Today I would like to welcome to the blog author Charles Sheehan-Miles. Charles is celebrating the recent release of his book Just Remember to Breathe and has stopped by to chat. So please give Charles a warm welcome.
My background: I spent some time traveling the Middle East on my own in the late nineteen eighties, then went back courtesy of the United States Army as a tank crewman during the 1991 Gulf War. After that I spent most of the next two decades pursuing dual careers: nonprofit activist and information technology professional. Eventually the two combined: from 2003 until 2009 I was completely in the nonprofit sector, served as executive director of two nonprofits and director of IT of a third.
Unfortunately, when the 2008 economic crash hit, it took my career with it. For several years I had to retool, and managed restaurants in the Atlanta area. Recently I found my way back into my chosen career: I work in veterans outreach and public affairs for a law firm which represents disabled veterans. In my free time I write books, this blog, play with the kids, and generally try to make it through life doing as much good as possible.
Places to find Charles:
I want to say thank you to Dani for having me guest post here at Ramblings from this Chick! I really appreciate the opportunity.
What I want to talk about today, if that’s okay, is a topic which came up in discussion on a writing board a member of just a few days ago. One of the writers was asking, “How do you choose the stories you write about?”
I’d love to give a glib answer like, “They choose me,” but there is a little more to it than that. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that even though I’ve written in multiple genres, the bottom line is, I write about the things that I’m most passionate about. So there are a lot of recurring themes in my books: love, war, trauma. Just Remember to Breathe, which is on tour right now, touches on all of these things.
Just Remember to Breathe is, at its heart, a very simple story. Alexandra Thompson is a student at Columbia University, who fell head over heels for a guy while on a foreign exchange program in high school. But, like a lot of long distance relationships, they couldn’t hold it together. Dylan and Alex live thousands of miles away from each other. She’s the sheltered, somewhat pampered daughter of a US ambassador. He’s a bright kid from an abusive home who struggled to get where he is. After high school, he goes off an joins the Army and is sent to Afghanistan, while she starts college. Then, things get ugly. The war, miscommunication and misunderstandings, all result in Dylan completely cutting off communication with her.
The book begins not long after. Dylan is injured in the war, and comes home and enrolls at the same school as Alex. Through a chance assignment, they’re thrown together, and the next question is simple: will they fall back in love? Or will they kill each other?
This was by far the quickest novel I’ve ever written. And that was partly because I felt so passionately about the topics at hand. I’ve been in Dylan’s shoes, dealt with some of the horrors of serving in a war, as well as the strange, difficult to bear homecoming, and the pain of long-distance relationships falling apart and not being able to do anything about it. Honestly, I kind of fell in love with Dylan and Alex, and I’m hoping that you will too!
Thanks again for having me guest post on the blog, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.
Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.
When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.
Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.
The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.
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