Hi All! It’s Lilly Cain and I am welcoming guest author Liz Borino! Liz was kind enough to answer some questions for us while she is on tour for her new book, No Flag!
For Mike and Will, “No Flag” meant “come home alive”, but will their love survive what happens next?
Captain Mike Kelley does not ignore his intuition, so when sexy bartender Will Hayes captures his heart, Mike embarks on a mission to win him over to a Domestic Discipline relationship. Will accepts with one caveat: Mike must promise not to renew his Army contract. Mike agrees, and they spend a year building a life together, getting married, and starting a business.
Only days before their café’s grand opening, Mike receives news that threatens everything he and Will have built. The Army invokes the Stop Loss military policy to involuntarily extend his commission and send him back overseas. Will, left alone to cope with the café, must rely on the support of old friends who may be no longer be trustworthy. Through emails and Skype calls, Mike and Will keep their love and structure alive…until the day a horrific terrorist attack occurs on Mike’s outpost.
Mike awakens in a hospital with a devastating injury and no his memory of the attack. As the only survivor, Mike’s memory may be the key to national security. Mike struggles to cope with his injury and Will struggles to support the man who always held him up. Both fear they have lost their previous relationship. Will has Mike back rather than a folded flag, but in the aftermath of war, can they rebuild the life they had before? Especially when those closest to them may not have their best interests at heart?
What inspired your main characters? I heard about an Army mechanic who had his contract involuntarily extended because he was so talented at his job. Up until this point, I had not realized the military could legally force you to stay beyond your original contract terms. But through Stop Loss, they can not only extend your contract, but deploy you for an additional year. For someone who is building a civilian life, this is a devastating concept. So, my main characters are inspired by the solider forced overseas and his spouse left to cope at home.
Where do you write? Usually my bedroom, but wherever the muse strikes.
What book do you wish you’d written? A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham. His characters have such incredible depth that their haunting stories stayed with me long after the book ended.
You have to jump out of a plane w/ a holey parachute or edit your 100K MS by hand, what do you do? I guess edit my MS because that choice is only 80% likely to kill me and the holey parachute has a 100% chance… unless the plane is really close to the ground… then I’ll take my chances.
Do you see writing as a career? Yes, I do. I need to, or else I won’t take it seriously enough to work at it, at which point it could never be a career.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Nothing major. There are always sentence level things I could change, but that is an endless cycle of perfectionism. On the whole, though, I am very proud of No Flags.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
(July 7, 2012) The News
Bombs exploded on the evening news, one after the other. Body parts flew past the camera. The headline across the bottom of the screen read: “20 Army Intelligence Officers Dead.”
“Early this morning, a bomb exploded in the Army Intelligence building, killing twenty American soldiers from Platoon 518,” the blond newswoman reported.
Will Kelley squinted as the fuzzy security images played behind the woman’s head, searching through the chaos for reassurance. Nothing. His heart pounded and he tried to swallow, but found only dry air in his mouth and throat. The female reporter described the weapons used and structural damage done in vivid detail, which made for sensational television, but failed to answer any questions for the people at home. Victims’ families had to be notified before the media could release their names. So blondie would lose her job if she read the list in front of her.
“What the hell are you doing, man? We open in thirty minutes and you’re watching television?” Seth, his roommate, demanded from the doorway of the living room.
“Answered your own question, didn’t you?” Will responded.
“Are you ready?”
“No.” Will did not take his eyes off the screen. “I’ll drive myself.”
The report flashed to an increase in allergies in children, so Will switched to another station while typing “Attack on American S2 Building in Afghanistan” into Google. It wouldn’t be that easy, though. So Will tried several more combinations of search terms before finding a video shot by an insurgent involved in the attack. The camera shuddered. Focused on different areas of the chaos. Men ripping clothes off soldiers. Looting. Bodies blown to bits. A man removing computer hard drives. And only one face. On the severed head of Major Evans.
“Will!” Seth jabbed him in the shoulder with a pen. Will forced his eyes away from the computer. “What happened?”
“Mike’s platoon was attacked. Twelve survivors.”
“Shit,” Seth said. “Can you call…?”
Will took a slug from the nearby water bottle. “Who? No one will talk to me. I’m not my husband’s family.”
Seth stared at him for a long moment and said, “I’ll have Casey cover for you.”
Will stood and shook his head. “Why? I can’t do anything here except watch the same videos over and over. May as well see if I can make some money.” He shut his computer and set it on the side table. “Meet you there. I won’t be too late. Promise.” He had to stop himself from scoffing as the meaningless word left his lips.
“Will…” Seth began.
“You wanted me to move, I’m moving! Go. I’ll be there.” He walked toward his bedroom, Seth’s gaze burning into his back. Stopping to throw a glance over his shoulder, he added, “Don’t tell Casey. I can do without her mother-henning me.”
“Sure,” he agreed.
“Thanks,” Will said as he climbed the steps and closed his bedroom door. He leaned against the wood cutting him off from the rest of the world. His eyes roamed the four walls decorated with band posters, a white board, and his wedding picture. Will strode over and fingered the golden frame. Behind the glass lay a photograph of Will and Mike in tuxes in the middle of their first dance. Their smiles easily outshined the gold on the frame. Mike had always been handsome with broad, built shoulders and muscular pecs, leading to abs you could grate cheese on.
But none of that stood out to Will, not on their wedding day of the year before. Mike’s blue eyes radiated a strength and hope. Will removed his wedding band to read the promise inscribed: No Flag.
Please keep your promise, Mike, Will thought as he took a deep breath and tore himself away from the picture and the crushing memories it brought. He had a job to do tonight.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Turning off the inner editor. She’s loud and likes to berate my repeated words before I get the ideas onto the page.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? Authors should always learn something when writing their books. The research for No Flag included increasing my understanding of the military and the life of an amputee. These cultures are worlds away from the one I live in.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Know the heart of your story and characters before submitting it to editors/publishers whatever. Be prepared to defend that. Because someone will try to change it. However – and this is important – be willing to listen to suggestions about elements that can be altered without threatening the story’s core.
Please answer all of these:
Chest hair or no? Yes (emphasis intentional)
Fly/Drive? Fly, if it’s a distance where flight is an option.
Thanks, Liz! We’re so happy you could pop over to Silken Sheets and Seduction! Good luck with your new book!
To check out No Flag, pop on over to these links:
Happy Reading everyone!