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What makes a true hero - Callum McKay from Rage

Rage, Benson's Boys book 3, is due for early release on the 29th of September and it's all about one of the four partners of Benson Security, Callum McKay. Callum was a hard character for me to write and doing his story justice was tough. I had many sleepless nights worrying about this man! As most of you know, Callum was an elite SAS soldier and he was injured in Afghanistan when an IED blew off both his legs. Since then, he's been trying to pretend that he's exactly the same person he was before the blast. He doesn't like people to know he has prosthetic legs and he would never admit to needing help in any situation. 

That all changed when he was with his team in Peru (Relentless, Benson's Boys Book 2). While his team were under fire, Callum lost one of his prosthetics and the other was damaged. He had to spend the rest of the mission in a wheelchair. Although that didn't slow him down in any way, it did change how he saw himself and how he felt his team saw him too. He became depressed, believing himself useless and a liability to his team.

And that's where Rage starts. At the start of the book, we discover that Callum has quit Benson Security and gone off to hide out in his grandfather's old house in nowhere Scotland. He is absolutely convinced that he's no use to anyone because he has prosthetic limbs, and although he's no longer suicidal, he's definitely against getting involved with people in any way, shape or form.

And that's where things got hard! I had to come up with a reason for Callum to deal with people again. So, I did what any evil, obsessive writer would do, I gave Callum a situation he couldn't walk away from. A situation where his overactive responsibility-gene was triggered. One that demanded he give into his core nature and behave honorably and courageously once again. And then I watched Callum show me just how amazing he is.

And that's what I want you to see too, when you read his story. I didn't want to write a book where Callum's disability was the focus of the novel. I wanted the reader, and Callum, to see the complete man and for his prosthetic limbs to become just another component of a complex package. I wanted the reader to be astonished at how competent, sexy, capable and annoyingly arrogant he could be, instead of thinking that he was doing great for someone who'd lost their legs. 

To me, Callum is incredibly attractive. He's one of those men who was born honorable. A man who helps when he sees someone in trouble. A man who is unable to stop putting himself on the line to protect the people who need it. He's every soldier who fights on our behalf. He's the firefighter who runs into the burning building when everyone else is running out. He's the cop who stands up to violence when those around him cower. He's a genuine hero. A man who isn't looking for praise, or reward, but who does what he does because it's who he is.

That's why Callum's sense of identity took a beating when he lost his legs. He was convinced that his new reality meant he couldn't do the very things that made him who he was - that he'd never run into that burning building ever again. I wanted this story to show him that he's wrong. Nothing can hold Callum back for long. We saw that in Relentless. If he can't do something one way, he finds another way. And I wanted him to realise that his bloody minded determination was a strength, not a sign that he was failure because he couldn't do what he used to do.

I hope I managed that in this story. I realise that everyone deals with disability differently, and even two people with the same disability can have a very different experience of it. I can't, and shouldn't, speak for everyone when I write. This is Callum's story and it's very particular to him. And I hope that you too can see just how amazing he truly is.


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