Today, I’m excited to introduce an author I met last fall at a fabulous writing retreat. Michelle Ule gives so much of her time to help other authors and all with a sweet attitude. Michelle has graciously offered to give a copy of her new book to one of you who comments below.
Navy wife Michelle Ule is a graduate of UCLA and the author of three novellas and a novel. She lives in northern California with her family where she works at a literary agency, teaches Bible study, plays in a woodwind ensemble, and writes.
Michelle is a long-time lay counselor in both crisis pregnancies and budget counseling. She loves to travel and is an accomplished genealogist. You can learn more about her at www.michelleule.com
The Skullduggery involved in writing about Navy SEALS
When I began researching Navy SEALs for my novel Bridging Two Hearts, I began at my local military recruiting center. I stood at the locked entrance and picked up a red phone to call in with my name and reason for visiting (since I obviously was not a candidate for enlistment). A camera overhead moved to settle on me and I pretended I didn’t care.
The receptionist sailor introduced me to a woman “chief”–a dive officer who had a large photo of herself in a diving bell posted on the wall behind her desk. I explained that as a retired Navy wife, I had spent twenty years of my marriage without a need to know things I didn’t need to know, therefore, I didn’t have a problem with not needing to know important details about SEAL operations.
As did ever military person I explained this to over the next several months.
But, she explained, she could not give me any SEAL details and I understood that. Instead, she picked up a hot pink post-it note and wrote a name and a phone number. I should call “Steve” and he could give me information.
I explained who I was–that I was writing a story about Navy SEALS and I just needed background information about the domestic side of SEAL life. I’ve read enough memoirs, I understood how grim their lives were, and I did not need any information about operations.
I explained about the chief at Navy recruiting.
“I’ve been shut down,” he muttered. “I can’t say anything. I can’t help you.”
I went through my line about not needing to know and he snickered.
“Well, try this name and number. He’s a PAO (Public Affairs Officer) and maybe he can help you.”
I dialed “Dave’s” phone number–it had an area code from the Bay Area.
This office sounded more efficient, but “Dave,” too, had a terse question: “Where did you get this phone number and my name?”
I tried to remain professional and explained about “Steve” in Sonoma County, and “Dave” relaxed.
He didn’t give me a lot of information, “I can’t discussion current operations,” but he did provide me with an appropriate age for my hero and what he would have covered in his military “pipeline.” That helped.
A week after my phone call with Dave, I noted a mysterious Naval intelligence officer is now following me on twitter . . .
What better way to start writing a story about clandestine activities than with a mystery?
What unusual situations have you run into when trying to get information (book or not!)?