Blue Sky Medicine
Blue Sky Medicine was part inspiration and part necessity. I was inspired to write Blue Sky by the need to create a sequel to my first book, Crossing the Red, and close out the saga of the O’Neil and Kotah families versus Ramiro Jenkins. Moreover, I needed - and the plot and characters provided - the narrative vehicle to more fully explore the imprint of post traumatic stress disorder on the major characters.
The real-world ISIS regime provided the perfect complication: the threat of lone wolf terrorist organizations attacking hospitals and clinics for veterans across the nation. The terrorist threat was real and clear to our Nation’s Homeland Security and it remains so today.
The novel, then, explores the thesis that the ghosts and demons of war and trauma can not only follow you home in real life, but also pose a serious threat to you and your immediate community if not directly confronted.
Ample doses of the reality of PTSD already existed in our family and circle of friends, which is replete with veterans. With the assistance of my youngest son, Trent (LtCol, USMC, Retired), we also collected personal experiences from his fellow Marines who had or continue to have problems with PTSD. Trent also inspired and contributed to my depiction of the brutal reality of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how a small unit of Marines allied with Native American warriors might confront and defeat homeland terrorists.
A keen edge to this narrative was inspired by my younger sister, Rebecca, a veteran nurse with a decade of experience in the Army Medical Corps. She brought home the fact that PTSD is not exclusive to combat veterans but also plagues those who must deploy their sons and daughters into harms way and then attempt to treat their nightmares when, and if, their children come home. Rebecca was an inspiration for the character Hunter, who founded the fictional Blue Sky Clinic with donations from her Comanche cousins Parker Kotah and Danny Big Elk.
Anyone who has lived among the Comanche, particularly the elders, might hear the term “blue sky medicine” - this term inspired the fictional clinic’s holistic approach to treating and repairing the human spirit through equine therapy, confrontational group therapy, and sweat lodge techniques.
I was motivated to write an action/adventure series featuring Comanche, Kiowa and Apache because I have lived and worked and experienced some of their tragedy and success in America. I have long felt that a family of contemporary Comanche ranchers makes an interesting study of the eternal conflict between traditional and so-called modern cultures.
This novel in the Bear Kotah series provided a challenging set of characters as first responders to a terrorist threat. Combined with the U.S. Marines who share a warrior spirit like few other groups, you have Blue Sky Medicine.