By Rosalie Spielman
Being a military spouse makes it challenging to have a career. Due to moving often, if you didn’t have a “portable career” like nursing or teaching, it’s very hard to find work when experience is required. I’ve noticed many of my peers have gone into creative endeavors. Myself, I played with the idea of writing for years. Between being a history major in college, then an Army Officer, my topics of interest were not surprising. From historical novels set during World War II to non-fiction on females in the military, I would occasionally start researching or outlining. So it’s no surprise that when I started writing fiction, naturally I wrote a female military veteran as my main character.
My new release, Welcome Home to Murder, originally had a hook of my protagonist being a mechanic, in addition to be a retired Army Officer. The mechanic aspect was a hard sell. I thought publishers might want something different, but it was too different. The publisher who made an offer for my series asked that I de-emphasize the mechanic aspect (so long to my punny mechanic titles!) but they were right. The focus of the book had always been my character having served and the meaning of “home” for her. Thus was reborn the Hometown Mysteries series.
I’ve been “military” for as long as I can remember. After I got out of the Army, I still lived in the military community as a spouse for more than twenty years, where “home is where the Army sends you.” Where we live now is the first time I’ve lived in a civilian community since I was in college. There are military folks around, but it is still as different as night and day.
My biggest problem during editing of Welcome Home to Murder was the repeated, “I don’t know what you mean / what this is” from my editor. I thought I had written without military terms, avoiding ranks, occupations, and using acronyms without explanation. But I hadn’t realized how ingrained my base of knowledge was. It went deeper than not using a page full of military jargon. Some terms and acronyms are understood, like MIA, but what about if I say “motorpool” or “rank and grade” or a slang term like “grunt,” would it be understood easily? Some terms can be understood through context. But if I see a blank look on my civilian neighbor’s face when I say, “I’m running to the commissary, do you need anything?” then I probably need to reword for the readers as well. (The civilian meaning of commissary is not the same as the military one. The civilian word means a restaurant inside a store or office building, but to military folks, it’s the grocery store!)
When all was said and done, at its heart, my story is about someone who is hurting, returning home but feeling out of place. There are many, many people, civilian and military, who understand that feeling. My character does discuss some of the harder issues facing military personnel, but I didn’t want her mental health to be a driving theme of the story. But it is part of experience. She had a fiancé who was killed in action, as well as other losses that weigh heavily on her, and she does discuss with other characters what we refer to as the hidden wounds of war.
I was incredibly touched when my publisher, Gemma Halliday Publishing, offered to donate a portion of the proceeds of all sales in the release month of June to the veterans charity of my choice. The DAV, or Disabled American Veterans, helps so many service members with the physical and mental wounds, as well as assisting retirees when they exit the military, and was my choice for Gemma Halliday Publishing’s generous offer.
Welcome Home to Murder arrives 7 June, 2022! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZCG6FJ6
Originally from a tiny town in the Palouse region of Idaho, as a military brat, veteran, and military spouse (retired), Rosalie Spielman has moved more times than she has fingers to count on!
Somewhere along the way, she discovered that she could make other people laugh with her writing. Rosalie enjoys reading to escape from the real world and hopes to give you the same sense of escape with her stories.
Rosalie’s first book, Death Under the Sea, part of the Aloha Lagoon mysteries series, was released in 2021. In addition to Welcome Home to Murder, she will have a second Aloha Lagoon mystery, Death On a Cliff, releasing this August, as well as a short story in the Chesapeake Crimes: Magic is Murder! anthology. She also blogs with Writers Who Kill and is a member of Sisters in Crime.
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