M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It’s amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of amazing people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit his website.

Cross-genre Madness by M.L. Buchman

First, Jenn, thank you so much for having me aboard to chat about writing, my favorite topic (big surprise, huh?). I was totally caught by your “about you” comment regarding your own reading tastes: romance, SF/F, and suspense. I love the variety of reading across genres and across time periods, I’m currently in Westerfeld’s Leviathan, there’s a Lee Child on my night stand, and my Kindle for commuting is presently loaded with the six novels of Jane Austen.

The thing I found so amusing about your note: what’s happened to your reading tastes has happened to my writing.

I set out to be an SF/F writer and made an immediate sale to a small press. The publisher decided that the Romance Writer’s of America needed to be shown that men were interested in romance as well and dragged four of us to the 1996 RWA National Conference, even though none of us wrote romance at that time. Seven guys and eighteen hundred women, a serious wakeup call I can tell you. I read my first romance while there, actually my first 3 (didn’t sleep much), and was completely hooked.

But the more I read, the more challenging it became. Romance is not as easy to write as it might first appear, especially not to an over-confident sf writer. Let’s just say that my first two romances went in the trash can, after they were finished, and my next two went through several complete redrafts before I had learned enough. Learned enough to craft an engaging story about a happily ever after love, that is a given fact from the first scene, but can’t actually work until the last scene… That’s the biggest fun of writing. Learning how to tell a story.

But how did my first national sale end up being a military romantic suspense? Well, while I was exploring romance, I was also exploring suspense. I liked the tension, the conflict that a suspense plot naturally brings to the story. So there I am, taking a break from my most recent failed romance manuscript, happily writing away on a foodie thriller. The U.S. Special Forces are hunting America’s top television chef (eventually published as Swap Out!) and a woman flies in to the rescue. She flying a helicopter, which I know little about; a secret helicopter, which I know less about; and she’s a warrior’s warrior, which I know nothing about. And military, about which I know even less than that if possible.

Now I love writing about strong women, they fascinate me endlessly. Sure, I’m male, that’s part of it. But I look at the inner strength of the woman who foolishly agreed to marry me some years ago and I can’t help but be daunted by her strength. Stuff I know for a fact I would never survive, and I’m not just talking about childbirth, she’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met. (And still she was foolish enough to say, “Yes!” when I asked. Go figure.) Actually every book I’ve ever written, except Swap Out!, is centered on a strong woman, no matter what genre it’s in.

So, with no military background of any kind, I began to research what drove the people who fight for our country, not as a tour, but as a career. And especially for the Special Forces. For them, there’s no glory, because a job well done is the one never talked about. The more I learned of them, the more I came to respect them. And the more I wanted to honor the passion they bring to their lives and their country.
So there I was, having to learn about military helicopters and warrior thinking in order to write this strong woman who was only a secondary character in my thriller. And eventually, not being too much denser than the average brick, I put the pieces together, my new-found study of the warrior spirit, my fascination with the deep strength of women, and my desire to tell a romance, and hopefully tell it well, all came together. Warrior women flying secret military helicopters falling in love with the men they deserve.

I sold the four-book series, “The Night Stalkers,” to Sourcebooks/Casablanca on a letter and a sample chapter. Then went through two massive redrafts working with the amazing editor Deb Werksman before I finally was able to tell the story I’d set out to find three years earlier.

The Night is Mine is about the first woman to fly with the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). The real-life Night Stalkers were the first over the horizon in Grenada, Panama, and Bin Laden’s compound among a thousand other exploits. They’ve died for their country on Takur Ghar, the streets of Somali and places we’ve never heard of, and never will.

And it is about the men they deserve, men who are as dedicated, stubborn, and tough as they are.
They fly together out of my desire to write in two genres landing in one, suspense and romance into military romantic suspense. My deepest hopes are that I did honor them as I intended and that you enjoy reading this book even half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thanks again for having me aboard.

M.L. Buchman

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Thank you to Mr Buchman for coming to PonyTails today! I love learning about the evolutionary writing process every author goes through.

The wonderful Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks Casablanca has agreed to sponsor a giveaway of 2 copies of THE NIGHT IS MINE . It is open to US and Canadian residents only. I will do a random selection from the entries for the two winners on February 10, 2012. To enter, please fill out the form at the end of the post.

About The Night Is Mine:

NAME: Emily Beale
RANK: Captain
MISSION: Fly undercover to prevent the assassination of the First Lady, posing as her executive pilot.

NAME: Mark Henderson, code name Viper
RANK: Major
MISSION: Undercover role of wealthy, ex-mercenary boyfriend to Emily

Their jobs are high risk, high reward:

Protect the lives of the powerful and the elite at all cost. Neither expected that one kiss could distract them from their mission. But as the passion mounts between them, their lives and their hearts will both be risked…and the reward this time may well be worth it.


If you click the book image it will take you to my review of The Night Is Mine.

The Night Is Mine is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. From Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook editions.

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