It’s time for 1000 Sleepless Nights by Connie Ann Michael! We’ve got an interview and a first look!
INTERVIEW with Connie Ann Michael:
Tell us about your novel.
1000 Sleepless Nights follows Emme “Doogie” Sawyer, a Navy Corpsman, as she joins a Marine unit during the Battle of Marjah, in Afghanistan. It encompasses a realm of emotions as she suffers the loss of her men and the growing attraction between her and Raven, the Sergeant of the unit.
I’m a mom of two college age boys, Joey and Trey. Married to a supportive husband, Ed. I am a second grade teacher and live for the summer when my boys and I can go outdoors. I love to hike, run, kayak, mountain bike…anything that gets me out of the house!
Why are you a writer? What inspires you to create stories?
I’m probably a writer because I am such a crazy reader. I read everything! And because I love books I love language and writing is such a powerful way to get your thoughts out…it’s very therapeutic. I never thought I’d say these words and I am not sure I understood it before I started seriously writing but my ideas and inspiration have to come to me organically. I observe the world around me and the stories come. Often time I’m inspired by culture, current events, and the lives of the people around me. I will never be a writer that can look at the market and see Vampire books are popular and write one. If the story doesn’t evolve naturally I can’t force it.
What is your favorite part about writing – and can we expect a sequel to 1,000 Sleepless Nights?
I fall in love with my characters! It is almost painful to set the book aside, like losing a friend. Their stories keep going in my head and when they get too loud I have to write them down. Raven and Doogie are pretty clear that their story isn’t done so yes there is a sequel in the works. I also love to research so for 1000 Sleepless Nights I dove into the world of the military and the war in Afghanistan. My family gets tired of my “interesting” facts I like to share.
There are two rules in war. First: People get killed. Second: You can’t change rule number one. Nineteen year old Corpsman Emme Sawyer doesn’t follow rules. She’s always been the best and no one will die if she has anything to say about it.
Emme refuses to hang around the hospital waiting for the wounded to come to her and joins a Marine unit heading into Helmand Providence, the largest opium producer in Afghanistan. Shutting off her emotions, Emme focuses on what she does best…keeping her men safe. When her best friend is obliterated by a roadside bomb, Emme
begins to realize she can’t save everyone. Seeking comfort from Raven, her commanding officer, Emme develops feelings that don’t belong in a combat zone where each step could be your last. As Raven reciprocates, Emme learns you can’t choose when and where love finds you.
Writing a military romance.
Writing a military romance was more difficult than writing a straight forward romance due to the need to get all the military aspects correct. I love a good romance but the characters need to be doing something more than simply swooning around in love. Tension makes a good story and a war zone certainly amps up the tension. The push and pull of the characters as they hesitate to allow their feelings to come out when at any time something bad could happen adds to the stress level in the book. I loved writing the turmoil they experienced and the wide arc of emotions the war provided. Not to mention the taboo of fraternizing with your commanding officer. It was a challenge to figure out the loop holes I could put in to make it all work.
Excerpt from book:
With a crack, his foot hit the door. It splintered and flew open. He stood in the threshold and took in the scene. Without a word, Raven walked to the shower and stepped into the spray. He pushed Sawyer forward, slid behind her, and wrapped his arms around her.
“He’s gone,” Sawyer choked.
“I know,” Raven whispered.
“He disappeared,” she sobbed.
“It’s okay.” He rocked her, repeating the words. “It’s okay.”
Raven unbuckled the harness around her chest. Drawing it down her arms, he released her from her extra ammunition and radio, tossing it on to the floor outside the shower. Sawyer wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that. Raven held her tight until she started to shiver from the cold instead of her grief. The water turned cold long ago. He slid around her to shut the water off and then grabbed her hands to pull her up. “Okay. That’s enough.”
Numb, she let him help her step over the edge of the shower stall.
“I’m sorry. You’re wet.” Sawyer stated the obvious.
“Nothing to be sorry about.” Raven slid his hands up and down her arms.
Sawyer’s teeth began to chatter as they stood dripping. She longed for Raven to pull her into his arms. To take away the pain that held a vice on her heart, but he just continued to run his hands over her arms.
“Raven?” her voice cracked.
His gaze dropped to hers. The pain in his eyes was more than she could take. With a choked sob, Sawyer wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her face into his chest, letting out a pained sob.
Slowly, Raven brought his arms around her and held her tight. “It’s okay, baby.” He buried his face into her hair and kissed her behind her ear. “We’re going to be okay.”
Wow, doesn’t that sound great?
And now time for a giveaway!