The Three Components a Firehawks Book Must Have

When I first conceived the Firehawks series, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I never do at the beginning of a book. That’s actually a joke on the writer. There are novels for which I have created detailed outlines. And even when I have followed (mostly) that outline, the story ends up with a depth, richness, and theme that I could never have conceived before I wrote it. I’m always amused when someone comes up and tells me what my own book is about. It’s not that they’re wrong, they’ve often nailed the heart of the story. It’s that I, as the author, had no clue that was there when I wrote the story.

I write or have written almost a dozen different series and I’m only now starting to unravel what makes them distinct. They already are, I’m just a little laggard in identifying those elements. The Firehawks are romantic suspense, so a romance and suspense are a given, but what else must they contain?

Cool Firefighting with Helicopters

When I first started researching helicopters, I thought that the military guys had to be the ones most out-on-the-edge taking it right to the limit. Nope. Or maybe, not only them. Heli-aviation firefighters are way out there as well. Their equipment and skills are just as specialized. The face engine-killing ash, blinding smoke, thermals that can drive you up or drag you down with no notice.  They also have practices and techniques to fight fire, but no two fires are ever the same forcing them to constantly innovate in an incredibly hostile environment. Bringing this to life is so much fun.

A Different Attitude

A Firehawks pilot is a different breed than a military one. Many of them are ex-military, but the motivations are so different. Some heli-aviation firefighters treat it as a job. I’ve heard one describe it as “driving a water truck through the sky.” Granted, there is a loss of tension when someone isn’t actively shooting at you. In the military, the number one motivator is the team. It is the people that they fly with every day into life-threatening situations that matter the most. Command, battle, attack: those are all secondary to the core team. The only possible exception is the Combat Search and Rescue where the core team emotionally annexes each wounded soldier they extract from the heat of battle. But most people who fight wildfire, whether on the ground or from the air, are drawn by a different call. The team is still important, but it is the land that calls most of them. There is a passion among those who fight wildfire to protect the land and keep it whole.

A Risk

The final key element of a Firehawks tale is the risk. There are many, very carefully considered dangers to fighting a wildfire. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to push my people harder. And how better to do that than to push them in over their heads. Every Firehawks novel takes the crew beyond firefighting and drives them past any limits they ever thought they had. They are driven ahead, and not merely to the point where they must excel or perish. More importantly, because remember this is a romance, they are driven to the point where only together can they excel sufficiently to survive. And not merely as firefighters, but with all of the passion of their hearts.


When former Army National Guard helicopter pilot Robin Harrow joins Mount Hood Aviation, she expects to fight fires for only one season. Instead, she finds herself getting deeply entrenched with one of the most elite firefighting teams in the world. And that’s before they send her on a mission that’s seriously top secret, with a flight partner who’s seriously hot.

Mickey Hamilton loves flying, firefighting, and women, in that order. But when Robin Harrow roars across his radar, his priorities go out the window. On a critical mission deep in enemy territory, their past burns away and they must face each other. Their one shot at a future demands that they first survive the present—together.

The author is giving away a print copy of Pure Heat, the first in Buchman’s Firehawks series to one U.S. reader. Make a comment below to be entered in this giveaway.

Matt Buchman_1

M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews and is a 2016 RWA RITA finalist. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. He is constantly amazed at what can be done with a degree in geophysics. You may keep up with his writing and receive exclusive content by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.