Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - LK Hunsaker

LORAINE: Hi Steph! It’s great to be on your blog today to talk about my military romance, Moondrops & Thistles! It’s especially nice to talk about this one with you, given your Army background. Thanks for having me. :-)

STEPH: Loraine, I always enjoy it when you pop in. Being a military wife is like being in the military and you were in the same time I was - and in Germany. Now, I don't know much about "Moondrops & Thistles." What's it about?

LORAINE: Daws, aka Sgt. Fred Dawson, U.S. Army, is a Desert Storm veteran who brings his men home safely just to lose his friend and CO in an accident he feels is partly his fault. When he’s sent home to NYC on leave to regroup, he runs into Deanna Meyers, a fiery independent spirit in search of a loyal, honest companion. Deanna is trying to work her way up in the world of advertising and meets roadblocks, some of which her actions have created. Although any relationship they have would have to be long distance, they decide to give it a try.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write? Was it a NaNoWriMo project?

LORAINE: Moondrops did start as a Nanowrimo project. I wrote the first 93,000-some words of it in November 2010. It was only meant to be a quick write novella, but it turns out the characters had too much to say. From start to finish, with filling in, rewriting, editing, rewriting a bit more, re-editing, getting others to read and proof it, and get it out, it turned into an eight month project. But that’s for the full 150,000 word version. Then I went back to condense and add some spice, so there was another couple of months work in that.

STEPH: What was the inspiration for the story?

LORAINE: Honestly, it was a reader request. Readers just loved Daws when they met him in my 2009 release, Off The Moon, and asked for more of his story. I have a habit of writing short stories as free reads to go along with my novels, and one of them featured Daws and Deanna when they first met. I used that as a jumping off point, pulled the idea I knew Daws was military while writing Off The Moon, and then decided he had to be a Desert Storm vet. Why? It was a story I needed to tell, since my husband is a Desert Storm vet and there are more implications to that than most people realize. So in a way, it also became my own story.

STEPH: My husband, Brent, deployed to Kuwait in June 1991. I didn't get deployed. Now I'm curious. How did you come up with the title, "Moondrops and Thistles?"

LORAINE: Since it’s related to Off The Moon, I wanted the title to reflect that (no pun intended). Also, the scene where they meet takes place in the rain after midnight, so I wanted to bring the rain image into it. Therefore, Moondrops. Thistles comes from an Abraham Lincoln quote: “Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” As even amateur gardeners know, thistles aren’t easy to get rid of. You pluck them and they grow back. It’s a wide metaphor embedded within the story.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the story?

LORAINE: I did a fair amount of research for it, yes. It is fiction but it follows a historical timeline as far as the events of Desert Storm. The spicier version doesn’t show as much of that, but I always have dates in mind, and sometimes stated, within my stories and so details need to be accurate. Also, Fort Drum is not one of the bases I’ve had a chance to see, so I relied on internet research plus help from a couple of friendly military strangers who were based there. For Deanna’s job, I had to research the advertising business as well as real places in NYC. I’ve been there but only briefly so I mixed my experience with research in hopes it turned out realistic to those who know.

STEPH: What are Daws strengths? Weaknesses?

LORAINE: Daws is very intelligent, capable, and discerning. He has a subtle sense of humor. He’s loyal to a fault. He’s brave. And he’s well built. On the other hand, he’s learned to be wary and distant. He has trouble dealing with the effects of his actions and accepting help to deal with it. And his temper can get the best of him.

STEPH: What does he find attractive about Deanna?

LORAINE: The fire he sees in her is the biggest draw. He craves it, the warmth, the spark, the life. He loves that she’s been knocked down often and just keeps going. He loves that she’s affectionate but not needy. And he can see how huge her heart is beneath her sometimes prickly exterior.

STEPH: Hollywood is calling. Cast Daws and Deanna.

LORAINE: Oh, this is a tough one. I’m familiar with so few actors, but let’s see...

