Mae served in the military in the early 1980s, prior to the passage of Don't Ask Don't Tell. "It was really problematic," she said of her experience. "I liked the military, but I didn't like the hiding. I couldn't keep lying." This sets the stage for her first book, "Faithful Service, Silent Hearts," a finalist in two categories for this year's Golden Crown Literary Society's "Goldie" Awards: Debut Author and Dramatic General Fiction.
Released last summer, "Faithful Service" is the moving story of Devon James, a promising young military officer serving her country in Beirut just as terrorist operations in the Middle East first began targeting Americans. James also happens to be gay and falls in love with a woman. At once recognized for her heroism and dedication and also at the center of a witch hunt seeking out gays and lesbians in the military, essentially, she's fighting a war on two fronts.
Even though “Faithful Service” was published after DADT was repealed — by LGBT publisher Regal Crest — Mae found that her novel still struck a chord with gay readers. “I was terrified nobody would be interested,” she said. “But I found that the community considered it a good historical reference point to remind us where we were.”
Her second novel, “Tactical Pursuit,” set to be released September 10 by the same publisher, follows James after her military career has ended. Much like Mae herself, James has moved on from the military to become a cop. A police corporal and SWAT officer, James falls in love with a rookie female officer in the midst of an investigation that leads her to a sinister connection to her Army days. (You can check out the first chapter of “Tactical Pursuit” here.)
While James is obviously modeled after Mae’s own career, she said feels a strong connection to all of the characters she writes. “[They’re] all a mosaic of myself,” she said. “There’s a part of me in every one I write, from the main characters, to the side characters.” And more importantly, she added, as she got to know them as she wrote, they “became like good friends of mine.”
Find more information on Lynette Mae and her fiction here.