Please welcome author Susanna Fraser, who is here to talk about soldier heroes and her new release, CHRISTMAS PAST, which is available now from Entangled Ever After.
Miles Griffin, the hero of Christmas Past, is a British soldier of the Napoleonic Era, just like the heroes of all but one of the books I’ve written so far. I’m working on a manuscript whose hero is a French soldier, and I have an idea or two for a naval hero. But one way or another, I’m drawn to warriors.
My interest started young. I have three much older brothers—they were 17, 15, and 13 when I was born. My second brother served several years in the Marines, and one of my earliest memories is of visiting him at the end of his boot camp on Parris Island. And my youngest older brother started West Point the same year I started kindergarten, as part of the first class to include women.
I was an extreme tomboy as a kid, and for years I dreamed of following in his footsteps. He left his cadet dress sword at our house while he was moving around a lot as a young officer, and I used to take it out and pose in front of the mirror with it. I developed an interest in military history, too, reading everything my hometown library offered on the Civil War and World War II in particular.
In the end I decided West Point wasn’t for me—“author” is a much better career than “officer” for anyone who equally hates receiving and following orders! But I still had that interest in military history. When I discovered Regency romances in high school, my favorites were always the ones with soldier heroes, and I eventually stumbled across and devoured Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe books and Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series.
Writing soldier heroes allows me to honor my family’s military tradition—in addition to my brothers, I have a nephew who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the National Guard, and I’m descended from men who fought in the Civil War and American Revolution. And writing about the Napoleonic Wars allows me to write warriors without the strife and controversy of present-day politics. (There’s plenty of strife and controversy to be found in historical politics, needless to say, but 200 years’ distance makes it easier to view them calmly. Most of the time. I’ve been in some heated arguments over the merits and appeal, or lack thereof, of both Napoleon and Wellington.)
And, there’s always something about a man in uniform, isn’t there?
- Susanna Fraser
- Entangled Ever After
- Release Date: November 25, 2013
Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.
Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful “Mrs. Sydney” from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.
Captain Griffin. Oh, hell. How had she missed hearing him come into the barn? If only she’d never spoken to him, or at least never flirted with him when he’d come to visit his regiment’s sick and wounded in the hospital where she’d been working as a nurse. It was a major Protocol violation, and she’d known better. But he’d been so persistent, so interested, and she’d been so glad to have a friend here. A very hot friend.
She thought through the strategy of how to respond if a local caught a traveler with twenty-first century technology. Disguise, distract, deflect. She sprang to her feet, slamming the time machine’s door shut. On the outside, it looked like an ordinary carriage, but an old one with a broken axle, not worth stealing.
“Captain Griffin!” she said brightly, fighting to maintain her carefully cultivated English accent. Thinking of home, she had a hard time suppressing her Seattle voice. “What brings you here?”
But she could guess that he’d followed her. He was too damned curious. He’d been the only one at the hospital to ask her probing questions about her unorthodox technique for bloodletting, how frequently she washed her hands, and her habit of making notes in a journal after every few patients. She should’ve distracted and deflected then, instead of getting all dizzy and elated that he’d noticed her too.
It didn’t help that he looked so sexy in that Rifle uniform. She could blame Sean Bean and her hours of watching the Sharpe movies for how hard it was to keep her eyes off a hot man in Rifle green, but Captain Griffin was his own kind of handsome—tall and broad-shouldered, with curly black hair and dark eyes that missed nothing.
Including what he’d just seen. “What is that thing?”
His voice shook a little, she thought. But not much. He was an officer and a gentleman, so he couldn’t let himself freak out over something new and strange. If he was scared, he hid it well. She admired that. As a time traveler, she tried to live by the same kind of code.
“A carriage, sir,” she said. “And a broken one, at that.”
“No, Mrs. Sydney,” Captain Griffin said in a tone that reminded her of Professor Krakowski in lecture mode. “It appears to be a carriage, externally. Inside is something very different. I saw it. I may not understand the evidence of my eyes, but I’ve never been given to hallucinations. And,” he added with a musing, distant look that called her mentor even more strongly to mind, “if I were to suddenly take leave of my senses, I doubt very much I should hallucinate something I’d never imagined existed before.”
Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.
Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still gives her heroines great hair.
Susanna grew up in rural Alabama. After high school she left home for the University of Pennsylvania and has been a city girl ever since. She worked in England for a year after college, using her days off to explore history from ancient stone circles to Jane Austen’s Bath.
Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, sings alto in a local choir and watches cooking competition shows.
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