As part of an on-going feature of my blog, I’ll sometimes interview characters in a Character Corner post. These interviews are uniquely different from my author interviews because they involve make-believe people who exist only in the pages of a novel and in the mind of the author who created them. So, I’ll have to interview the author rather than the actual character—since he or she doesn’t really exist. I only ask that the author dig deep to find that character and answer from his/her perspective.
Today, my character today is Meg Cameron from the novel, Loving Meg, by author Skye Taylor.
Lilly- Good morning, Meg. Let’s start the interview off with an easy question. W here were you born?
Meg- Wilmington, NC, but I came home to Tide’s Way where I grew up.
Lilly- I live in North Carolina, and I just love Wilmington. I’ve never been to Tide’s Way, but there are so many coastal towns along North Carolina’s coast. What do you do for a living in Tide’s Way?.
Meg- I’ve been a Marine most of my adult life. A Marine MP. As a reservist, most of my service has been at Camp Lejeune, but during the past year I was stationed in Iraq. I just got home.
Lilly- I’ve driven by Lejeune many times heading toward the Crystal Coast and have often wondered about the families stationed there. Thank you for your service, by the way. I can’t imagine it’s easy being a woman in the military. Are you married? Any children? What are there ages?
Meg- Being a female Marine has been a challenge at times. Sometimes you feel like you have to be better than your male counterparts just to prove you belong. But I’ve had good fellow Marines to work with, and some of them were women. Awesome Marines, all of them.
Lilly- *smiles* Ooorah!
Meg- *lips stretch into a half-smile* I am married to the most patient and supportive guy in the world, and we have two little boys: Rick who’s 8 and Evan who just turned 5.
Lilly- Fun ages. I bet they keep you on your toes when you are home. So, what about your husband? How did the two of you meet?
Meg- Ben is my big brother, CJ’s best friend. CJ runs the only auto shop in Tide’s Way, and he let Ben fix up an old Mustang there. I used to hang out at the shop to do my homework, but I spent a lot more time watching Ben work on his car and talking. He never treated me like CJ’s bratty kid sister, and I liked that.
Lilly- But how does he feel about you being a soldier? Has it complicated the relationship?
Meg- *sighs* It has definitely complicated our relationship. Ben has had to be Mom and Dad and everything and still run his business when I’m gone. He didn’t really like the idea of me joining the Marines to get an education. He said he could help me get through school, but I didn’t think that was really fair. Anyway, he’s been a Trojan though it all. Like I said, he’s the most patient guy ever. I know he’s proud of me and that means a lot, but even more, I’ve always known he loves me no matter what.
Lilly – How do you come back from a war zone and not feel differently.
Meg- You don’t. I doubt there has ever been anyone who came home from war and not been a changed person. We go off with all these Patriotic ideas of service and freedom, but war is worse than you ever imagined. You end up being there for your fellow Marines, praying you all get the job done and get home alive and unhurt. But inside, things get broken. Sometimes things that can never get fixed.
Lilly- I can’t even imagine. My son-in-law was in the army and while it was tough having my daughter living half a world away for the last nine years, we all feel blessed that he was never deployed to a war zone. But enough talk of war. What’s going on in your life now that you’re home?
Meg- Right now I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I can resign my commission come December if I decide getting out is the best for Ben and me. But I feel so out of it. Like life went into overdrive while I was gone. Rick and Evan have grown up so fast, and I’ve missed so much. Evan started school, and I wasn’t even here to see him off on his first day. Rick lost his front teeth while I was gone, and the new ones were already grown in before I got home. Then I come home, and my life seems to be on hold. I don’t miss the danger and the horribleness, but I do miss the closeness I felt with the men and women I was deployed with. I’m just trying to sort it all out.
Lilly- I can’t imagine it’s easy for you or Ben. Reconnecting on an emotional level and finding your rhythm again can’t be easy.
Meg- It isn’t. Ben is the same patient, loving, supportive man he’s always been, but he doesn’t understand that I’m different. I’m not the same woman he fell in love with, and I can’t seem to figure out how to explain why. It’s been hard. I want to tell him everything, but I can’t. He wouldn’t understand, because he’s never been there. Whenever I have nightmares, he’s always there for me, but he thinks I should talk about them, and I just want to forget them.
Lilly- How are the two of you going to work this out?
Meg- If I knew the answer to that, there wouldn’t be any problem, would there?
Lilly- Lack of communication is a big issue. Are there any other obstacles preventing the two of you from getting back to how things were before you left?
Meg- Well, there’s Kip. My husband breeds and trains dogs for police work. The day after I got home, a cop from the Wilmington PD brought him a dog who’s handler had been killed in the line of duty, and the dog wasn’t handling it well. Ben’s brother suggested maybe Ben could help. But one of the worst of my nightmares is about the military working dog that was attached to my unit that got killed by an IED. So every time I see Kip, who looks far too much like Scout, it’s like I’m seeing a ghost. I’ve got to get over it, I know, but it’s tearing me up. I don’t want to burden Ben by telling him about Scout because it would break his heart. He loves dogs, and it would just tear him up. Other than that, it’s just all on me. I’ve got to pull myself together and get over it. I don’t think I have PTSD, but it’s still hard being home. It’s hard believing I’m safe and not being afraid.
Lilly- So, do you think there’s a happily ever after in your future?
Meg- There better be. I have to believe it will get better. Breaking Ben’s heart or hurting my little boys is not something I ever want to do.
Lilly- I have faith that it will all work out, because you seem to really love Ben. And that can make all the difference. I’d love to talk more, but we need to wrap this up. But before I let you go, are there any last comments before I turn this interview over to Skye?
