Just came back from a convention and had the opportunity to hang around some of my great military writer friends, some of whom also write Navy SEAL romances. First, let me start by saying that writing romance is writing fiction. These stories need to have enough truth in them to be believable, but they are all made up stories, at least mine are.
One of the things buzzing around was a question of Navy SEAL medics, and whether or not they were actually SEALs. There was a former SEAL who served in the 1960’s who said they were not. A whole room full of people I’m sure took notes.
The truth is, and I corrected him privately, the SEALs are changing every year, every few months. What was “gospel” at one time is no longer valid now. So when the discussions come up about what’s accurate and what’s not, it depends on your point of view as far as dates of service, and it also depends on the story. Publishers can get misinformation and their editors can actually question certain truths they have been mislead by. I heard examples of it this weekend.
But the fact remains, Navy SEAL medics today are deployed to all 10 SEAL Teams. They are also trained in all the other specialties, so that if one falls, another can take up the post. Marcus Luttrell was one, tells about it in his book, Lone Survivor. In the Vietnam era, when the SEALs were new, they lacked medics to help these guys because they were losing them on the field before they could get to the hospital. Many were retired as “SEALs” but never went through the BUD/s training.
Now it is different. But books written years ago, might reflect the old “rules” if I can say that.
So, if someone starts blogging or speaking about certain things not being factual or accurate in a writer’s SEAL story, just walk away. There are much more productive ways to determine if a writer is your favorite. We all do the best we can. Movies get it wrong. TV gets it wrong every day. Publishers get it wrong. Editors get it wrong. Writers get it wrong. But this is fiction.
About Sharon Hamilton
Sharon Hamilton is a NYT and USA/Today bestselling author most known for her SEAL Brotherhood series.
A lifelong organic gardener, Sharon lives with her husband in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place. When she’s not writing, she’s getting verra verra dirty in the mud, or wandering Farmer’s Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.
Her latest release is Band of Bachelors: Alex.
Good morning Sharon,
Thank you for being a guest of Delilah’s today. More than likely if I read an untruth about Navy SEALS it would have to be a dozy for me to realize it’s not correct. I read to escape everyday life and do not stress over the little things in a book. It’s got to be glaringly obvious if I say something.
Continued best on your writing.
Thank you Delilah for having Sharon as a guest today.
Very nicely said Sharon. When the “SEALs” craze first began I questioned the whole thing. These guys are NAVY. Why were they deploying to places like land-locked Afghanistan? When I heard what the acronym actually stands for – SEa, Air, and Land – it made a bit more sense. Now add to that – “back in my day” (which predates even Delilah’s experience) the Green Beret were the “it” guys ala John Wayne. After that it was simply Special Forces, both of which tend to outnumber SEALs.
But yes! It is fiction. I have come to enjoy the proliferation of Navy SEALs populating the romance genre, and you have hit my favorite authors list. Thank you.
Nice post. As long as I can fall in love with the hero and have a good happy ever after. As long as theirs a good story to go with it. All the technical details don’t matter
I encountered similar issues with my Navy Corpsman serving with the Marines in the Rescue Me Saga. At least two readers have reported the “error” to me about how quickly he made it through his training, but Doc was trained in 2004 when we were fighting two conflicts and in those days a Corpsman could be trained in four months. (Now it can take a year or more.) So I put a “disclaimer” in the author’s note stating that the facts are historically correct for the time period these scenes took place. Haven’t heard from anyone else to correct me. But like you, Sharon, I take my research really seriously. No, I don’t always get it right–and will fix things if it can be proven I was wrong–but I hate for readers to THINK I was wrong when I wasn’t.
Thanks everyone for their comments, and thank you Delilah for hosting me today. As was said, this is fiction, and it should be enjoyable. Things, especially things in the “Spec Ops” change so fast, that it’s hard to keep up. I’m glad that only a handful of readers can find fault in our work. We bring pleasure, after all. I work to make the story so engrossing the facts, especially the ones I’ve guessed or made up, just fit in.
Love writing for you guys! And thanks to the authors who spoke up as well! 😀