What I Looked For—And What I Didn’t—And What I Found by Gun Brooke

Writing a story, whether a short story or a novel, to me, it’s a lot about exploring the unexpected, the desired, and, quite often, a combination. What we end up doing, and loving, and with whom…life can sure show is in the strangest of ways.

I remember loving Cherry Ames books, and other books about nurses, when I was about ten years old, and I bought into the romantic part of these stories to a degree that I wanted to become a nurse more than anything. (Well, not counting the part of me that dreamed of becoming an opera singer.) When given the opportunity to spend two weeks in a ward at a hospital in a school program at age fifteen, I jumped at the chance. First thing I was given was a nail brush and a set of dentures and told to scrub vigorously with regular soap. I’m not sure what I balked at the most, the dentures or the idea of scrubbing them with soap. I told my parents, after the long experience or working in a hospital ward for one whole day, that nursing wasn’t what I thought it was. Where was the part of putting a cool hand on a patient’s feverish brow and receiving their heartfelt, and no doubt life-long, gratitude?

Then I read a lot of Harlequin (Mills & Boon) books and there were tons of secretaries marrying their aloof (and wealthy) bosses. No dentures in sight. Hence, I figured, when choosing what to do with my future…a secretary! That sounded awfully romantic, so I picked that type of program after ninth grade. It took me two weeks to realize I hated bookkeeping etc. At least stuck with it and finished, if only half-heartedly. After one more year in school to get more credits while I tried to figure out what I’d do with my life, I mean, I was nineteen at the time and rapidly getting older, I decided to take any job and save up some money so I could travel. See the world!

A year later, I did travel to Scotland, where I met Elon. Another year later, I married him, and we had our daughter, and a few years down the line, our son. This was my romance! I never married the fancy, rich boss from the Harlequin books, but instead my Elon, my equal, my soulmate.

All the while, I was writing. Short stories, poetry, lyrics, you name it. My typing lessons from the tedious program after ninth grade came into good use for sure!

I took singing lessons until I was twenty-four, knowing full well I’d never cut it in the entertainment business. I kept working in the industry of ball bearings, Volvo cars, and making desktop lamps.

Then, asthma put a stop to industrial work and forced me to reevaluate my future—working in dirty, dusty environment wasn’t working out. And can you imagine, when pushed to choose what to do “for real”, I did become a nurse! I loved being a nurse and worked first with the elderly and then with the premature babies.

I kept singing and sometimes at weddings and at my own graduation from university.

And then I found out I had MS. Working as a nurse wasn’t possible any longer. I had to retire at age 39, after five years as a nurse. I grieved for the life that I felt my own body stole.

That’s when Star Trek Voyager season three came onto Swedish television (back then we were hopelessly behind on everything) and I wanted to find some pictures of Captain Kathryn Janeway, my crush, and I swear my computer said “BOOM!” Clearly more people than I were fans. And I found stories. Fan fiction. I had never heard of this concept, but Elon had just brought a discarded printer home from work and oh, boy, did that thing have to ‘fess up. I printed a lot of fan fiction and we both read. And I figured since my English were okay, I might just write a story and see how that went.

Looking back, I see the thread. Loving to read from age five. Check. Loving romance and the romantic. Check. No matter how wrong I got nursing as a teenager, still check. Singing and dreaming of performing—I mean, how many romances about performers and artists have I written?—Check.

Nobody ever banks on becoming ill or living with a disability, but it happens, and I know my stories that show how people, no matter their challenges, are worthy of love and romance, resonate with readers. So, in a way, check.

On July 1, 2021, my new contemporary science fiction story comes out, and it’s the first book in a trilogy, called “The Dennamore Scrolls: Book One – Yearning”. Samantha Pike, librarian, and Darian Tennen, detective on leave, start to look for the truth about the sleepy town of Dennamore, but what they find is not even close to what they expect—not even when it comes to each other. I hope my readers will enjoy this story and discover the truth along with the characters.

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