The bronze eagle lands with gripping claws in New York’s Battery Park towering in remembrance to fallen heroes past.
While military spouse are the foundation supporting loved ones in the Defense Forces, the fighting men and women of a free nation rise to salute the proud glory of Stars and Stripes flicking on the cut of eagle’s wings towards the Statue of Liberty, symbolizing Freedom, where the Liberty Bell echoes from afar.
So, how do military spouses cope when their warrior men and women are on active duty fighting for the great nation of the United States of America?
Myra Nour is not only a military spouse, following her officer husband from Fort to Fort, with dedication, but an author who keeps the eternal flame burning through her story Heart of the Dragon with its Green Beret hero.
The author’s inspiration flows eternal through her husband of 17 years Major Simon Nour, an Environmental Engineer who trained with, the 7th Special Forces to parachute into third world countries, in case of deployment, where the Black Plague is still known to breed deathly pestilence. The Major’s task was to keep the Special Forces known as the Green Berets, healthy, for it is not only the Black Plague which threatens the duty of fighting men, but the lack of pure drinking water and food supplies when conflicts arise.
Heart of the Dragon blazes from the realms of another time and place through the genre of Futuristic Romance. Myra Nour rushes the flow of words in her storytelling: “Eric maintained a stony silence. Talking might give him the ease of a promised meal and sufficient water, but it wouldn’t stop these creeps from killing him in the long run, and hell if he was going to give away any information which might put his comrades in danger.” The story sounds all too familiar, yet is purely fiction, released in print publication through New Concepts Publishing.
With a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and training for a 3rd Degree level in the martial arts, Major Nour became the voice of authority behind the Green Beret hero. The author effortlessly portrays the fighting abilities of the character, Eric, in Heart of the Dragon. It is the Major who delivers credibility to the elite fighting men Myra creates.
A Military “Brat” from the onset of childhood, Myra talks about her life as military spouse and author; yielding so many stories in each their own right.
Q: As a child your world was surrounded by regimented military life Myra, how did the Military Air Force “Brat” become an author?
Myra: I loved growing up on military bases. You could go anywhere and my mom didn’t have to worry about us being in danger. Saturdays were my favorite, when for a dime we could watch a movie. I often watched old science fiction “B” movies, so maybe that’s where I first influenced with my love of writing Science Fiction romance.
My husband joined the Army in 1987, the first time we drove onto a base I saw the soldiers in BDU’s and a sense of belongingness shot through me. I was home. I hadn’t been on a base since 1963 when my dad retired, but it was as if I was thrust back in time.
It is strange, unlike many other authors I know, I didn’t write when I was young or dream of becoming a writer. My first inkling of a book was through a dream, a very intense experience that was like watching a video. I dreamt my first book, “Love’s Captive”. I was strongly influenced by Star Wars, which had come out the year before. The society I created was Medieval, warriors fighting with swords. These warriors could tap into psychic powers and strengthen their arms when they tired.
After that, I started writing the story by hand, and gradually scribbling short stories. But they were all stuck in a file drawer, and I didn’t get serious about writing until I finally sat down and wrote “Love’s Captive”.
Q: Heart of the Dragon was written when you were based at Ft. Bragg, how long have you lived in South Carolina?
Myra: We moved to South Carolina at the end of May 2004, when Simon was reassigned to Ft. Jackson.
Q: Does your military husband inspire you all the time Myra?
Myra: You bet he does! He actually is my inspiration in creating most of the heroes in my books. My heroes are strong, Alpha males, often warriors, and some are even experts in martial arts. Simon edits all my books, and he goes over my fight scenes, adding authenticity to any martial arts encounters. He even took me to see one of his Tae Kwon Do Masters several years ago. I couldn’t “see” in my mind how Eric, the hero in Heart of the Dragon, was going to disarm a warrior with a sword. So Simon and his Master demonstrated it for me. Once I saw it visually, I was able to transfer it onto paper.
Simon is tough, a very loyal soldier, and that’s the characterization I build into my heroes. He also is very caring and protective toward me, and that’s another element that is always put into my heroes. Women love strong Alpha males as the hero, but if they do not show caring, they just come off as obnoxious. I don’t consider that to be a heroic quality in a character.
Q: Does the loneliness of being parted from your husband contribute to your passion for writing Myra?
