November 16th, 2010
Inspiration: Forsake Not

I know readers are often curious about the inspiration for stories or characters and with my newest release, Forsake Not, out now, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what inspired it. I won’t talk about all parts of it, though, because I don’t want to put spoilers out there yet.

When I write, I’ve found I have to have a title to hang my story off of. The title is the story’s embodiment and, as I write, I often think about the title or how what I’m writing centers on that title. It keeps me grounded and on track. So I MUST have at least a good working title to focus on. I also tend toward short, simple titles. You can see that in my backlist. I don’t have a concrete explanation for that other than I think it gives both myself and my readers room for interpretation and different views.

In the case of Forsake Not, I’d already been thinking of the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I happen to have a son who is a US Army Infantry soldier. When I went to his OSUT graduation (the equivalent of extended bootcamp for the infantry – One Station Unit Training), these new soldiers all recited the Infantryman’s Creed and it really tugged at my heart.

Infantryman’s Creed

I am the Infantry.
I am my country’s strength in war,
her deterrent in peace.
I am the heart of the fight-
wherever, whenever.
I carry America’s faith and honor
against her enemies.
I am the Queen of Battle.

I am what my country expects me to be-
the best trained soldier in the world.
In the race for victory,
I am swift, determined, and courageous,
armed with a fierce will to win.

Never will I fail my country’s trust.
Always I fight on-
through the foe,
to the objective,
to triumph over all.
If necessary, I fight to my death.

By my steadfast courage,
I have won 200 years of freedom.
I yield not-
to weakness,
to hunger,
to cowardice,
to fatigue,
to superior odds,
for I am mentally tough,physically strong,
and morally straight.

I forsake not-
my country,
my mission,
my comrades,
my sacred duty.

I am relentless.
I am always there,
now and forever.

I AM THE INFANTRY!
FOLLOW ME!

When I remembered this recitation and thought about those serving in our military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and forced to make choices between their personal lives and their sworn duty and this creed, I couldn’t help but have “Forsake Not” haunt me. They forsake not, but has their own country forsaken them?

So now you know where the title came from :)

You can purchase the Honorable Silence anthology, which Forsake Not appears in, from MLR Press NOW.

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