Friday, January 28, 2011

Military Brats: After Burn

Ten questions with Sherry D. Ficklin, author of Military Brats: After Burn

1. What made you decide to write this particular book?

Growing up a military brat myself I was constantly surrounded by people and situations that I thought were ‘normal’. When I married and had a family of my own I realized that military brats are a completely different and unique subculture of people. They think differently, react differently, and on a whole have a vastly different childhood experience than civilian kids do. Being a young adult writer, I wanted to explore that culture, to kind of put a spotlight on how difficult it can be. The book reflects pretty honestly on the day to day life of a military brat, with all its challenges, but it also gives a good look at the kind of bonds that people form with both family and friends when they grow up in that lifestyle.

2. What is After Burn about?

After Burn is a throwback to the classic Nancy Drew type of teen mystery novels, but from a very modern point of view. It’s about a young girl who struggles with being uprooted by her Marine father, deals with the loss of her mother, explores new relationships with boys, and all while ‘investigating’ some threats being made to her father’s squadron from somewhere inside her high school.

3. Are there any more in this series?

Yes. Military Brats is a four part series, each focused on one branch of the Armed Forces. After Burn is the Marine Corps book, Book 2, Dangerous Tides, is the Navy book and is due out this April.

4. What was it like being a Military Brat for real?

It was hard sometimes, but it was an adventure sometimes too. My dad was a Marine, so we moved a lot, which at sixteen is pretty much the end of the world, but as an adult that bug hits me sometimes and I want nothing more than to pick up and go somewhere new. My dad developed MS during his time in service and was medically retired. He passed away a few years ago. These books, all of them, are in his memory.
Then of course, I married a Marine also. We have four beautiful, brat children of our own now.

5. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I think with any fiction book it’s really all about the escape. I hope readers have a fun adventure while at the same time connecting with the characters and with their struggles. And maybe they walk away with a new respect for what these kids go through.

6. Why is there a Blue Angel on the cover of After Burn if it’s a USMC book?

Oh, I get this a lot. First, I remind people that the Marine Corps is a department of the Navy, (to which my husband snorts and replies, “Yeah, the men’s department.”) and second, because the airport here has two military planes on static display, an A-6 and a Blue Angel. While the A-6 would have been more accurate, and this is where my girlieness comes through, the blue one was just ‘prettier’. We did, however, hoist a 14 year old girl onto the wing of that plane in a prom dress and combat boots to get that shot. You can see more of the photos from that shoot in the book trailer:

7. What was the best/worst part of writing this series?

The best thing has been seeing people’s reaction to it. When I first decided to publish it, people sort of looked at me like, what? A teen book with no vampires in it? It was really hard to find someone who got me and got the work. As it turns out, my publisher is a military wife and it really struck a chord with her when she first saw it. Now when people read it, they’re like, Yeah. That’s what’s been missing in teen literature.

The worst part was some of the parts of the story that were ripped from my own experiences. Some of them were really hard to put on paper, but when it was finished, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

8. What is your favorite quote from the book?

Actually, the first chapter heading is my favorite. It says, “Patience is a virtue, forgiveness is divine. Neither is Marine Corps policy.”

9. What are three things people may not know about you?

Well, I collect rubber ducks. It’s true. The weirder the better. My current favorite is my Zombie duck. I still have a major crush on David Bowie that I’ve had since the first time I saw ‘Labyrinth’. And every year my family and I trek from Colorado to DC to visit The Wall. (I keep a rubbing with my grandfather’s name on the board beside my desk.)

10. Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes, a big thank you to all the wonderful, hardworking people at MCAS Cherry Point and NAS Whidbey Island for tolerating me and my ‘research’, and thanks to the people down here at West Star Aviation for letting me borrow your jet. And thanks Marc, for having me here today!
And remember, whatever your political beliefs always support the men and women of our Armed Forces and the families who make their sacrifices possible.
*Thank You!*

And now, for your prize! Answer these three questions correctly and e-mail your answers to . The FIRST TWO entries received will win a Military Brats prize pack loaded with goodies from the Brats Registry and Sherry herself.

1. What shirt does Reece wear on her first day of school?
2. What is the name of the restaurant where Paul took Reece before their first date?
3. What is a TFOA report?

Good luck everyone!!

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