09 Mar How Real Life Experiences Contribute to My Writing
I write military thrillers to honor those who serve overseas in the military and their left-behind families. In Terror Never Sleeps, I try to unearth why Navy SEAL Jack Gunn, and in effect anyone who serves in the military, is willing to die fighting terrorism? What motivates Jack to leave his family for months at a time, knowing he may never see them again? What does it feel like to lose the trail of the terrorists who kidnapped his wife? What drives Jack to greatness and reduces him to tears?
In my latest Jack Gunn thriller, Terror Never Sleeps and my previous Warpath, I write to honor Native Americans. My protagonist, Jack Gunn, possesses unique skills that were ingrained in him as a boy by a secret sect of Native American elders, after his parents died in a car fire. Jack is a one-of-a-kind stalker of terrorists. Jack is a warrior, the likes of which the world may never see again. His specialty—hunt, track, and kill terrorists.
Terror Never Sleeps was born on the mistaken assumption of every deployed soldier; terrorists would never attack their families back home. Right? Wrong! To take it up another notch, Jack has killed many terrorists and made many enemies in the past. In Terror Never Sleeps, revenge-seeking terrorists kidnap Jack’s family and vanish without a trace. Jack is wracked with fear and guilt for not protecting the ones he loves. Nina Gunn, Jack’s wife, faces torment and torture as she fights to survive each day at the hands of the terrorists. But, Jack and Nina have secret weapons. They grew up on the same Sioux reservation. They draw on the power of their ancestor’s spirits to face the biggest challenges of their lives.
I realize it may seem odd to most of you after what America has done to Native Americans, but Native Americans are very patriotic. My wife’s family is Native American. Her father grew up on the reservation. Her relatives fought at the Battle of the Greasy Grass—Little Big Horn—with the Indians. We’ve walked those lands and witnessed their struggle. It’s not a casino-wealthy reservation, but one infested by alcohol and drugs and poverty. If by creating a strong Native American protagonist, I can promote their cause or give even one person the motivation to make a better life for them self, then I will have succeeded.
I served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman during the Vietnam War. I come from a long line of family who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle Eastern war on terror. Memorial Day is a big day in my Iowa hometown. Knowing that the Honor Guard will perform a twenty-one gun salute and present my family with an American flag at our small country cemetery is a big deal. I know. I received my father’s flag and spent Honor Guard shell casings at his funeral last year.
My main message in Terror Never Sleeps is one of hope. No matter how impossible and desperate a situation may seem, never give up. As a practicing anesthesiologist who keeps people alive during surgery, I see miracles happen every day. You may think you know what’s going to happen, but you don’t. Like Nina in Terror Never Sleeps, no matter how desperate your situation, do whatever it takes to survive from one day to the next, because one day soon, it may be your turn for a miracle.
There’s a rule of the road on the backpacking trail that applies to life; people climbing uphill have the right-of-way. Going downhill is easy. Starting takes no effort at all. In fact it takes energy not to move. That’s how life is for many. Everything is going their way. They have it all. If you’re cruising down hill, step aside and pull someone up, don’t mow them down.
Living an uphill life is another matter. Believe me, I’ve been there. Getting going is hard enough, and if someone gets in your way, you might just quit. You’re hungry, tired, sick, poor, oppressed and alone. You may be exhausted, but don’t give up. You’ll never get to the top of the mountain if you don’t keep pushing on.
That’s my dream—that people would lend a helping hand to one another.
Like the lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine—You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.
Go to www.RichardBlomberg.com. I’d love to hear your story. I’d love you to read mine.