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Book Review and Author Q/A: The Power Of A Seal

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Many military books have been written by and about SEALs.  The Power of A Seal by Anne Elizabeth is a suspense-romance novel that highlights the SEAL community. It blends a mysterious plot, some romance, and a realistic look at those serving.

Readers gain an insight into the personality of a SEAL.  They are truly the selfless warriors that do not require any accolades: humble, bold, strong, brave, with an inner calm during the missions. 

The Power of A Seal explores the mental anguish many who serve go through when their bodies, either emotionally or physically, tell them it is time to look for another line of work.  The hero, Leaper Lefton, after undergoing a traumatic experience, is reassigned to the BUD training program as a SEAL instructor to teach, lead, assess, evaluate, and test the trainees, making sure they have the emotional and physical skills. While on a training mission in Coronado Leaper spots a woman in danger in the middle of the ocean.  After rescuing her, he finds out that Kerry Hamilton is a marine veterinarian assigned to the Marine Mammal Program that works with the Navy.  She is responsible for the health and well-being of the dolphins and sea lions.  After discovering a disease among the dolphins, she enlists Leaper’s help to medicate the wild dolphins and test a cure. The love story takes off from here, but readers are also treated to details about the SEAL training and the Marine Mammal Program.

Elise Cooper:  Why did you want to write a series centered on the SEAL community?

Anne Elizabeth:  My husband Carl served in Vietnam in 1963 and 1964, part of the Underwater Demolition Team, as a swimmer scout, better known as a Navy Frogman. He then became part of SEAL Team 1 in 1965 and was deployed back to Vietnam in 1966 and 1969. He told me I could honor the community and country by writing about these dedicated men.  I wanted to inform people about the challenges and to show their personal courage. There are basic facts that are true to all military life: struggles with marriage, family, relationships, money, health, and returning home.

EC:  Is your heroine as strong-willed as her male counterpart?

AE:  Anyone having a relationship with a SEAL needs to be their own person with their own self-expression. The woman has to be as alpha and strong as the man. Kerry is very comfortable with her dolphins.  It is not that she is not sociable, but really involved with her career.

EC:  How would you describe the hero?

AE:  Leaper is very old-fashioned, protective, a workaholic, and very private.

EC: You also do the walk by helping your community?

AE:  My husband and I strive to honor those serving 365 days a year.  The public should be aware of the sacrifices made and understand that the SEALs are selfless warriors.  Carl is still part of the Legacy Program that remembers those who served.  We always send holiday packages to some families that have faced hardships to remember the sacrifices they make as well. We want to show them they are not alone and Americans are thinking of them.

EC:  You address the disease of dolphins?

AE: They are really sick.  Remember the book is a novel, but in reality, there is no solution.  The Amazon is the only place they have not found the sick dolphins.  These pink dolphins might be the clue to help the species. 

EC:  You highlight the Marine Mammal Program?

AE:  It is pretty amazing.  It upsets me that people think they are harming the mammals.  I think these people do not understand the program.  My husband and another family member have worked for the organization. I know the people who work for this program do not think of it as a job, but as a calling. Because it is part of the Navy we have found that they can help and teach us.  For example, people with kidney stones eat the same diet, gelatin, as the dolphins. Both are hydrated by putting an IV right into their stomach.  They were taught to identify mines and enemy swimmers.  They also teach us how to communicate. 

EC:  How do you handle the relationship aspect?

AE:  Anyone who has a relationship with a military member knows that when they meet a person it usually blows their mind. It is the concept I write about where they know there is something unique and special during that first moment. Basically, it is about knowing it right away, which is what happened when I met my husband; even though, we took our time. I can’t imagine my life without him.

EC:  How would you describe the relationship between Leaper and Kerry?

AE: They want to move forward with a purpose.  I think there has to be that spark that creates chemistry.  Of course, a sense of humor helps, which is why the banter between them was special.  I wanted them to be “swim buddies for life.”

EC:  They were a little older, it seemed Kerry was in her thirties and Leaper in his forties?

AE:  I do not want to reveal their ages but people can do the math considering he has been a SEAL for decades and she is a vet.  This is just reality today.  It used to be people married right out of college, in their twenties.  But I do not see that at all anymore.  I don’t remember the last time I went to a twenty something marriage.

EC:  This book is not as action-packed as the previous ones, and emphasizes the SEAL philosophy?

AE:  I did concentrate on the training.  My husband Carl taught me something emphasized in the BUDs program.  There is a lot to be afraid of in the world. It is not about running from danger, but facing it, and holding your ground.  There is a difference between being fearful versus facing your fear.  This is one of the big lessons of the book, stand up to your fear.

EC:  Music plays a big role in the story and you even have a playlist at the end?

AE:  My husband and I absolutely love music.  A good friend of mine, Mimi Cruz, owns a comic book store, Carl and Mimi had a big influence on my music choices.  I love the Pixies and had as one of my character’s theme song: having their feet on the air and their head on the ground.  As I was writing scenes I found I was drawn to certain music.  For example, when Kerry is sitting in her car I could imagine American Authors singing “Best Day of My Life.” I also thought of the Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin,” where the characters would feel the realness of the moment.

EC:  Besides good entertainment what do you want readers to get out of your books?

AE:  To get their mind working.  Every book I have written has some kind of educational element whether about technology, the SEAL community, the space race, Veteran issues, or the Mammal Program.  I never lecture, but hope to spark the readers’ imagination and engage them.