Hello everyone and happy “Purple Up!” Day! That’s right, its that time of year again, the Month of the Military Child! And here with us today to celebrate is a friend of mine, Kassie Angle! I hope you enjoy our interview!
1. What is your favorite thing about being a Military Kid?
Everything...?? Yep, everything. 😉 I’ve known nothing different. Getting to move so often and see so many places is really amazing. I can’t imagine staying in one place my whole life. All the opportunities we’d never have had otherwise. The Army is a really strong community and knowing that our Army family will always be there for us is something I wouldn’t change for the world.
2. What is your least favorite thing about being a Military Kid?
Changes. Goodbyes. DEPLOYMENTS. Worrying about my dad getting killed. Ya know, those things that come with the territory but never get easier.
3. Name a few things you think people often forget about Military Kids?
We love it. We really do. When I was younger I never liked people thanking me for my service or sacrifice because...well, that’s just not how I felt. For one, I didn’t have a say in it (our family’s favorite analogy for Army kids is getting drafted), and for two, I loved this crazy life too much to think of it that way. Nowadays I can appreciate that more, but the truth is, no matter how hard it gets, we still love it.
And we don’t fit in anywhere else. Sometimes folks presume we’d be glad to be out of the Army now...but the Army is home. Anywhere else is way out of our comfort zone!
4. Where was your favorite base to live at? Why?
Ft. Hood. All the way. People deploy constantly from Ft. Hood, and there are thousands of people living there...so it kinda gets a bad rap. But it is an amazing place to live. Everybody’s in the same boat, and everybody knows it. If your dad’s deployed, so is everyone else’s. The community that builds is beautiful! (And Central Texas is physically beautiful, too... 😉) Knowing anyone will watch your back, just because we’re all Army—that everyone “gets it.” And with BLORA (Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area), the cavalry shows, the greatest FRGs (Family Readiness Group) in the world...the Army takes good care of its people. And the PX (Post Exchange; it’s like a store on base) there is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Sometimes we want to go to Ft. Hood just to go to the PX!
5. Name a Base you would have liked to visit.
Somewhere I still have my list of posts in Virginia along with the Civil War battlefields nearest to each one...! 😉 I would’ve given just about anything to get stationed in VA. But my number one would definitely be Landstuhl. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is the first stop for soldiers MEDEVACed (Medical evacuation) out of war zones, and there is an organization there called Soldiers’ Angels that I would love to volunteer with.
6. Anything else you think we should know about Military Kids?
Even the little kids understand more about Army life than you’d guess. Trust me on that. Looking back, it surprises me a little just how much I did understand at four and five. I don’t ever remember being taught that soldiers were killed in war, or that you salute the flag going down. And as I got older, seeing little friends with that same understanding that’s almost instinctual...I don’t know. That probably didn’t make any sense. 😉
And contrary to my younger self, if you know military kids, please tell them thank you. Honestly, no, we don’t want to be thanked for any sacrifice...chances are, we don’t feel like we’re the ones who’ve sacrificed. But sometimes it’s nice if someone notices that we do serve too. We might not take it in stride just then, but we’ll look back and feel honored. 💜
7. What is your favorite memory about being a Military Kid?
We’re gonna be here a while... Well, welcome home ceremonies are a natural choice—absolute chaos at an unreal hour, and it is the happiest, most exciting thing in the world. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really convey the emotion of a welcome home ceremony. We’ve literally wished we could have welcome home ceremonies without deployments—they’re that thrilling. Of course, they probably wouldn’t be without waiting through a deployment for them. 😉 The time our brigade had a welcome-home-sign-painting party and twelve-year-old me had the brilliant idea to paint a giant flag out of handprints with only four or five kids around...a soldier who had pretty small hands ended up filling in most of the flag. Independence Day when we had half-a-dozen of Daddy’s single and unaccompanied soldiers over and sang around the piano, discovering all the soldiers’ hidden musical talents, and then ending with a wild punch-balloon fight with a soldier who was kind of our adopted brother. Having pizza with friends every single week one deployment. One of Daddy’s soldiers taking my brother and I to the range while Daddy was deployed. Sitting in the cockpit of a fighter jet. How do you pick...
Okay!! I’ve got it. The day after my 16th birthday, Rescue was doing sling-load training out over the ocean. One helicopter would pick up an old car, slung under the heli (helicopter), and carry it out to sea while another heli stayed along the shoreline, “covering fire.” Well, I ran up on our roof to watch them just as the “covering fire” heli went by a couple blocks down from our house. Just for fun, I saluted it, and all of a sudden it pivoted and came right towards the house. I just stood there frozen holding my salute and that big Seahawk buzzed right over my head and turned back out to sea. I went running downstairs and Josh said, “That helicopter went right over our house!” I said, “Oh, you have no idea,” and just started crying. Yeah...that one definitely takes the prize. Getting buzzed by a Rescue heli for my 16th birthday. 😭
8. How did being a Military Kid influence you as a writer?
Wow...this is a neat question. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is all the experiences I’ve had that end up in stories. There’s a lot more real life in my stories than I usually care to admit. 😆However, on a more serious note, when I was about 15 it began to dawn on me that not everyone understands the Army life and that there is a lack of good sweet war stories to help them understand. One of my favorite writing quotes is “Listen to what others aren’t saying and write about the silence.” I guess this Army lifestyle has really opened my eyes to one of the silences. I’ve always been writing, but it was at that age that the Lord really opened my eyes to how I could use that writing—which would probably never have happened if we weren’t Army.
9. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Writing the action scenes, haha! If I get in a rut writing a slow scene, I jump ahead and write something fast-paced. It’s absolutely contradictory, but I will tell you in the same breath that I don’t like torturing my characters and that I love writing action scenes. It’s just the easiest part for me, for whatever reason! As much as I love stories with “breather” scenes, I also love stories that just run from one intense scene to another—and sometimes that’s the best way for me to convey my story’s emotion.
10. Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress?
No, I throw out spoilers way too easy! 😉 Well...Tattered Wings is about a small-town police officer, his daughter who is searching for answers about her past, a wounded Airborne Ranger, and the dog that brings them all together. I want to show a perspective of soldiers’ children I haven’t seen portrayed in fiction before while also writing about law enforcement and therapy dogs. The basic theme is very similar to O to be Like Thee— there is healing, and sometimes failure only means you didn’t fail—but the plot is completely different. My heart is still very much in O to be Like Thee, but I’m starting to fall in love with Tattered Wings, and I hope it can be comparable someday.
11. Do you think being a military kid affects your writing process in any way?
Hmm...well, I hope my stories read authentically military-wise, even with creative license...does that count? My stories are chock-full of Army terms and acronyms that I sometimes wonder if anyone will understand. Physically writing the story...probably, but I don’t know if I could tell you how.
12. Who do you hope to reach with your stories? Soldiers, civilians, both?
I’ve asked myself this sometimes... Both. Definitely both. I pray I write characters that soldiers can relate to and thus are willing to listen to. It’s hard, but there is hope. I pray that soldiers see that in my characters’ lives. Likewise, I also pray that I open the eyes of those who otherwise have no experience with the military—help them to understand what thousands of soldiers go through, give them a reason to remember and honor, show them why it’s worth respecting.
Thank you, so much, Kassie for doing this interview with me! And thank you to all the Military kids (Whether you’re still in or out, you are always a military kid!) for your sacrifice and service to our Great Nation, The United States of America! You are loved and appreciated!💜
Until Next Time,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.