Have you ever read a fictional book centered on a military spouse? I haven’t. And as I have been pondering to write a series for years now, I thought I’d make my protagonist one of this literarily neglected species.
It is obvious that I could use some of my few years’ experiences as a military spouse as well as that of a freelancer with a suburban daily paper in my hometown Stuttgart, Germany. Add a real series of stable fires in the same area – and that’s how inspiration comes.
Enter Emma Schwarz, whom readers of my Wycliff novel “Greener Grass” have already encountered as Emma Wilde. In “Greener Grass” she is already a military spouse, waiting for her immigration visa to the U.S. In my new novel “Ashes to Ashes”, the first of my new Emma Wilde series, sort of a spin-off (or spin-towards?) of the Wycliff novels, she is still a single and writes about social and cultural topics for her paper. As she comes across the site of a barn fire, she also meets who will be her future spouse, Air Force member Oscar “Ozzie” Wilde, who is stationed on a base in England. They both figure by circumstantial evidence – a vanished horse – that there is something rotten. But whereas Ozzie has to leave the next day, Emma sets herself to the task to find the horse – and stumbles across the next arson. As she finds out about a war of roses between a famous equestrian and her ex-husband, Ozzie has to watch helplessly from afar how Emma obstinately follows the horse into a web of greed, abuse, and ambition.
I should hope that lovers of romance find theirs as well as those of mystery novels do. Above all, I thought it was high time to present a protagonist who is a military spouse AND very much a woman of her own. I added some local flavor, this time of my fictional Stuttgart suburb Filderlingen; those who know the area a bit will feel quite at home.
Is the “Ashes to Ashes” autobiographical? No. Emma is not I, nor is Ozzie a copy of my husband. Just as I have never dug around criminal events or groomed a horse.
If you are interested in reading my latest novel, check out this link, please. And to the fans of my Wycliff series – no worries, I’m in the think tank for the next plot. Recipes included.