Each month, VA’s Center for Women Veterans profiles a different woman Veteran author as part of its Women Veteran Authors Book Corner. This month’s author is Army Veteran Aurea Franklin, who served for 23 years.
Franklin wrote “Silent Freedom,” to share her journey of faith, love, loss and hope for a better future. “I wrote to share these experiences with people who don’t know what Veterans endure,” she said. “I wrote Silent Freedom as a memoir of my service with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Iraq. I dedicated the book to my son and loved ones. I wrote to empty my heart of the sadness that I felt as I left a young son to deploy to Iraq. I wrote to ease the grief of losing fellow brothers and sisters.”
What are you doing now?
I am currently helping Veterans and small businesses by ensuring that they have full participation in VA and Federal Government procurements. I also have started working on my new passion, being an author.
Where and when did you serve?
I served in the U.S. Army for 23 years in personnel administration, HR, finance during OIF/OEF.
What was your proudest service memory?
I served at the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault (AASLT) in Iraq. I enjoyed my position as the coordinator of the Soldier Readiness Program, as it allowed me to meet and collaborate with outstanding soldiers and important people outside my battalion, such as the post command sergeant major, the IG officials, and the commanding general.
What was your inspiration for becoming an author?
I wanted to share my miracles in Iraq. Also, my service, love, loss, and war, what I saw, and what soldiers have been through in a war-torn country.
How has your military experience shaped your creativity or how you express yourself?
It made me a better person.
What advice would you give other women Veterans who may be considering becoming an author?
They have the freedom to choose what they want to be. They are free to think what they want to think and do what their heart and mind dictate. Being an author could be challenging and could also be inspirational. Being an author is self-fulfilling.
How can women Veteran authors shape society’s understanding of women Veterans’ military experience and their contributions?
I believe I can be instrumental in having men respect the fact that women can also serve in a theater of conflict like Iraq. My license plate shows that I am a recipient of bronze stars. Whenever I park my car, some men ask where my husband got those bronze stars. As a result, it has compelled me to buy a shirt showing, “I am a Veteran.”
Part of the proceeds from my book, Silent Freedom: A Memoir of Service with the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault (AASLT) in Iraq, will be donated to the womenveteransgiving.org to help improve the life of women Veterans, especially those who are wounded and need access to information and other things.
What were some of your obstacles and challenges in writing this book?
There were some challenges in life while I was writing the book. But I was persistent, and it finally paid off. I finished it and has been published.
What are your recommendations for illustrating, book cover selection, and the publishing process?
Illustration. I was inspired by my favorite authors and followed their styles and my experience made it a lot easier to write.
Book cover selection. It is about patriotism, so it made it easy for me to choose the book design. We all know that red, white, and blue are the colors of the American flag, so I chose them. I have the one and only picture in the trenches. It’s all I got in solo, and so I used it.
Silent freedom is self-published, under Aurea Press. I had to comply with federal tax law requirement, as well as state license and tax requirements. I was fortunate to find a company in helping me publish my book. Dr. Linda Williams helped me in finding editors for the manuscript and printing. I like the company’s ethics, and whose staff respected me and allowed me to address my ideas. We had a good working relationship and that was very important to me.
What is one significant thing we should know about you?
I have a Golden Heart.
How has writing this book helped you?
It helped me capture my miracles, and other happy and painful memories while with my unit.
What is your favorite quote?
“Victory belongs to the most persevering,” by Napoleon Bonaparte.
If you could choose one woman from any point in time to share a meal with, who would she be?
Blessed Virgin Mary.
Are you a woman Veteran author, or do you know of one?
If so, please visit our website to find out more information. If you have further questions, contact the CWV Outreach Program Manager Michelle Terry at Michelle.Terry2@VA.gov.