Author Interview & Giveaway – One Marine, Hero by EM Lynley

Thank you so much, Charlie, for hosting me here to celebrate Release Day for One Marine, Hero, from Dreamspinner Press.

This was definitely one of my most enjoyable books to write, but you’ll read all about that a bit later. Here’s a bit about the story.


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What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

Now there are fun challenges and there are frustrating challenges, and I definitely had both on this particular book.

First off, I didn’t know a thing about helicopters. A bit of a problem since my main character Jake Woodley is Marine helicopter pilot.

Solution: take helicopter flying lessons. Oh boy, this was one of the funnest things I have done in my whole life (at least with my clothes on). I thought I’d be a little worried, since the instructor said I’d be at the controls for the entire lesson, except for takeoff and landing. But once he handed over control of the aircraft, I had an absolute blast. It helps that I’m not at all afraid of heights. I could talk all day about the experience…

Another challenge: Marines. I talked to a bunch of helo pilots during SF Fleet Week and got some great information about what kind of guys they are, which helped a lot. And spending half a day with Marine pilots? No sweat!

For the tricky stuff: Since Marine One and the squadron that runs it HMX-1 has so many national security restrictions, it was really difficult to get any information on the helicopter, the squadron, etc., for a long time. I’d actually wanted to write a story that had Marine One in it, and then last year one of the pilots wrote a book and it was chock full of details that helped enormously.

The other difficulty for me was getting general military details correct. I did as much research as I could, including watching YouTube videos of how to wear the officer’s dress blues (that sword is a real PITA to get on the first time!). I was extremely lucky that Dreamspinner’s Senior Editor Lynn West is an expert and willing to check my military details for accuracy.

What’s a typical writing day like for you?

My plan for the typical writing day is to get up and have a walk before it gets too hot here in California, then get in a couple of hours of writing before visiting Facebook and having lunch, then do a few more hours of writing in the afternoon and another session of social media and writing with dinner thrown in there somewhere.

My actual writing day doesn’t even closely resemble that. I tend to start off with social media and emails then realize it’s 11 am. Then I start writing and don’t look up for several hours, usually till I need the bathroom (sorry if that’s TMI) or I realize I haven’t eaten anything.

That’s actually a good day, where I’m so into the story I never realize how long I’ve been writing. A bad day is one where I’m actually tempted to clean the bathroom because the story is frustrating me.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Netflix instant watch. The ability to binge watch a whole season of something in nearly one sitting is such fun, though it can be very detrimental to productivity.

I tend to bribe myself into writing for a couple of hours or some word count target before I’m allowed to watch another episode. That has actually helped me finish quite a few things. It’s especially useful for working through edits that can often take even more brain power than writing.

Do you have any pets? If not, and you were given the choice to have any pet (fictional or real), what type of pet would you choose and why?

A unicorn, of course. Duh!  Unicorns poop rainbows so they are easy to clean up after.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Someone told you I’m not writing? Who???

One word, Netflix.

Sometimes I read. I also study for classes. And I love to cook.

Coffee or tea?


I love both, not quite equally. I probably like coffee a bit more, though sometimes I really crave a fragrant herbal tea. I am particularly fond of the stress relief blends. Try out Yogi Tea’s Honey Lavender Stress Relief tea. It’s like a visit to a day spa in a cup.

What are you working on now?

A cowboy story. Well, it’s supposed to be a cowboy story, but it’s turning into a lot more and the more I write the more complicated the characters get. They got so damn complicated they didn’t even meet until about 100 pages into the story, which does not fly for romance readers! I’m rewriting the whole beginning now. Next question?

EM Lynley_Helicopter lessonWhat did you enjoy most about writing this story?

I think I already mentioned the Marines and the helicopter lessons. You’d be surprised to find out there is more than that.

Another really fun aspect was getting to bring in some of my experiences working in Washington DC. I worked in the White House complex and we got to hang out on the South Lawn when Marine One arrived or took off. It’s a great (staged) photo opp, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless. And I finally got to bring in my White House Christmas party experience, though since one of my characters is a recovering alcoholic, the awesome eggnog only got a walk-on appearance.

What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?

I’m both. A lot depends on the kind of book I’m writing. I tend to write mystery/suspense (like One Marine, Hero) so the plot requires some careful planning, which can take a lot more time upfront, rather than having to string the whole thing together again if you figure out a big problem.

With contemporary romances I’m more of a pantser. I like to develop the characters first and decide what kind of problems they are going to face, then the story pretty much flows out of who they are. That can be really fun and very freeing after a tightly plotted book. Sometimes I surprise myself when I let loose and the story just writes itself and I find I’ve written 30 or 40 pages in a day. Unless of course the characters don’t meet until page 100, then I do have to go back and clean up more than I’d like. To avoid that, I discovered I should really plan the first few scenes and how they meet. Next time!

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

I used to agonize over this a lot more. I had one book where someone was smuggling something and I asked a bunch of writer friends what they thought of my idea and people poked so many holes in it I put the whole book aside for a couple of months. Then I asked my non-writer housemate and she came up with a really easy and fantastic solution that made the story more interesting. So, asking for help from everyone and anyone is a good first step.

The other is to just relax. I’ve learned over the years that if I set my brain on another task, just as I’m getting focused on that, it will start spitting out ideas that solve the first problem. That also seems to happen in the shower a lot. No idea why. But it’s true that your brain does keep working even when you are not consciously aware of it.

That’s a great thing, because it reduces the amount of work a writer has to do. What I mean by that is storytelling and writing does get easier the more you do it because a lot of the “processing” happens in the background and when you sit down to write your brain just gushes really great ideas onto the page almost without you having to think too hard about it.



2015NewAbout the Book

He’s a hero to everyone but himself.

Marine helicopter pilot Captain Jake Woodley struggles after receiving the Medal of Honor for a mission where he didn’t bring every man back alive. Being called a hero and having his photo plastered across the news makes him hate himself more. He despises his cushy job flying with the Marine One squadron, carrying the president and other officials, when he’d rather risk something, even death. He gets his wish when he’s ordered to fly a series of classified trips.

Matt “Beau” Beaumont has been relegated to covering the fashion beat after getting downsized from a hard-news position. But an unexpected invitation to a White House dinner might be the boost his career needs. Offering a hot marine an after-dinner blowjob wasn’t on Beau’s agenda, but when Jake takes him up on the proposition, some phenomenal casual sex soon blossoms into a relationship both of them crave.

When Beau’s extracurricular research uncovers defense department funding anomalies, he soon discovers the trouble goes higher than he imagined. Just as events start to make sense, the investigation puts Beau and Jake in deadly danger. It takes a daring play by Jake—risking everything he loves—to uncover the truth.

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2015NewAbout the author

EM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.

She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press (Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone), and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.


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  1. Thank you so much for being a guest, EM!

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