Michelle was kind enough to offer some insight into its origins.....
Behind the Book
While Nobody Is Watching came about quite by accident really and all because I got fired up about something else entirely!
Let me explain. My first ‘real’ job was that of infantry soldier in the Irish army. On my very first day as a recruit, I met some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for and my experiences, both at home and overseas with the UN were a mix of good, bad and crazy, but they amounted to the most positive learning curve of my life. The types of relationships that form in frontline services like the defence forces are second to none. They help shape the kind of person you become and they can inspire you in a million different ways.
My career as a writer came later and actually my first two books, Did Someone Order Cactus? and It’s Just Turbulence fall into the women’s fiction genre. Although my time in the army left a very positive impact on me, it never occurred to me to write about it… until I read a memoir written by an Irish female soldier, which told a very, very different story from mine. It was awful. Every page told of bullying and harassment and none of it surprised me. Not because I’d experienced much of it myself, though narrow minded bullies are everywhere, sadly. But the good massively outweighed the bad in my experience, and likewise it seemed for most of the women that I served with. The reason why this depressing account of life as a female soldier didn’t surprise me was because it seems only the negative accounts ever get told! This bothered me immensely and I got right up on my high horse about it. I had a little rant to an editor I was working with at the time, who suggested that I write it from another point of view, if it bothered me that much. So I did. Or at least, I started to.
Turns out, I’m not suited to non-fiction writing. I don’t tend to bank away details of who said what to whom and I feel those tidbits are too important to get wrong, so instead, I wrote another work of fiction, based on my own experiences with the army and UN, called Playing the Game. The characters were made up of all the different real characters I’d met through the years and I loved it.
Or at least I did until someone suggested that it needed a love interest or some kind of romantic angle and I stupidly listened. Before I knew it, Playing the Game was too far from where I wanted it to be, so I filed it away until such time as I can return to it with fresh eyes and bring it back to where it’s meant to be.
I decided then that it was time to take a break from writing and my resolve in this lasted all of fifteen minutes. Or as long as it took for me to make a cup of tea and have a scroll through my phone, because that’s when it happened. I clicked on a video about service dogs. Why wouldn’t I? They’re only the most amazing creatures on this planet. The owner of this particular dog, at first glance, didn’t look like the kind of person who needed any assistance at all. He was a big, burly guy whose good looks made it easy for him to have the confidence that he seemed to have. But when he started to speak, it became clear that the four legged wonder by his side was more than just a dog to him. The man was a US army veteran living with PTSD and his dog was his lifeline.
My untouched tea turned cold as two characters appeared, already fully formed, in my mind. One was a German Shepherd named Frank and the other, his owner, Lindsey Ryan, and because my mind was already filled with military characters at that point, it was no surprise that Lindsey was a former soldier in the Irish army, whose life is changed forever while serving with the UN, as the Irish have done for so many years. I opened my laptop and the book wrote itself. I believe that everything in life happens as and when it should and this combination of experiences and annoyances led me to writing a book that I otherwise might not have. And it’s a book that I love with all my heart.
While Nobody Is Watching delves into the dark world of PTSD and that of a former soldier struggling to find a place in her new world. But her new high risk lifestyle has gained her the unwanted attention of a menacing stranger and Lindsey is left to decipher which threats are real and who, other than herself, might want her dead.
While Nobody Is Watching - published by BAD PRESS iNK on June 27 PTSD awareness day 2020. For your copy, ask your local bookshop. Alternatively all Michelle Dunne books are available on Amazon and through www.michelledunnebooks.com
Connect with Michelle on https://twitter.com/NotDunneYet and https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDunneAuthor
A semi-inflated football and a curious little girl.
They called it peacekeeping. For Corporal Lindsey Ryan it was anything but.
It’s been three years since that bright day in the Golan Heights and the explosion which killed two and changed the survivors forever.
Now Lindsey deals with the many problems of the city’s troubled youth, to distract her from her own. But as damp days turn to night the kids return home, or somewhere like it, and she returns to her own private war. One that exists solely for her.
Certain that she’s being watched and certain that she’s losing her mind, Lindsey battles with the demons of post traumatic stress, while a very real threat edges ever closer until she finds herself face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to finally help her to die.
And it’s the last person she ever could have seen coming.
Blue helmets and blurred lines - While Nobody is Watching delves into the dark world of PTSD and a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world.