We caught up with Medical series author Charlotte Hawkes to discuss her new duet, Reunited by the Frontline, featuring two new stories: Second Chance With Her Army Doc and Reawakened By Her Army Major.
Ask a room full of authors how they get their ideas for each story and you’ll no doubt get a host of different suggestions – even from each author themselves – call us crazy!
Happily, I’m certainly no exception as I have no set path through my books; my initial inspiration may come in a variety of ways. Sometimes the heroine or hero appear to me first, sometimes the story does, and other times it’s just one single pivotal scene. The fun part is weaving a story around the latter!
For this duet it was actually the military siblings, Mathilda and Hayden, who found their way into the percolating coffee-pot in my head! Two army officers from a highly regarded military family – one a doctor within the Royal Army Medical Corps, the other not – who have been in healthy competition yet had each other’s backs their entire lives.
Next, Kane appeared – a former wrong-side-of-the-tracks-kid who was Mattie’s first love through her mid-teenage years, but who seemingly walked away from her without a word when she was about to go away to university. But Kane didn’t leave of his own free will, he left because of his own mistakes and because he didn’t want to stand in the way of Mattie’s soaring career.
So now I had my heroes and one of my heroines, and I knew I wanted both my heroines to be medical – so what should be my heroes’ careers? And then it struck me – Royal Engineers!
The first time I got to see the Royal Engineers ‘up-close’ was on a joint training exercise on Salisbury Plain some twenty-odd years ago (we won’t dwell on that last part, right?!). The point is, it was impossible not to be impressed by their incredible Tonka toys, and the skills with which the guys handled them. How could they fail to inspire?
But I wanted to put Mattie and Kane somewhere bigger and better than Salisbury Plain, somewhere more the size of BATUS where everything is more thrilling, where the vastness ironically affords them that night of privacy, and where their careers – and their hearts – are really on the line?
So with Mattie and Kane weaving their story through my head, I turned to Hayden. A completely different prospect from his sister, Hayden is less hot-headed and more cool and controlled. Therefore what could be better than a heroine who really ruffles his immaculately pressed uniform, and perfectly bulled boots? A heroine who sneaks up on him by virtue of the fact that she seems like the last woman on earth to do so? A heroine like the quiet, gentle, ugly-duckling-now-turned-swan Bridget?
She seemed ideal. But the more I got to know my second heroine, the more I realised she was much, much deeper than she initially reveals to people. For a start, she is an experienced medic who has spent most of her career caring for women and children in refugee camps, often risking her life in high-danger zones.
It’s no secret that I’ve written several books with heroines like Bridget – or that I’ve drawn my inspiration from my incredible mother who was a medic in Africa for teams who were helping local communities to dig wells, build schools, build dispensaries. This time, however, I wanted to add something more to the mix; I wanted to add Hayden and his Royal Engineers. But as much as they are there to protect Bridget and her team, she resents the sense of wariness their presence generates in her patients, making it that much harder for her to connect with these vulnerable women and children.
And if – underlying all that, she is also tousling with an unexpected and unshakeable attraction to the most charismatic man she’s ever met in her life – then surely that, too, only makes it all the more vital that she keeps her distance?
I love military, and ex-military, heroes and heroines for their unfailing sense of duty and honour – even if it’s sometimes (alright, I admit it…often) misplaced. I love watching them push back the onslaught of emotions, pretending they don’t even see them until…bam…they’re suddenly ambushed and there’s no deflecting anymore. Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of all of that in both Mattie and Kane’s, and Bridget and Hayden’s stories.
I hope you enjoy reading this duet as much as I enjoyed writing it. It truly is a wonderful feeling to hear from readers, and to read such lovely reviews, so please feel free to drop by my website charlotte-hawkes.com or swing by Facebook or Twitter.