The two main protagonists in Unlikely Soldiers are Michelle (nicknamed Mouse) and Guy. I mentioned in the last post that some of the things that happened to Mouse are based on my experience in the Army. Not so with Guy. I didn’t want these books to be about Allan (my husband) and I. I took advice from a good friend who’s an ex Royal Military Policeman, and lots of Guy’s life in book one is based on my friend’s own experiences.
Allan’s Scottish but Guy’s not. He’s from North Yorkshire and without giving away too much of the plot, has been brought up in a dysfunctional family by a mother who doesn’t give a damn. He’s the eldest of a number of children; his father is absent (for reasons explained in the book) and let’s just say that his mother has problems. In my early Army days in the late seventies/early eighties, I met so many people who’d had it tough as youngsters and had joined the Army as a means of escape. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Army was the making of them.
Guy does have a stabling male influence in the form of an elderly neighbour who has his own interesting past. Guy hoped to be the first in his family to leave school with a decent education but a chain of events beyond his control put paid to that. The neighbour convinces him that if he doesn’t get away from home, he could end up being a parent substitute to his siblings. As much as he loves his brothers and sisters, Guy doesn’t want this; he’s also worried that he might turn out like his father. That’s his worst nightmare so he decides to enlist.
It takes him a while to get used to the strange new Army regime, but he fits right in. His trade training is tough – remember that this is the nineteen seventies and life was very different back then. Guy learns to look after himself and to keep his mouth shut. He also encounters personal tragedy early on in his Army career, which changes his outlook on life. He’s determined to make the most of his life in the Army so tries to deny his feelings when he’s attracted to anyone.
Fate does its job and Guy and Mouse eventually meet – under testing circumstances. They both have baggage and life back in the day came with its own complications. Many women were still fighting hard for equality and some men refused to take the aspirations of career-minded women seriously.
Their Army careers are important to both Mouse and Guy, and there are also other people who could come between them.
The path of true love is seldom a smooth one, especially in the Army where the chain of command always have the final word…