While Nobody is Watching is a “page turning thriller from someone who knows the world’s trouble spots close up. Michelle Dunne is the real deal.”
– Cathy Kelly.
It is an absolute pleasure to welcome local Cork author Michelle Dunne to Swirl and Thread today. While Nobody is Watching, Michelle’s third book, is one which draws from her own military experiences and the types of relationships that form within its ranks. Described as a story that ‘delves into the dark world of PTSD and a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world’, While Nobody is Watching was published with Bad Press Ink on June 27th, 2020.
Michelle has written an insightful piece about Corporal Lindsey Ryan, the main character of While Nobody is Watching, a person described as someone who is ‘strong, yet flawed‘ so I do hope you enjoy!
[ Book Description ]
A semi-inflated football and a curious little girl.
They called it peacekeeping.
For Corporal Lindsey Ryan it was anything but.
It’s been three years since that bright day in the Golan Heights and the explosion which killed two and changed the survivors forever.
Now Lindsey deals with the many problems of the city’s troubled youth, to distract her from her own. But as damp days turn to night the kids return home, or somewhere like it, and she returns to her own private war. One that exists solely for her.
Certain that she’s being watched and certain that she’s losing her mind, Lindsey battles with the demons of post traumatic stress, while a very real threat edges ever closer until she finds herself face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to finally help her to die.
And it’s the last person she ever could have seen coming.
Blue helmets and blurred lines – While Nobody is Watching delves into the dark world of PTSD and a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world.
[ Character Spotlight – Corporal Lindsey Ryan ]
Lindsey Ryan’s character was inspired by some of the amazing women that I served in the Irish army with, but she finally made it onto paper out of sheer frustration at the two stereotypical female soldiers that we’re constantly being presented with.
1) The harassed, bullied, downtrodden woman – never being seen as part of the team and of course …
2) The ball-breaker, who dedicates her life to proving that she’s better and stronger than everyone around her.
Of course both of these characters exist in real life, but on a larger scale, you have real women, who serve alongside their male counterparts as equal members of a strong team. Where is she portrayed??
Well, here she is.
Following an illustrious 13 year career as an infantry soldier and Peacekeeper with the UN, Lindsey’s life takes a drastic turn during a patrol near the Syrian border, when a child sets off an explosive device, killing two and seriously injuring Lindsey. Those patrolling that stretch of road with her that day were more than just her colleagues. They were her friends; her brothers. They were the nearest thing to family that she had and none of their lives would ever be the same again. Lindsey blamed herself for that, just as each member of the team did and now, the only thing she knew to do to survive was walk away from them completely. Losing herself to PTSD was one thing, but she wasn’t about to drag anyone else down with her.
It’s now three years later and Lindsey is struggling to adapt to a new life, with a new career mentoring the troubled youth of Cork city. None of the people in her new life know about her past, or the fact that she’s dealing with everything that PTSD can possibly throw at her and she’s doing it alone. How she chooses to deal with that is by throwing herself into the lives and problems of the kids that she works with and by basically living a very high risk lifestyle where she’s daring the world to do its worst.
She doesn’t need anyone to know her history. The fact that she’d served on Peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Chad and Syria, returning to each country more than once. She didn’t need them to know that she’d seen one of her best friends shot in the head while he tended to her broken body and she certainly didn’t need any of them seeing the scars, visible or otherwise, left behind from that day. Lindsey is happy to be underestimated. She feels that’s the only real strength she has left.
The only one who really knows what she’s become is her service dog, Frank; a seven year old German shepherd who’d walk through fire for her and received the same love in return. But even Frank wasn’t able to stop Lindsey from putting herself in harm’s way every chance she got. She inflicted physical punishment upon herself every chance she got and a part of her almost hoped someone else would come along and end it all for her.
She doesn’t feel she deserves a so called “better life”. They were meant for people who were dealt a bad hand through no fault of their own, like the kids that she worked with. They deserved so much better and the soldier in her refused to stand back and watch the injustices that were served up to them. Without drawing attention to herself, Lindsey will stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, all the while trying to protect her solitary existence. This new role in life was possibly the only thing keeping her from dying, by her own hand or someone else’s.
Lindsey Ryan is strong, yet flawed. She engages in sex with strangers as nothing more than a distraction. Though un-afraid of anyone living, she’s terrified by what she sees in her sleep and of the major cracks appearing in her once sharp mind. A born soldier with no choice now but to carve a new place in a world that seems to have no real idea what to do with someone like her.
[ Bio ]
Michelle was one of those sporty types growing up, all bony elbows and knees, and as she lived on an island, it stood to reason she’d spend her first couple of decades taking in the salty, seaweedy air at the local rowing club (not the serene looking, posh rowing, but the other kind, undertaken by hardy fishermen).
This was where she learned just about everything she ever needed to know about anything. They brought home the County’s, All-Ireland’s were won, but the banter on the bus was always the real prize. From there it made sense that she’d leave town and join another club/asylum and found herself wearing a blue helmet somewhere in South Lebanon.
She’d become attached to the UN, but more importantly, to B-Company, the boldest, brightest, bravest the Irish army had to offer. She called them lots of other names too, but only to their faces. As tracer rounds lit up the sky above her and artillery rained down, she learned the words of every patriotic Irish song ever written and how to smile, laugh, and joke about things that would otherwise have you curled in a ball, rocking back and forth in the corner of the room.
Once her eyes had been opened and she returned to Irish soil, Michelle was promoted and following a spell back at college, is now a part of a company providing physiotherapy and staff training in nursing homes and hospitals all over Munster. A slower pace, but still an unruly bunch when they want to be. She’s back living on the island of Cobh with her husband Dominic and their daughter Emily and the hundreds of colourful characters waiting to make their way onto a piece of paper.
While Nobody is Watching is Michelle’s third book, which draws from her military experiences and the types of relationships that form within its ranks.
Website ~ https://www.michelledunnebooks.com/
Twitter ~ @NotDunneYet