Choosing SEALs

Suzanne Brockmann began as the lead singer in her own band and wrote for film and television before becoming a romance novelist. When she started looking into writing romance, she knew she wanted to be able to write a series with an indefinite number of installments. Following a friend’s visit to the dentist and Brockmann’s own library research, she selected her topic—Navy SEALs. Learn why she feels that writing SEALs is the perfect match for her.

Transcript

Why do you write about NAVY SEALs?

I kind of discovered the Navy SEALs when I was looking for a miniseries hook as an early — in the early stages of my romance-writing career. So I was writing category romances and I was looking for a way to tie books together, because I knew that that was another thing that readers really loved, books that were part of a series, and again I was looking to grow my readership. I was looking to create this group of readers who would follow me and who would build my numbers and make me able to buy my children shoes. [laughs] And a friend of mine — I was brainstorming ideas for some kind of hook that would tie a miniseries together, and a lot of authors used family, the Smith brothers, the seven Smith brothers and each one gets a book and that kind of thing but that had been done so often and that also was finite so I really didn’t want to go there. I was looking to write an open-ended series. I didn’t want necessarily to do a trilogy or even a seven-book series. I wanted to be able to keep going if it was successful because I really liked — as a reader I really like books that go on and on and on in terms of the series, and I knew as a writer that that would be a good fit as well.

I like to tell people I write about Navy SEALs ’cause my buddy Eric went to the dentist, and [laughs] he was in the waiting room, and he picked up an ancient copy of Newsweek magazine. It was years and years old, and in this magazine there was an article on Navy SEAL BUD/S Training Hell Week.

And Eric read that and he was like, “I have found your miniseries hook.” He called me up and I — and he basically said, “Run to the library.” So this was pre-Internet, this was before the Internet for me, and I do remember I ran to the library, and I remember sitting in the stacks among the magazines reading hard copy of this article and thinking, “Yes,” because I had been — I’ve always been — starting from back around when, I guess I was around 11, I became a World War II history buff, and so I’m fascinated by military history. I have an incredible respect for the servicemen and women who serve our country. I knew the research was going to be fascinating, and it said in this article at the time there were something like 2,874 active duty Navy SEALs in the Navy today, and I thought, “And I’ll write a book for every one of them.”

As somebody who has an incredible respect for people who will not quit, for people who have that incredible drive and incredible motivation and incredible willpower, I really felt like it was a really good match for me as a writer. And I’m also a pacifist. And so you combine that with the idea that Navy SEALs are very often used in place of conventional warfare, it just really worked for me.

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