Former Lt. Cmdr. Geri Krotow's latest romance novel, 'Navy Orders,' is set in Washington state. (Photos courtesy of Geri Krotow)
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Lt. Cmdr. Geri Krotow (ret.) (Photos courtesy of Geri Krotow)
About the Author
Hometown: Lives in Mechanicsburg, Pa., outside Harrisburg; born in Buffalo, N.Y.
Served as: Aviation/anti-submarine warfare intelligence officer with P-3 Orions, spending time in South America, Europe and Greenland, according to her online bio.
Member of: RomVets, a group of romance writers with military experience. Online at www.romvets.com.
www.GeriKrotow.com. Site provides excerpts from the book.
The Whidbey Island series: “Navy Orders” is available on Amazon.com in print and digital formats. “Navy Hope,” an online serial, is available free on Krotow’s website. “Navy Rules” started the series and is still for sale, while “Navy Rescue” will debut next summer. “Navy Christmas” will arrive in time for the 2014 holidays.
Other works: “A Rendezvous to Remember,” her first novel, will be re-released in November; other Harlequin Superromance novels include “Sasha’s Dad“ and “What Family Means.”
Giving back: “Navy Christmas” will involve a prisoner-of-war storyline, and Krotow will raffle off the name of one of the characters — for $1, you get the chance to be in a romance novel — to raise money for the The National League of POW/MIA Families. The raffle will take place in December. For entry information, contact Elaine Palen, the group’s Iowa state coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org; more information on the nonprofit group can be found at www.pow-miafamilies.org.
A female lieutenant commander based in Washington state receives an unexpected-yet-welcome kiss from a male chief warrant officer. It feels like “a long-awaited sip of rich red wine.” It leads to a “sexy sigh.”
Among other things.
Before any fraternization complaints get launched, note this — the characters are fictional, starring in “Navy Orders,” a new Harlequin Superromance novel written by a former naval intelligence officer whose second career has pulled from her first in the ongoing “Whidbey Island” series.
Lt. Cmdr. Geri Krotow graduated from the Naval Academy in 1986. She resigned her commission in 1995 to raise her two children and write while traveling with her husband, now-retired Capt. Steve Krotow (USNA ’85, married three days after Geri Krotow’s graduation).
She’d written while on active duty, but nothing had ever been published, she said, “for a number of good reasons.”
She joined the Romance Writers of America in 1999. She won a writing contest in 2002. But nothing clicked, at least from a publishing standpoint, until 2006 — writing from a room in Belgium, overlooking a park, Krotow put together a fictional tale of a granddaughter finding her grandmother’s journal detailing Allied resistance efforts during World War II.
Resistance fighters “probably fired from where I had made my office,” she said. “The resistance fired down on some German army troops that were camping.”
The resulting twin-timeline romance became “A Rendezvous to Remember.” It won a Harlequin romance contest and landed Krotow a spot in the publisher’s “Everlasting Love” book line, which only lasted six months.
She did manage to get a copy of “A Rendezvous to Remember” into the hands of President Obama in 2009, when he visited Moscow during Steve Krotow’s time as naval attache there. It was inscribed to the first lady.
The president’s response, according to a Huffington Post article: “This looks sexy.”
Her next literary step wasn’t clear until her editor, Paula Eykelhof, suggested a series of Navy-themed romances. Krotow, 50, stationed her characters in Whidbey Island, where she spent many emotional days in the early 2000s with young children and a deployed husband.
“I think it was my most intense time as a Navy spouse, just knowing that they might not come back,” she said. “I also think it’s a unique Navy setting. ... I think it’s the most friendly community toward the military I’ve ever lived in, stateside.”
As commanding officer of the “Grey Knights” of Patrol Squadron 46, her husband landed the first Navy plane at Baghdad International Airport after the city fell in 2003. He has supported his wife’s post-service career from the start, she said — staying home with their two children when they were younger and their mom was networking at writer conferences, for example.
And he puts up with the occasional joke at the office.
“He’s got friends that are still mad they’re not featured on the cover,” she said.
It’s part of a long-standing stereotype that reduces romance novels to Fabio pictures and “50 Shades of Grey,” — something Krotow is used to, but no less frustrated by.
“I feel like I’m constantly educating people on the romance genre,” she said. “Jane Austen, Shakespeare, they wrote romance. Nobody dissed them. ... There’s sex in romance. It’s part of life.”