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Monday, May 12, 2014

Interview with ML Buchman, author of Pure Heat (Military Romantic Suspense)

Pure Heat (Firehawks, #1)Pure Heat by ML Buchman (Book 1 in the Fire Hawks Series, Military Romantic Suspense)

M.L. Buchman’s blazing-hot military romance novels have landed him on Best Book lists and a plethora of starred reviews. His meticulous research and captivating characters have thrilled readers since his debut, and now he is bringing his talent to a brand new romantic suspense series featuring brave team of daredevil smokejumpers who battle wildfires in the remote heart of Oregon as well as fly black ops into places even the CIA can’t penetrate, with Pure Heat (May 2014), the first book in the Firehawks series.

The daredevil smokejumpers of Mount Hood Aviation do more than fight wildfires. Led by retired SOAR pilots, they fly elite operatives into places that even the CIA can’t penetrate—and Charlene Thomas and Steve Mercer are the best in the business. Charly’s strong and serious personality attracts Steve, but an injury after a dangerous mission leaves him questioning his skills, and his confidence. And Charly’s devoted to the job… she doesn’t have time for a relationship…

While battling the summer’s toughest fire, Charly and Steve uncover a terrorist camp in the remote forest of Oregon. Using specially equipped helicopters and a stealth-modified drone, they take on the camp. The mission—and the flames—are combatable. For Steve, this might be the mission that reignites his trust in himself… or maybe it’s the heat from Charly that might just scorch him to the core. Will Charly be able to trust her heart to him? And will they pull through putting out the fire and thwarting a terrorist plot?

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Mary: I am so pleased to have ML Buchman over for an interview today!
Q: How did the idea for your Firehawks series come about?

ML: In two different ways actually. The first was, as part of my on-going Night Stalkers research, I kept stumbling on other uses for Black Hawk helicopters. And compared to the remorseless black of the Night Stalkers birds, the Brainerd Helicopter Firehawk paint job was so cheery that I kept going back to learn more about them. (see attached photo). Of course, the more I learned, the more I wanted to write about them, but I needed a venue.

Along came Emily and Mark in Take Over at Midnight. Part of the joy of my own marriage has been my stepkid. (I’ll brag on her endlessly if you let me, so I won’t start. ^_^) I knew one of my Night Stalkers had to reproduce soon, they were all very happily married after all. I just didn’t expect it to be the “grand dame” of the team. SIGH! So, with Emily definitely not going to continue flying forward combat, I needed another home for her. That she left the military entirely was something of a surprise, even to me, but that she landed flying a Firehawk and forming a new team there made perfect sense.

Q: Did any of your personal background come in handy with your characters' job as firefighters and fire specialists?

ML: I have never fought fire or flown military combat, so I’ve had to make up for those with immense amounts of research. However, that said, one of the keys to building a believable character isn’t what they do, but why they do it. 

I grew up out in the country where the volunteer fire department would come out and do prescribed field burns for fire mitigation and the practice. My father and I would go hiking on almost every vacation. I lived outdoors in a tent for over a year during a solo bicycle trip around the world. One of the keys that my research into wildland firefighters revealed is that we share a deep-seated love of the outdoors and I did my best to bring that to the page. So, though he is long gone, I dedicated Pure Heat to him: 
To the man who led me time and again into the trees,
my father.

Q: What are some qualities that make Carly and Steve perfect for each other?

ML: As with all my heroes and heroines, they actually listen. It may not be very real world :) , but I find it to be an essential element of my marriage, so I give that to all of my romantic couples. 

Beyond that Carly and Steve were interesting to me because they fit together so well so quickly. Sometimes discovering their bond is a real challenge for an author, but not with them. For them it is that Carly no longer believes in anyone but herself and Steve doesn’t believe in himself at all. So it is her discovery that she can trust and love again and his discovery that he is worthy of that which creates a life bond for them.

Q: In what ways is Pure Heat similar and different from the other books you've written, namely, the Night Stalkers series?

ML: The similarities are right at the core of the real-life roles: the more I study, the more I am in awe of what these people do. Both the military pilots and firefighter pilots are real-world heroes that I look up to and admire. They have both evolved to where, in their minds, this is their job. From the outside, they are incredible. So I tried to follow that, go past the archetypal hero image, and make them real as people.

They are different in the scale of risk they take and what specifically motivates them. The more I drill down on the military, the more I see that the elite forces are about their team. That is the glue that binds them far more deeply than mission or country. The wildland firefighters appear to be more driven by a shared love of the wilderness. So, it shifts the focus of the two groups relations and interactions for me as a writer.

Q: What's coming next for you?

ML: More Night Stalkers: Sept & Feb’15(?) –Light Up the Night and Bring On the Dusk
More Firehawks: Dec & May ‘15(?) –Full Blaze and Wild Fire(?)
June: a Firehawks short novel Wildfire at Dawn
July: a new thriller series, “Dead Chef thrillers” about TV Network chefs with problems bigger than whether or not their show will be renewed for another season
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Thanks so much for having me!

Mary: Thanks for sharing your insights on this book with me! It is so inspiring and touching that this book is dedicated to your father.

1 comment:

  1. The dedication itself was an interesting story for me. My father and I were not close. He was also a man who did not speak much, but as a teen, we did things together. One of those things was hiking all over New England and even a trip to Colorado. In retrospect, I think it was one of the few places he was comfortable and, without my noticing, he passed that love of the woods and hills on to me. Much of my ability to tell this story, I owe to him.



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