Soldiers have played a big part in my life. I fell deeply in love with one when I was about four. He was a very handsome Coldstream on guard at Buckingham Palace and in his beautiful red uniform and his bearskin, I thought he was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen. He was unfortunately eclipsed later in the day by a member of the Household Cavalry, the horse was the decider.
Soldiers play a major role in “Jabin and the Space Pirates”, they are the good guys and since I stopped falling for the uniform, I have developed a deep respect for those who serve.
I was worried about writing military action, I’m a woman and I’ve not served in any of the forces, but I am not only married to a military historian, I have also over the years, as a result of his work, met and spoken to many, many men who have been or who are, soldiers.
They have taught me a great deal. I know those who have seen real fighting do not talk about it. They will tell you all the funny things that happened to them, usually with a dry, gallows humour that can be unnerving for the unwary. Yet under this cover, there is something much deeper, the shared comradeship, the fear of letting your mates down and, by extension the regiment.
There is courage, never spoken of, and pride in a job well done and a deep sense of duty.
When I came to write my soldiers, I drew on everything they have taught me and everything I have managed to glean from my reading of military history. I know enough to know I would have made a rotten general.
I tried to reflect the best of what I have learnt and I hope I have succeeded. Not for my sake or my pride, but for theirs.