A reoccurring theme in my writing seems to be what happens to military men when they come home. This is most obvious in the upcoming Mac Davis series which starts with Trust No One, out later this month. (Trust and betrayal are overarching themes as well.) Mac Davis was in Afghanistan, and most of the male characters served in one war or another. But it shows up in The Alaska books as well.
There are obvious reasons for this. I was raised by a 20-year Navy man, who had survived Pearl Harbor. (I think he may have found surviving me as a daughter to be more difficult.) My earliest memories are of my much older cousins coming home from Vietnam. One of whom rode into my grandparents’ place on a motorbike wearing a leather jacket making my seven-year-old heart go pitter-patter. That war was still going on when I got to high school, and there are names on the Wall whom I know.
As a professor, I’ve seen young men come back from Desert Shield, Desert Storm, the Iraqi War, and from Afghanistan. It breaks my heart to see the visible and invisible damage war does to our young men and women. And still we send them out.
The first draft of Trust No One was done in 1999. Mac was a veteran of Desert Storm and various police actions. After 9/11, I tore it apart and rewrote it, because everything had changed. I wanted an under 30 protagonist for this book, and so I moved him up a war. The Vietnam vets became Desert Storm vets. World War II vets became Vietnam vets. By the time I was finished with it this runaround of edits — the last set, thank you — Mac’s war was just called Afghanistan. We’ve been there a long time.
I find myself thinking a lot about how easy it was to just keep moving the wars forward. We seem to always be at war these days. Always some war to ship our young men and women off to. Always some war to send our young people back having seen and done things that will haunt them forever.
We always knew as kids not to wake Dad up. He had nightmares. And sometimes he wasn’t sure where he was if he was awakened abruptly. Mom’s voice was best, but even then … well, it was best to let him wake up by himself.
The Mac Davis series is dedicated to all the veterans who have come home with their own set of nightmares.