A Woman Writer–A Military Setting…?
By Christauna Asay, Author of Heart of Annihilation
I’ve been asked why I chose the military as the setting for my novel, Heart of Annihilation. It’s not exactly a common background for a woman writer. Despite years of feminism and equal rights activity, the military has always been a man’s world. I don’t mean to cause controversy with this statement, but there is no disputing the fact that the majority of the U.S. military is men. And yet it is a world I was proud to be a part of for many years. I thrived in this environment, as many women do. I broadened my horizons, stretched my mind, and feel as though I was able to contribute to my country, my unit, and my friends.
I didn’t make my decision to join the military lightly. I was sixteen when the thought first crossed my mind, and what 16-y/o thinks so seriously about their future? Well it wasn’t about the future for me. I was drowning in high school. As in, it was boring to me. My ADHD and boredom make for a lousy combination. But the military sounded so adventurous and exciting that even my severe, ADHD related anxiety couldn’t stop me. Now lest you think that the military will take anyone with a pulse, or multiple mental disorders, let me assure you that I was completely undiagnosed until a couple of years ago. My unknown disabilities made things much more difficult for me than your average soldier, but it provided me a way to learn and grow as a human and bust away from the dreary road I was on to become something more.
Fast-forward a bit. I’ve been out of the military for about fourteen years. I know this because my oldest son is fourteen and I took my leave just after he was born. Some people can balance a military career and family, but thanks to my aforementioned disabilities, I knew I could not. I didn’t want to be a less-than efficient soldier, so put all my energies into becoming a mother and a writer instead.
There was no question about my choice of setting for my first book. A strong female protagonist in the military is not a common trope and I was thrilled to delve into that military world I loved and missed so much. I wanted to show that women can thrive in such a masculine world. And I wanted show others the depth of connections that soldiers make with each other, and why they are willing to risk their lives for such a job.
Sometimes I worry that people won’t see the military in a favorable light as they read my book. There is a group of villains, renegade soldiers, that are a driving force in the story. On the other hand, my heroes are also soldiers. I’ve mentioned before that my favorite character in Heart of Annihilation is Corporal Devon Thurmond. Now this character is a red-blooded American soldier. For Thurmond I took the very best characteristics of men I knew while serving and combined them into this one character. My two brothers are currently serving in the military, one as a chaplain, the other as a fighter pilot. And they are some of those men.
Heart of Annihilation is a thriller, and a sci-fi one at that, but behind the scenes I’m hoping readers will see some of the realities of our country’s heroes. And who out there doesn’t love a real-life hero?!
Heart of Annihilation:
When U.S. Army Specialist Kris Rose catches members of her unit stealing ammunition to kill aliens, she is forced to defend herself with a freakish electrical charge shooting from her fingertips. Shaken by her newly found power and hunted by vigilantes from her unit, Rose is forced away from her structured, military world and into a fight for her life.
With the aid of her battle buddy, Corporal Thurmond, Rose sets out to learn more about the aliens under attack. In the process, she discovers her bizarre connection to a devastating threat to Earth—an alternate dimensional weapon called the Heart of Annihilation, lost somewhere on Earth.
From a chuteless free-fall from 20,000 feet, to deadly bullet wounds and the unforgiving Sonoron Desert, Kris Rose enters a world where aliens are real. And she might be one of them.
C. R. Asay joined the Utah National Guard at the age of seventeen. After spending time in the 625th Military Police Corp she transferred to the 19th Special Forces group as a counterintelligence agent. She retired from the military after marrying her best friend and graduating from college so that she could embark on the most exciting adventure of all; being a mom.
The short story version of her first novel, Heart of Annihilation, earned an honorable mention from the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. C. R. Asay currently resides in West Jordan, Utah, with her husband, four children, and a dog. There is always a dog.