Myra: I don’t think it helps, but it certainly fills the time. The hardest part, for me, is that you move every 3-4 years, so each time you have to make new friends. Sometimes that’s hard. You are always far away from family. If the spouse works, you have to look for a new job every time, and there is no career building because you have to start over again each time-- at least in my profession. I was a college counselor until I started writing full time.
Writing is a lonely profession, so you double your loneliness factor. You write by yourself, you send your material off to a publisher or editor by mail without seeing them. If you’re smart, you join a local writer’s group, which puts you in touch with people who do the same thing as you. The best thing I have done for myself to combat those times alone, were to get a cat. She is my buddy and keeps me company.
Q: Does your background as a counselor help your creative writing?
Myra: It sure does. Counselors know how people think, act and feel. We know why people do the things they do. When you are able to go inside a person’s head, you can translate that into some darn insightful writing. One thing almost all the reviewers say about my books is that my characters seem so real.
I once had a friend ask me how Serena and Rhamus were doing-- the hero and heroine in “Love’s Captive”. I looked at her and asked, “You do know they aren’t real?” She replied, “I know, but I feel as though they are real people and I wondered how they were doing?”
Q: What genre do you prefer to write your stories in, and how many novels have you had published?
Myra: I like two main genres – Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance. Under the Paranormal I write stories that include fairies, dragons, magic, vampires, werewolves – what I call legendary creatures. Under the Sci Fi I write Futuristic Romances. These are stories that happen in the future, such as Future Lost: A Mermaid’s Longing, which takes place in a far future Earth that has been devastated by war. It is very reminiscent of The Time Machine. My Volarn series, in which Heart of the Dragon is the 2nd book, takes place on another planet. Though Heart of the Dragon is a standalone read.
I have 8 books published, four through Ellora’s Cave, and the other four through New Concepts Publishing. Both companies publish eBooks and Print, and are small press. Ellora’s Cave books are available at Borders, Waldenbooks, and Barnes & Noble.
Q: The hero in Heart of The Dragon was created with the Green Beret troops in mind, how close to fact does the hero follow?
Myra: I ran all the facts about the Green Berets by my husband, especially the 7th Group. Facts like the wearing of the beret, the uniform, their skills, their training with different weapons, and their deployment to South and Central America. Anything I wrote about Eric, I checked with Simon to see if it was correct.
Q: Here is a cut from the first few paragraphs of Heart of the Dragon: “Eric looked with dull, unfeeling eyes at the short, dumpy man who had come to taunt him, as was his several time daily routine. He was called Captain Rodriguez by his subordinates, “greaseball” by Eric when he still was strong enough to be defiant.”
Even though the story is based on Science Fiction, the Green Beret warrior rings true in the storytelling, did you rely on your husband to help you with military jargon also?
Myra: Yes. Simon worked with the 7th Special Forces Group. He helped me in understanding them by his actions too. He attended the Airborne school in order to jump and train with the Green Berets. He also chose to attend Air Assault school, where they learn to repel from helicopters, because it was something he wanted to do. His familiarity with parachuting helped me give certain parts of the story a realistic aspect.
Q: What inspired you to write Heart of the Dragon?
Myra: I wanted Heart of the Dragon to be about a special hero and Kasha, the stubborn warrior princess. I was influenced to write Eric after we were stationed at Ft. Bragg. Simon was assigned to work with the 7th Special Forces Group as the Environmental Science Officer. I got to know some of the dynamic men wearing green berets, and I thought “that’d be a great hero to write in one of my books.”
Q: Did any of your children inherit your creative talent for storytelling?
Myra: My daughter, Christina, likes to create stories and hopes to be published one day. My son says he’d like to be a writer also, but I haven’t seen any of his writing.
Q: Is Heart of the Dragon available in bookstores?
Myra: New Concepts Publishing is a small press and their distributor is Baker & Taylor. Although readers can ask a bookstore to order Heart of the Dragon, it may be months before it gets put on Baker & Taylor’s book list. It is easy to order a copy from my publisher’s web site.
Q: Do you have another novel in the making, and if so, when is it due for completion?
Myra: I have a novella “The Cat Maiden” that will be in an anthology of shape-shifter cat stories. It is due out in October 2004 from Ellora’s Cave.
Heart of the Dragon is fiction, but the Green Beret hero within walks with the heart of all Special Forces heroes, who protect with fierceness the freedoms of a great nation. This is but one military spouse’s story.
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