Daws: he has to be tall and sturdy, strong face, calm personality, and he’s in his late twenties.. maybe David Boreanaz from Bones. I could see him playing Daws.

Deanna: after some research, I’d say Ali Landry, since Deanna is curvy and in shape and has a touch of attitude that shows all over her face. Or Kate Winslet would work.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

LORAINE: I have a Sony Reader. I don’t use it a lot since I prefer to hold a print book in my hands, but I love the convenience of taking a bunch of books with me when I travel and being able to download ebooks! There are many I bought that way I wouldn’t have bought in print, so it opens the door for more variety and for new authors to discover easily.

STEPH: Fun question: what's your favorite holiday treat?

I think it would be a toss up between chocolate covered pretzels and cheesecake. The cheesecake would probably win if it had chocolate chips. :-)

Thanks again, Steph! I’ll give away a copy of the shorter and spicier edition of Moondrops & Thistles to one of your readers who leaves a comment. Be sure to check out my blog, also, for a chance to win the full print version, plus a transforming mug with cover art, and a Support Our Troops bracelet.

Moondrops Facebook page:
Free reads at Smashwords:

Buy Links
(shorter and spicier edition)
(full edition, also at,, or at your local indie store from
(personally signed trade paperback with bookmark)



  1. Glad to be here today, Steph! My husband had been to Kuwait and Iraq and was home again by the time Brent got there. Guess they didn't run into each other. ;-) Seems we have a lot of that going on between us!

  2. Sounds like a great read Lorraine. Being married to my own now retired US Navy hero I've a weakness for military men!

    Angela Britnell

  3. Angela, they are a special breed, aren't they? Thanks for coming by and reading. :-)

  4. Hi Steph and Loraine great interview andit ocunds like a great book to read. My husband retired before Desert Storm arrived. He did serve a year in Vietnam, however. My sister's husband went to Desert Storm from Germany.

  5. Great interview and I have added this to my TBR wishlist. My hubby served in the Army and spent time in Vietnam, I am a Vietnam Era veteran (Marines) I have a few friends that are trying the long distance relationship now and so far it's working.
    panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com

  6. Hi Kathy, we were lucky Desert Storm was only 4 months, nothing like Vietnam or today's Middle East tours, in length anyway. Seems a lot of people who were in Germany headed that direction. Thanks for coming by!

  7. Hi Patricia, nice to see so many military folks here! In some ways, I think long distance can strengthen relationships (absence makes the heart grow fonder). Of course, it can always go the other direction. Luckily these days there's the internet and cell phones, Skype, etc. That has to help. Thanks for reading!

  8. Each time I read one of your blogs, I fall a little more in love with Daws, LK.

  9. I was going to ask you why you chose Desert Storm instead of Iraq or Afghanistan but now I see from your blog that your husband is a Desert Storm vet. I like that. Authors should put personal elements in their stories.
    The cover is so unique. I like it. Who did the art work for it?
    I wish you every success, Lorraine.

  10. Keena and Liana, that's great to hear! Thank you. :-)

  11. Sarah, I've yet to have a book set in the here and now. The closest is Off The Moon set in 2000, although it never says that directly. I'm afraid Desert Storm will be too quickly washed away, and has been already by a large extent. That shouldn't happen, even if it was so short. It's an important part of our history and those who stopped Hussein from expanding farther and pushed him back out of Kuwait need to be recognized. Yes, I'm a bit of a history/political buff.

    Thank you for the compliment on the cover. I did the art work for it and put the design together. It started as a pen and ink sketch, to go with the story line, then I added some watercolor accent and a photo of the moon I was lucky to get one night. The back of the cover has Daws and Ryan featured.

  12. Shut up! You're kidding me. That's fabulous work on that cover. I noticed how unique it was immediately.

  13. Aw, well thank you! I have thoughts of going into cover design on the side. ;-)

  14. Congrats Patricia! You won the ebook. I'll email. Thanks all for coming to read and comment. :-)