Some of the best love stories involve military backdrops. My own family of origin wouldn't exist without the military. My brother and sister-in-law met in the Navy. My mom and dad met in the Army, and their love story could come straight from the pages of...Playboy? LOL. Yes. It's one of THOSE stories. So, let's go straight to that one. (grin)
My mom was a remarkable woman. I want to give you some of her backstory first. She was raised Quaker on a farm with 11 brothers and sisters. As you probably know, Quakers don't join the Army. Because passivity is part of their core belief system, they're considered conscientious objectors. So, how on earth was my mother in line on the first day women were allowed to enlist in the military? Simple answer, World War II. Complicated answer...or maybe it's simple too, she was a rebel from the get go. Apparently her family was so used to her defying convention, they just threw their hands up and said, "Oh well...that's Nellie." She was in love with flying and got her pilot's license even before the war. I know...nuts for a woman at that time, right? Well, she was a regular Amelia. As soon as she graduated from high school, she got a job in "the big city," Muncie Indiana, to support her dream of flying. So she had a valuable skill when the Army needed it. Unfortunately, she only had a high school diploma, so she was trained to be a cook. Hiding inside that farm girl was a brilliant mind as well as an adventurous spirit. Fortunately, her mess sergeant recognized her wasted talent and recommended her for OCS.
Now...I'm getting to the love story. My dad was an officer in the Army. He went to a military college and graduated 6 months early when the war broke out on Dec. 7th 1941. He had his own path that landed him at Ft. Reilly Kansas, but it was a little more predicable. Kind of...he was stationed in Texas, and because he was in the cavalry, it wasn't unusual to go for a ride in one's free time. Unfortunately, he saddled up the wrong horse. Unbeknownst to him (a rule follower) he rode the general's horse that day.
The man was so furious, he transferred my dad to Kansas. Turns out it was a lucky break...not just because that's where he met my mother, but also because his whole group from Texas was sent overseas and every last man was killed. Isn't it interesting to ponder how one change can result in many ripples? Anyway, back to our story...
Now, from the way they described it, the single officers' barracks sounded like my dormitory in nursing school. Two floors with men on the first and women on the second. A lot more men and many less women, for sure.
My mother, a lieutenant now, was just returning from a short leave, and in typical rebel fashion, she was smuggling a couple bottles of booze in for friends who'd asked for the favor. My dad, a captain by that time, caught her as she was about to go upstairs and asked to see what was in the bag. He said he wouldn't turn her in if she'd come into his room and share it with him. And there the romance began. Sweet, huh? LOL
I guess that's where I get my love for quirky romance. My characters are almost never completely "normal." Even in my contemporary romances (which are few and far between) my characters are far from typical. I think the more unusual they are, the more interesting they are. That's why I was a little frustrated with the heroine in my wip. She was too "normal." Instead of calling her Brandee, in my head, I was calling her Blandee. Anyway, I finally came up with a couple great quirks and now I love her.
How about you? Do you like quirky characters? Or do you prefer more typical girl-next-door types?