Hi all! Cynthia D’Alba here with another friend. This time I’m so thrilled to welcome a fellow Arkansan to our blog today. She bring such an interesting perspective. Romance author AND mother of newly graduated firefighter! When she told me about her son, Jason, I just knew we had to have her on! So, Carol…what’s new?
Recently, my son, Jason achieved a long sought after goal. He graduated from the Austin Fire Academy (AFA) and officially became a ‘probie’ or probationary firefighter for Austin, Texas. His journey was not an easy one and got me thinking about the hard reality behind those hunky, sexy fireman we love to read and write about.
In fiction our heroes and heroines are larger than life. We writers design them to appeal to our reader, to engage emotions and make them fall a little in love with that character. It’s a circumstance I wouldn’t change as either a writer or a reader.
Firefighters are among the most popular characters, and why wouldn’t they be? After all, they heroically risk their lives while running to our rescue in the most dire of circumstances. My son will do that. But before he became a firefighter, I knew he would do his job well because he worked so damn hard to get there.
His journey spanned over two years just to get the opportunity to go through seven months of grueling training. He’s a 6’2” lanky guy, so he’d been building muscle and stamina for over a year, employing such rigorous methods as weight vests and P90X regimens before even applying. Firefighters must pass written exams, an interview, physical endurance tests, and a psychological interview in which the object seems to be to shake the applicants confidence, to make them sweat and/or lose their cool.
The first time Jason applied, he got through the written test, interview and physical tests over a period of several months with an applicant number just over 100 out of over 3000. But Austin only hired one class of 50. He waited, kept working out, and reapplied. Finally they were hiring again. Though he’d done well the first time around, he still had to repeat the whole process. This time his number was 51, and he was finally called in for the psychological interview. Then he waited. And waited. Finally he got an e-mail telling him to report to the academy!
For the next seven months, he was immersed in AFA. Phone calls home became less frequent. Outings with friends were rare. His life was punishing physical training, studying, tests and repeated practice scenarios. First was EMT training and testing. That hurdle passed, he continued with the fire and rescue training portion with more studying and written tests.
In the course of his job, Jason will charge into burning buildings, rescue kittens out of trees, administer first aid to a domestic violence victim, stabilize a heart attack patient and even help lift the elderly and infirm off a bathroom floor, if needed. All could occur in the course of one 24-hr shift. His job will not always be easy or pretty or exciting or safe. He will be charged with cooking his entire shift a hearty, healthy meal and cleaning up the mess. He will restock and inventory equipment, wash and re-wash that red engine and polish the chrome until it gleams.
The men and women who have his back as he has theirs will become family. Unfortunately, the reality of his job is that he will most likely suffer injury, listen to the wail of bagpipes at a comrade’s funeral and offer condolences to their family. I fervently pray his station mates won’t have to do the same for him.
Even knowing all his job will entail, he’s completely jazzed about finally getting that badge which means the opportunity to save and rescue. And that is what makes a firefighter so freakin’ awesome as a fiction character. The nature of their job requires them to have traits we all admire and envy.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how bustin’-buttons proud I am of my son, but I will anyway. Dang! Now I want to read sexy firefighter stories. Anyone know where I can find ‘em?
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Carol Burnside is an award-winning author of “Sizzling romance that tugs at your heart!.” Her personal second-chance-at-love story resulted in marriage to her high school sweetheart. They reside in northern Arkansas, where Carol enjoys the Ozark foothills from her office windows and drinks tea year round.
Using the pen name Annie Rayburn, Carol writes “sizzling” romance with light paranormal and soft sci-fi elements. Carol/Annie really loves hearing from her readers. Connect with her at www.AnnieRayburn.com
Twitter: Carol_Burnside or Annie_Rayburn
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To celebrate Jason’s graduation, Annie is offering our readers a great deal! Today through Saturday, June 15th, her novella Phantoms & Fantasies is only $0.99 through Smashwords! That’s 66% off the cover price. Use coupon code VM84J at checkout to get the discounted price.