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The story behind the story: How careers as nurse and writer proved fiction heaven for Erin Rainwater

Christian author and former Army nurse Erin Rainwater
Christian author and former Army nurse Erin Rainwater
Erin Rainwater

Erin Rainwater is a Pennsylvania native who says she probably should have been born in the 19th century but somehow got flash-forwarded into the 20th. There was never any question that she would be a nurse when she grew up, regardless of which century she was in. Serving as an Army nurse during the Vietnam War era, some of her military experiences have made their way onto the pages of her novels. Erin now lives in Colorado with her husband of 35 years, has four children and the four most adorable grandchildren on the planet.

Her two historical novels are set in her favorite time period in American history, the mid-nineteenth century. True Colors takes place in Virginia during the Civil War. The Arrow That Flieth By Day (the title is taken from Psalm 91) is set in post-Civil War Colorado. Her novella, Refining Fires, takes place in the late 1950s, and is the story of a disfigured Korean War veteran and the nurse who must care for him. It is scheduled for a June, 2010 release from Torn Veil Books.

I recently asked Erin to share the story behind her stories. Here's her reply

Erin Rainwater tells

For me, there was never any question that I’d be a nurse when I grew up. And beginning in about the seventh grade, there was no question that I’d launch that nursing career in the military. Writing books was something that didn’t even occur to me until I was in my thirties. My dual careers of nursing and writing, as it turned out, made for a match made in Fiction Heaven.

I am the daughter of a WWII intelligence officer, and entered the Army after graduating from nursing school. That was during the Vietnam War era, and I served at two stateside hospitals, Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, and Walter Reed in Washington, DC. I also served for a year at the 121st Evac Hospital in Seoul, South Korea. Caring for soldiers and veterans was my dream come true. One of my duties—and privileges—while stationed at Ft. Sam was caring for the bodies and spirits of repatriated POWs and MIAs.

My nursing and military experience has helped in writing parts of my two novels, True Colors and The Arrow That Flieth By Day. Exciting tales of escape from the enemy. The delivery of a breech baby. Helping deal with traumatically-acquired handicaps. Burns. All have made their way onto the pages of my books. As did the discovery of letters my parents wrote to each other during World War II. My father wrote of how much it meant to him that Mom gave her full support to his heart-rending decision to leave for the war to serve in the Army Air Corps—despite the fact she was pregnant with their first child. I transcribed some of Daddy’s written words into dialogue in a scene in my novel set during the Civil War, True Colors. That novel recently won two awards in Historical Fiction: a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and a First Place in the Branson Stars & Stripes Book Award program.

My novella, Refining Fires, is scheduled to be released in June, 2010, by Torn Veil Books. This tender story of a disfigured Korean War veteran and a nurse with a ruined reputation contains a bit of autobiographical detail in it as well.

My support of the military has been life long and is ongoing. I volunteer at the USO at the Denver International Airport. I also participate in Operation Desert Swap, a program where I as an author “adopted” a soldier in Iraq, sent him a copy of my novel for reading and swapping with his fellow troops, write him monthly and send cards and CARE packages. I’m anxious to hear how the book makes the rounds and how the troops like the story.

Read Erin's Take 5 Interview

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