Thursday, December 10, 2009

Guest Post ~ Jennie Shortridge

I live in Seattle, a city in mourning. In the past few weeks, six Washington police officers have been targeted by two sick psychos; five are dead, leaving behind twelve children.

Before I wrote my latest novel, When She Flew, I didn’t think much about police officers except for in terms of stereotypes. I mean, why would anyone want to become a police officer except to wield power over others, to have the opportunity to legally carry a gun, to get to drive very fast through traffic with lights and siren blazing?

In 2004, police found a war veteran raising his young daughter in the Oregon woods. When She Flew was inspired by the true story of one of the officer’s decision to do not what was expected of him as an officer of the law, but what he felt he must as a human. I worked closely with him when researching my story, and had the opportunity to hang out with other officers in a relaxed, social setting. Like any group of people (duh!) some were funny, some were friendly, some were surly. I wrote about them all in my fictional story, in one way or another.

The lead character in When She Flew is Officer Jessica Villareal, single mom, tough as nails, but just as concerned about what her butt looks like in uniform “man” pants as any woman would be. She’s estranged from her adult daughter, and when she hears that a girl might be in danger in the woods, she muscles her way in on the search team. She’s looking for something more than the girl, of course. She’s trying to find a way back to her daughter.

When She Flew is not a police story, but it is a story about police officers doing their best to do their jobs without sacrificing their souls. It’s also a story about a young girl who’s been raised in the woods for the past five years, and her Iraq-war vet father, who is dealing with the hidden wounds so many returning vets are facing. There are no easy solutions, only human ones.

RIP Officers Brenton, Renninger, Owens, Griswold, and Richards.

When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Jennie's fourth novel, is the fictionalization of true events, and after much research, she let her imagination run wild to create this evocative story of an Iraq war vet raising his daughter in the wild and the single mom/policewoman who breaks all the rules when ordered to separate them, risking everything to help them escape. This story explores the issues of raising children in today's world, living within the system as opposed to rejecting it, the toll of war on families, and introduces a young heroine raised in the forest who thrives through the worst of circumstances.

Click here to check out Jennie's website

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