My life-experiences include hitchhiking from Philadelphia to Kansas City with another girl and a dog, working in an Oregon saw mill, being a telephone exchange repairman (until I failed pole climbing), I fired a Thompson submachine gun (Tommy Gun) at the FBI firing range, won second place in an off-road hill climb in my Jeep CJ-5, and got to try flying a four-passenger helicopter.
The idea for my Gulf Coast Rescue series began back in the nineties after reading Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm. I was living in Kansas, had little to no experience around large bodies of water (spring break in North Miami Beach notwithstanding) and was in awe of what the men and women who made a living on the water faced during that 100-year storm.
As I read about the U.S. Coast Guard, especially the rescue swimmer, I became hooked. I had to learn more about these men, and the few hearty women, who regularly faced unimaginable weather conditions to save lives.
I read a number of books about what the U.S. Coast Guard does, including one that detailed the first woman to qualify as a rescue swimmer. In fact I named my character from A Dangerous Leap in honor of Kelly Mogk. Then I had an opportunity to move to Florida and my neighbor was an ex-coastie hoist operator (yes, he was the inspiration for Joe—but without the bad attitude). Now I knew I had to write that book!
A few things that make the Coast Guard unique is they rescue mostly civilians, making their job much more difficult than say an Air Force pararescue or PJ (the 920th Rescue Wing is located at nearby Patrick Air Force base) who generally rescue fellow military personnel. What that means for the Coastie rescue swimmer is that the survivor could be out of shape, panicked, and less likely to follow directions. There is less specialization, more personnel have multiple jobs, and the bulk of their work is in Search and Rescue. All of those factors make for great characters, unique situations, and lots of diverse plots—a writer’s trifecta!
So, would you be willing to jump out of a helicopter in twenty-foot waves?
Raised by navy parents, Kelly Bishop learned how to pack light and say goodbye at an early age. She’s earned her Coast Guard rescue swimmer stripes in some of the toughest waters out there, outperforming men along the way. Now she’s ready for a new start in Florida, eager to prove herself as the best of the best.
What she isn’t ready for is the spark between her and fellow Coastie Ian Razzamenti.
Ian knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. And what he’s always wanted is a stay-at-home wife—someone who can take care of their children while he’s out on missions. The attraction he feels for Kelly is intense, but is it worth giving up his big-family dreams?
Life-or-death situations leave little time for distraction—or doubt. When a tropical storm becomes a hurricane and a dangerous enemy reveals himself, their air station springs into action, and Kelly and Ian may not have the chance to decide whether they want to take the leap