The first book in The Falling Series, Before I Fall, introduces Parker as a “Ralph Lauren Poster Girl.” She is seen as young, naïve, and financially well-off. In this new book, After I Fall, readers get to know her story. What made you want to write her the way you did?
I wanted to push myself to take a character that I didn’t really like and see if I could start to like her and then build her to be someone who could get a happily ever after. She was a stretch for me.
Trust plays a central role for all of your characters—and probably for most people. Why do you think it is so difficult for returning vets to trust that no matter what happened downrange they are still loved and lovable?
Trust is critical for any relationship. It’s no different for vets coming home. I think soldiers are used to a certain level of trust and also expectations from their brothers and sisters in arms that’s…not missing but it’s different in the civilian community.
What part does forgiveness play?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting but it does mean trying not to focus on the past. To legitimately move beyond the past and live for the future. It’s incredibly important to being able to live in the now.
The Pint is a bar you liken to the TV sitcom Cheers, a place where “everybody knows your name,” according to the theme song. How important is that post-military camaraderie to returning vets’ emotional health?
We know from multiple studies that veterans (and anyone struggling with PTS) are more likely to recover (and that term means many different things) if they have a strong support group. There’s something comforting about being around people who speak your language, who have chewed the same dirt. There’s a feeling of fit that is unique to being around other vets, a feeling of being home.
Is that a role the VFW, DAV, and similar veterans’ organizations can fill today?
I don’t know, honestly. I think advocacy is still critically needed and many of the older veteran’s organizations need to adjust to account for the diversity of people who served in the current wars.
Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know?
I know my books aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. One thing I hope that readers will take away is a genuine attempt to give voice to the challenges we face when coming home and the diversity of voices telling today’s “war stories”
Learn more about Jessica Scott by going to her web site, jessicascott.net where you will find links to Amazon, ibooks, Google play, kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Nook. You can also sign up for her newsletter there.