first published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail 1 December 2007
About 8 years ago, my best friend thrust a book into my hands, telling me that if I didn’t read it, our friendship was over. The book was The Unsung Hero and it was written by relative newcomer Suzanne Brockmann.
Brockmann is often credited with the rise of the military romance. She started writing in the early 90s and made a splash almost immediately with her Silhouette Intimate Moments Tall, Dark, and Dangerous line. Starting with Prince Joe, the TDD line went for eleven books, and focused on the fictional Navy SEAL Team Ten. The heroes are SEALs, used to dealing with danger, fit, trained, intelligent, and dangerous. Alpha to the bone.
In 2000, Brockmann moved into single titles, with SEAL Team 16: the Troubleshooters, an elite force that goes in where others fear to tread. The series has since expanded to include some FBI elements, particularly Agents Alyssa Locke and Jules Cassidy.
I read The Unsung Hero and immediately raided my friend’s shelves for every other Brockmann she had. Luckily for me, she had quite a few, and I spent the next couple of weeks completely embroiled in terrorist plots, secret missions, sexy, fascinating heroes, and strong, capable heroines.
Since Brockmann’s books have gone into hardcover, my budget has forced me to wait a little longer between stories. But, I’m definitely not going to wait for her latest novella All Through the Night, and I’ll tell you why.
Suzanne Brockmann is great for the genre, beyond writing exciting stories. Back when she was writing for Silhouette, she wrote a black hero – something almost unheard of within the line. She fought for it, and made darn sure that her hero was accurately represented on the cover. She’s continued with this trend in her longer works, making sure that the cultural diversity that exists in the US army is also represented in her books.
With All Through The Night, Brockmann has taken her activism a step further. The main character, Jules, is a gay man, and Brockmann has announced that all proceeds in perpetuity from Jules’ book will be donated to MassEquality, an organisation dedicated to preserving equal marriage rights in Massachusetts. To quote: ‘I have this to say to the people who are rapidly becoming a minority themselves, people who don’t think that gay Americans should have the same rights as the rest of us—What part of love don’t you understand?’ For an American author, Brockmann is taking a huge risk, literally putting her money where her mouth is. She’s jeopardising half her readership, not only on this book but in the future as well. But fighting for her beliefs? For the right to love? Seems pretty heroic to me.