Let’s talk about how my military experience does NOT inform my writing.
Bear with me here:
This is the thing. We are currently living through the greatest divide in our nation’s history between military and civilian. A lower percentage of Americans serve in uniform than ever before, and the results are unsurprising. A population that is increasingly cut off from the military experience fetishizes it. This is to be expected. Things we don’t have a lot of interaction with become exotic to us. Stereotypes have one drawback . . . well, they have a ton of drawbacks, but I want to hone in on this one:
They’re monolithic. They take things that are incredibly complex, and distill them down into a single item.
There’s no such thing as a “New Yorker.” We all live in New York. Beyond that, the sheer breadth of our diversity is so vast that calling us New Yorkers is effectively meaningless.
Same thing in the military. Let me give you an example (centered around my latest novel, of course). Much of the action in BREACH ZONE takes place on a Coast Guard Cutter. It’s a 225′ Juniper Class Seagoing Buoy Tender (you can read more about them here). Now I’m *in* in the Coast Guard. But the “black hull” working fleet that Juniper Classes sail in are in the cutter world, the deep-water world, and the ATON (Aids to Navigation) world. Those are all worlds that have nothing to do with my work in the Coast Guard. I’m in the small boat squadrons. We run the 25′ Defender class response boats (more on them here). We stick to law enforcement and search-and-rescue missions. There is so little in common between life on a ‘225 and life at my station that we might as well be in two different militaries. And we’re ALL the same Coast Guard.
So, when I began to write about the cutter in BREACH ZONE, I had to confront the fact that I knew nothing about the ship in question. So, I did what all writers do. I went on the Internet and researched it.
The truth is that the military has informed my writing in a million tiny ways that I will never truly have a grip on, but I don’t have a monopoly on the experience. The military influences people who’ve never served, because observing a phenomena is still participating in the experience. I don’t own military stories more than anyone else.
But that’s also the most exciting part about writing in this sub-genre. It gives me an excuse to learn.”
ABOUT SHADOW OPS: Breach Zone
In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.
In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.
When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with his havoc-wreaking woman from his past who’s been warped by her power into something evil…
ABOUT MYKE COLE
As a security contractor, government civilian and military officer, MYKE COLE’s career has run the gamut from counterterrorism to cyber warfare to federal law enforcement. He’s done three tours in Iraq and was recalled to serve during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. All that conflict can wear a guy out. Thank goodness for fantasy novels, comic books, late-night games of Dungeons & Dragons, and lots of angst-fueled writing.