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My Inspiration for While Nobody Is Watching by Michelle Dunne

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While Nobody is Watching

By Michelle Dunne

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When it comes to writing, I take inspiration from everything and everyone that I encounter in everyday life. The people, the places, the news stories – everything. But While Nobody Is Watching came a little bit out of the blue for me.

My first two books fell into the women’s fiction genre (Did Someone Order Cactus? followed by It’s Just Turbulence – books one and two of what became known as The Turbulent Series). But around that time I’d been reading a book written from the point of view of a female soldier. It was awful. Each page told of harassment, bullying and misery. I too served with the Irish Army and with the UN in Lebanon and I have to say, my experience was one of the most positive of my life. I worked with so many fantastic people that they just about cancelled out the less fantastic ones and it occurred to me that only the negative accounts ever seemed to get told. This bothered me, if I’m honest.

So, between the jigs and the reels, I decided to write it from the other perspective, but unfortunately it took no time at all for me to realise that I’m definitely not suited to non-fiction writing. When it comes to who said what to whom… I have no idea. And those details are pretty important in a work of non-fiction. So instead I got going on a fictional account of my time with the army and the UN. But as much as I loved writing it and each of the characters as they developed along the way, by the time I got to the third draft, it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be. So, a little bit fed up, I walked away from it, dramatically vowing never to write again! I opened my phone for some mindless scrolling to take my mind off it all, and that’s when I came across a very short clip about service dogs. Naturally, I clicked on it. Who doesn’t?

I spent the next thirty seconds or so listening to a US army veteran sitting on a step with his arm draped loosely over his dog, dutifully by his side. To be honest, he didn’t look like the kind of guy who needed assistance from anyone. But it turned out he was living with PTSD, and his dog was his lifeline. By the end of that clip I had two fully formed characters in my head. One was a gorgeous German Shepherd by the name of Frank, and his owner, Lindsey Ryan, a veteran of the Irish army and Peacekeeper with the UN. And that’s about as far as I tend to go, from a planning point of view. More often than not, I’m as surprised as anyone by what happens next. The stories tend to write themselves when I have a keyboard in front of me.

With my head already filled with military characters, they found their home easily among the pages, but once I really got going, a whole host of other characters just landed among them, shoving them aside at times to make room for their stories to be told. Suddenly, everything from the very troubled young people Lindsey now works with, the addicts, hookers, Gardaí, former military characters, among others, were all bringing life to an otherwise blank screen and I became more and more engrossed and excited. My fingers couldn’t move fast enough to keep with all they had to say and I fell in love with each and every one of them (aside from the ones you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley!).

That said, (and feel free to call me biased) Lindsey Ryan is without doubt my favourite character of all time. A self-destructive loner, caught in the clutches of PTSD, and she’s dealing with all that it can possibly throw at her, completely by herself. None of the people in her ‘new life’ know anything about her past or what goes on inside her head and that’s how she likes it. Instead she chooses to deal with it all by throwing herself into the lives and problems of the troubled youth she now works with and by living a very, very high-risk lifestyle. She’s daring the world to do its worst and it’s only a matter of time before it obliges.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I’ll be bringing Lindsey along on my next adventure (which is already well under way).

(c) Michelle Dunne


Twitter – https://twitter.com/NotDunneYet

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDunneAuthor/

About While Nobody is Watching:

A semi-inflated football and a curious little girl.
They called it peacekeeping. For Corporal Lindsey Ryan it was anything but.
It’s been three years since that bright day in the Golan Heights and the explosion which killed two and changed the survivors forever.
Now Lindsey deals with the many problems of the city’s troubled youth, to distract her from her own. But as damp days turn to night the kids return home, or somewhere like it, and she returns to her own private war. One that exists solely for her.
Certain that she’s being watched and certain that she’s losing her mind, Lindsey battles with the demons of post traumatic stress, while a very real threat edges ever closer until she finds herself face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to finally help her to die.
And it’s the last person she ever could have seen coming.
Blue helmets and blurred lines – While Nobody is Watching delves into the dark world of PTSD and a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world.

Page turning thriller debut from someone who knows the world’s trouble spots close up. Michelle Dunne is the real deal. – bestselling author Cathy Kelly

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Michelle was one of those sporty types growing up, all bony elbows and knees, and as she lived on an island, it stood to reason she’d spend her first couple of decades taking in the salty, seaweedy air at the local rowing club (not the serene looking, posh rowing, but the other kind, undertaken by hardy fishermen). This was where she learned just about everything she ever needed to know about anything. They brought home the County’s, All-Ireland’s were won, but the banter on the bus was always the real prize.

From there it made sense that she’d leave town and join another club/asylum and found herself wearing a blue helmet somewhere in South Lebanon. She’d become attached to the UN, but more importantly, to B-Company, the boldest, brightest, bravest the Irish army had to offer. She called them lots of other names too, but only to their faces.

As tracer rounds lit up the sky above her and artillery rained down, she learned the words of every patriotic Irish song ever written and how to smile, laugh, and joke about things that would otherwise have you curled in a ball, rocking back and forth in the corner of the room.
Once her eyes had been opened and she returned to Irish soil, Michelle was promoted and following a spell back at college, is now a part of a company providing physiotherapy and staff training in nursing homes and hospitals all over Munster. A slower pace, but still an unruly bunch when they want to be. She’s back living on the island of Cobh with her husband Dominic and their daughter Emily and the hundreds of colourful characters waiting to make their way onto a piece of paper.

While Nobody is Watching is Michelle’s third book, which draws from her military experiences and the types of relationships that form within its ranks.

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