Author Suzanne Brockmann supports the troops

Posted Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Nearly 20 years after author Suzanne Brockmann told the story of Prince Joe, Navy SEALS remain at the heart of her storytelling.

The Navy’s special operations force captured the attention of the longtime military history buff in 1995. Brockmann was looking for a hero for her next book when a friend insisted that she read a Newsweek article about the basic underwater demolition training that SEALs must endure.

“SEAL training is impossibly difficult,” Brockmann wrote in an email. “I’m forever and always fascinated by the type of person who chooses to face that incredible physical and mental challenge.

“You have to be really smart, really fit and absolutely motivated — and a good sense of humor is important, too,” she wrote. “That’s everything I could ask for in a romance hero!”

Brockmann has spent much of the past few weeks traveling along the East Coast and in the Southeast promoting Do or Die and Ian Dunn, the hero of the first book in her “Reluctant Heroes” trilogy, which debuted this month. On a recent Sunday evening, she was snowed in at her Massachusetts home, and took time to answer questions via email.

Do or Die is a high-octane adventure filled with a cast of memorable characters that will likely attract a new wave of readers while at the same time satisfying Brockmann’s longtime fans.

Brockmann spent the first 13 years of this century spinning the tales of “Troubleshooters” — Navy SEALS, former SEALS and FBI agents — who repeatedly save the world while falling in love. Although she has shifted to a new cast, Brockmann remains in the “Troubleshooters” universe, as characters from that series join the action.

“Readers who love the ‘Troubleshooter’ books will find it very familiar,” Brockmann wrote, “while readers who are new to my books will find it a good place to start. It’s still got the same mix of action, adventure, romance, teamwork — and, of course, plenty of former military heroes!”

As in the “Troubleshooters” series, the characters of Do or Die represent a cross-section of America that blends together seamlessly rather than being a segregated cast. Brockmann writes that her fans expect an expansive worldview.

“My readers have thoroughly embraced the diversity in my books,” she wrote.

But while her worldview remains constant, the military heroes in Do or Die are a departure from the patriots of “Troubleshooters” and Brockmann’s earlier “Tall, Dark and Dangerous” series from the mid-1990s. It’s obvious from the outset of Do or Die that Ian Dunn is a rogue, a rogue for good reasons, perhaps, but one clearly comfortable living outside the law.

The story begins with a prologue that recounts how Ian looted treasures from Nazi descendants so that the items could be returned to Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

Brockmann wrote that she has been a fan of reluctant heroes “ever since Han Solo took my breath away in Star Wars!” But the characterization is a bit tricky when it comes to the military, because they frequently are “the guys who step forward and volunteer.”

Dunn, whose military service is complete, is a shift away from the Captain America characterization. “I wanted to do something a little different with this trilogy — combine everything I love about SEAL heroes with those more roguelike aspects of reluctant heroes.”

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