reliable) and joined a group called Crime scene writer and one on Goodreads- Crime writer How To, both with military personnel. I also have beta readers in the military and count on them to correct me if I mess up! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, Jacquie, you really put a lot of time into your research. That shows a great deal of respect for the type of people you are writing about. I applaud you for all of that effort. I know books about Navy Seals have a huge following and hope your series is doing well (I’m sure it is!)

      And, yeah, I think my dad probably could have done some movies in his day, LOL. Thanks so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved the story of your dad, Mae. Mine also served in the Pacific in WWII. I have included some military men in my stories. Tons of research needed too. My current WIP has the protagonist landing in France on D-day. He was sent there by Lucifer to learn a lesson in humility.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a precious, priceless memory to have your dad’s book and manuscript. My dad was in World War II but never talked about it. I helped a friend write his story of being a pilot in World War Ii, NEW GUINEA SKIES by Wayne Rothgeb, and really enjoyed working on his story with him. I had a signed copy of it for years, but one of his best friends who served in World War II, too, and asked for it, and I gave it to him. Neil was on a warship in the navy. My husband and a lot of our friends served in Vietnam, and my grandson’s in the marines right now. I respect all of our military, but I don’t have the mindset to write about war. It depresses me.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What an incredibly amazing thing for your father to do, Mae. I am sure it was healing to him to put it all into writing. The current WIP I am writing for NaNo features a main character who is a soldier. He returned from Afghanistan missing a leg and carrying outward and inward scars. I am not familiar with the military so I had to do quite a bit of research, but the missing leg I have first-hand experience with as well at PTSD. I never want to show weakness in my soldier. He struggles to keep his demons and insecurities hidden, especially from the beautiful lady that landed in his life with a bucket full of her own troubles. I am truly enjoying bringing these two characters to life! Thank you for sharing this post, Mae!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jan, your characters sound so interesting. I’m glad NaNo is prompting you to work on this story because it sounds like one for a reader to lose their heart in. I can’t wait to meet both of these characters when the book is finally ready for unveiling!
      I’m not sure why my dad ever did print that book, but I am so glad I have it. I like to think all the members of his troop appreciated it, since it was about them as a unit and not him as an individual. Wishing you a wonderful Veteran’s Day, a prolific NaNo and happy writing! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t really read anything with military heroes since I tend to stick with fantasy. Not sure if you can count ‘Ender’s Game’, which I enjoy since it’s fictional. Never tried the archetype either. Closest character I have to a military one is a retired mercenary who runs a warrior academy. I think I just can’t be sure I’m getting the mentality right and people seem to be very sensitive about how you portray a military man or woman.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with that Charles, especially if the character is from contemporary times. In many ways I think it’s easier writing military characters from a historical time period where there is more wiggle room for interpretation.And writing mercenaries and warrior characters in fantasy or science-fiction also counts. There is still a lot to nail down about the mindset!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have the utmost respect for men and women of our military. I’m especially fond of stories written during the Civil War period (I don’t think I’ve read one set during the Revolutionary War). I do have an ancestor who fought in that war. As far as writing, I have a minor character in my last book that was a Vietnam Vet. I wrote a time travel story where a Naval Aviator travels back in time to World War II (another period of history that holds a lot of interest for me).

    My current WIP has another minor character who is former military. He will be the MC in the second book of the series. Thanks for the Goodreads links. Going to check them out.

    And I loved hearing the story of your father again.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I remember both of the military characters you mentioned, Joan. I also remember being extremely impressed how well you handled the WWII era. That was a great story.
      I can’t wait to met your new character. It’s cool to hear you’ll be getting his own tale down the road.
      And thanks about my dad—I just love these treasures!

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Hubby and I have a couple of books my father-in-law wrote about his years of naval service. Fascinating stuff and a real treasure.I’ve written futuristic military service but not historical. Great post, Mae, and a great share of your father’s writing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • How wonderful you wrote military heroes, Denise. Outside of Caleb DeCardian in Weathering Rock, I’ve never tried. I think that’s fabulous!

      And yes, I love those treasures from my dad. They hold a special place in my heart.

      Happy Veterans Day!

      Liked by 2 people

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