Meg- Yes. Ask your readers to pray for all the soldiers, Marines, sailors, guardsmen and airmen who are sent to war. Pray that they come home safe and that they have someone like Ben waiting for them when they do.
Lilly- *snifs* Oh, Meg, you’ve just made me cry. God bless you and all the men and women who serve in our armed forces, and God bless their families.
Skye Taylor lives in Florida where she divides her time between writing novels, walking the beach, occasionally dressing up as a 17th century Spanish colonial and participating in historical re-enactments in old St Augustine, and trying to keep her to-be-read pile from taking over the house. She considers life an adventure and in a world of people who ask why, she has decided to ask “why not?” She spent two years in the South Pacific with the Peace Corps (2002-2004). She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes and earned a basic sky diving license. She loves to travel and has visited twenty-six states and fourteen countries on four continents and the South Pacific. Her bucket list includes at least that many more places to see. Having been born and lived most of her life in New England where her children grew up, she is now a transplanted Yankee soaking up the sun, warmth and history of St. Augustine. She’s a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association, RWA, Florida Writer’s Association and Ancient City Romance Authors. Her published works to date: Non-fiction: Essays on life in the Peace Corps (2003), Fiction: Whatever It Takes (2012), Falling for Zoe (2014) and Loving Meg (2014.) Trusting Will, due out in 2015 and the short Tide’s Way story out just this month, Loving Ben.
LOVING MEG – When Meg Cameron joined the Marines to get an education, she never counted on being deployed to a war zone. Now that she’s home, both she and her husband Ben are beginning to realize the toll war, guilt and regrets have taken on their marriage. Out in Ben’s kennels, there’s a dog named Kip, a police K-9 who lost his handler and his spirit to a perp with a gun. While Ben tries to help these two wounded warriors find healing, Meg struggles to fit back into her civilian life. As Meg debates returning to active duty, a move that would surely end in another deployment, Ben’s fears climb. What if her pain and confusion take her back into harm’s way again, and he lost her forever?
Excerpt for LOVING MEG
Meg shot out of bed. It was the middle of the night. Where was she? The room was cold. Not Baghdad! She shivered. She was home. In her bedroom. Immediately her heart rate eased off its frantic pace. She slid her feet to the floor and stood.
She shivered again and stepped silently away from the bed. The sexy red shirt was probably still on the kitchen counter. She groped blindly in the ink-dark closet she shared with Ben, hunting for her bathrobe. Unable to locate the robe, she settled for a soft chamois shirt of Ben’s that came nearly to her knees. She wrapped it about herself and crossed the room to the window.
Ever since that first night so far from home, she’d had daydreams about her first night back home. Daydreams of sleeping in their luxurious, king-sized bed where she could spread out and get really comfortable. Sleeping the whole night through without the sound of war at her doorstep. And being able to reach out and touch Ben any time she wanted to.
But it hadn’t turned out anything like the daydreams that had gotten her through their year of separation. After a year on an army cot, she wasn’t used to sprawling, or sharing her bed. Ben seemed too close, too possessive, even in his sleep. His arm draped across her middle, his breath in her hair. It felt claustrophobic.
Meg had gotten used to sleeping the way soldiers have always slept, half on alert and ready to respond in an instant. She’d grown accustomed to having people awake and moving about, on guard while she slept. But home was eerily still with just the little creaking sounds of a settling house and no one keeping watch.
She’d been dozing fitfully, and now that she thought about it, she decided it must have been Ben’s dogs barking that woke her. Which was puzzling. There had been a constant cacophony of dogs roaming loose in the streets, day and night, in Baghdad. Stray dogs barked all the time, but she’d gotten used to them. So, why tonight had the barking brought her bolt upright in bed in a cold sweat reaching for a rifle that wasn’t there?
Hugging the chamois shirt closer, she stared out over the yard that was so familiar, and yet in a weird way, so unfamiliar. The dogs had already quieted again. Some stray animal must have gotten them going. Maybe a raccoon moseying about, hunting for something to eat.
Scout hadn’t barked unless he was alerting someone that he’d detected unseen danger. He hadn’t barked when he’d stepped on a hidden detonation plate either. Meg shuddered and hugged herself harder.
That hadn’t been her fault.
“Not my fault,” she whispered the mantra aloud in the hushed dark room.
Everyone in her unit had insisted that Scout’s death was not her fault. Scout’s handler hadn’t blamed her either. But she’d clung to her self-recrimination and had a melt-down over the dog’s death in her commanding officer’s arms. Unexpected and inexcusable desire had flared up between her and John, and she had wanted to lose herself in the passion of it and forget about Scout.
That desire had been her fault.
“You all right?” Ben slipped his arms about her waist and bent his head down next to hers.
Meg’s heart slammed into overdrive at Ben’s sudden closeness. “I’m—I’m fine.” It appalled her that she hadn’t heard him getting out of bed. It appalled her that her mind had been so full of the things she’d left behind in Baghdad that she’d become completely unaware of her surroundings. A shocking breach in good soldiering.
Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.
And starting today, Loving Meg is on sale for just $1.99, so grab copy before the sale ends! Or, enter your email address in the comments below for a chance to win an ebook copy of Loving Meg or Falling for Zoe. Winner’s choice!
Hard cover Large Print edition will be released by Thorndike Press in June.
And if you like Loving Meg, you might also like Skye’s novella, Loving Ben, also due out in February.
Loving Ben is a Bell Rabbit release, and it’s the story of Meg and Ben first becoming a couple. Look for it on Amazon or wherever you find Loving Meg.