Tuesday: About the Book – “Collateral Damage”

Damn the Consequences! Full Speed Ahead!

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. I had been messing around with elements of the story-military hero, a mom heroine, a thriller plot, but I wanted something global at the core of the plot that would affect everyone individually as well. Then 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 someones decided to use that new fuel to gain world-wide power? What if? What if? What if?

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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 romantic 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 (thanks to Diane Perkins at Lady Jane’s Salon) 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?

Now let me introduce you to the hero of Collateral Damage.

Meet Jack “DT” Hunter…

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death…

Pink Floyd’s “Time” hammered through Sergeant First Class Jack Hunter’s brain as he tightened his grip on the treadmill and ran harder, his heart pounding, his lungs burning. Rage tinged with fear made for a potent Power Bar that fueled his drive. Sweat poured from his brow and his body screamed for relief, but he couldn’t stop. Not yet. His vision dimmed, and President Anderson’s address on the overhead TV calling for a swift but rational retaliation to al-Qaeda’s latest attack became nothing but a blur in his mind.

Life often hinged on the details, those seemingly insignificant microscopic events that most people trampled over obliviously. He’d trained to notice the details and to remember them. Yet no matter how hard he tried, his memory of the mission in Lebanon remained a kaleidoscope of combat images and one man’s mocking blue eyes…Jack clenched his teeth against the rising pain inside him. He took being team leader to heart both on and off the battlefield. The mission and his men were his responsibility. Rico, Pecos and Neil were his Delta brothers, and it killed him that he could only remember bits and pieces of what happened.

They’re here, DT. They’re alive! Will Taylor’s—aka Pecos—distorted voice echoed in Jack’s mind, sucking him down a long tunnel of fragmented memories… Suddenly Jack’s head jerked back as his headphones were snatched off and Lt. Col. Roger Weston, his Delta Team commander, whom the teams called Commander Weston because anything less didn’t fit his hard-edged charisma, got in his face. “Son of a bitch, DT. Are you trying to kill yourself?”

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 find first three chapters of Collateral Damage on my website.

Enjoy
J.L. Saint

CONTEST

You will be entered to win an electronic copy of Collateral Damage if you comment here or e-mail me and tells me who Conrad Gardner kills in the third chapter excerpt on my website. Contest ends on Wednesday, February 9, 2011.

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