Welcome to boot camp carnival style. Get ready to have the work out of your life doing push-ups, long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. Today we are going to have a very sexy drill sergeant from the prestigious Denmark Military Academy, teaching us a few things about what it takes to become a world class cadet. You see DMA has decided that for the first time ever they are going to allow girls to enroll in their school. Dean Stamm is the drill sergeant in charge of the five girls brave enough to try and accomplish something no girl has done before which is graduate from DMA. There are plenty of people that don’t welcome this new change to happen and if the girls want to last the year they are going to have to keep their wits about them and learn who they can trust. So join me in welcoming Drill Sergeant Stamm today.
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DFT: To start things off can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to attend DMA?
Dean Stamm: Sure, I’m Dean Stamm, junior at the DMA and drill sergeant of Alpha Company. I’m a military brat—brother in the Army, sister at West Point. Just following in the combat-boot footsteps, you know?
DFT: I know that military school can be pretty brutal so to help us prepare would you mind giving us a few tips that might make our boot camp experience today a little easier?
Dean Stamm: The most important tip I can give you is to never give up. Each of you is a lot stronger than you think you are. If you quit on yourself or don’t even start because you think you can’t do it, then of course you’re going to fail. You may not do all the push-ups I ask you to do today, but any is better than none, and soon, if you keep working on it, you’re going to do what I ask and then more.
DFT: Physically you have to be very fit to get through training. Can you tell us some of the drills we will be expected to perform today?
Dean Stamm: I’m planning to run you through a typical PT session, so we’re going to start with some stretching and cardio just to get our hearts pumping—sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers—you know, that kind of thing. After that we’ll take a five mile run, which should take about 40-50 minutes, and then we’ll go through the obstacle course. We’ll time you as you run through the twelve obstacles we’ve got set up for you. See? No sweat!
DFT: What is the standard uniform we will be expected to wear? Since this is just a one day thing do you think it would be ok if we wore cute workout clothes instead of military uniforms? We can even wear cute camo if you want us to !
Dean Stamm: *clears throat* Now, now, I’m afraid to make this as real as possible, you’re going to have to dress like cadets. Camouflage pants and button-down blouse over a brown undershirt. Combat boots. You can forego the camo hat if you want. Hey, at least you don’t have to wear the wool uniforms, right?
DFT: Now I want to ask you a few personal questions if that’s okay. You were the drill sergeant for the first females to go to DMA, and there were many who didn’t want this change to occur. What was it like to be given such a huge responsibility of protecting these girls from some of your fellow students?
Dean Stamm: As part of a military school, I do what they tell me to. When I got put in charge of Alpha Company, I knew we were going to have some issues. But my recruits are my recruits, whether male or female. I did what I would have done for anyone. Look, we all go through the same thing. I know there are some cadets who think the freshmen have to “prove” themselves, but they do that every day. What’s wrong with giving them all a fair chance?
DFT: When you join the military your unit is like your family. You will do anything to protect the people you have grown to call brothers. How much of a betrayal was it to you when you found out that some of your own were trying to hurt your recruits?
Dean Stamm: Honestly, I thought it was bullshit. We are a family and we should be helping each other out. If I’d been able to do what I wanted, I would have caused some serious damage. But rules are rules and there are bigger things at play here than just personal feelings. The DMA Code of Conduct will work, like it’s supposed to, and while I still would really like to punch some of them, I’ve got recruits to lead. My primary job is leading by example.
DFT: Relationships with any of the female cadets is strictly forbidden, so with these next questions I want you to know that we are completely trust worthy and won’t tell a soul about what you disclose to us today. What was your first impression when you met Cadet Sam McKenna? What do you think is her best physical feature?
Dean Stamm: *tugs at collar* Mac—Recruit McKenna looked strong when she came here, as ready to be part of the DMA as any other recruit. And, I’m not allowed to date my recruits so…I’m going to go with her brain being her best physical feature and we’ll just leave it at that, okay?
DFT: Even though this will probably not happen any time in the near future, will you tell us what you would do and where you would go if you had the opportunity to take Sam on a normal date?
Dean Stamm: You know you could get me in a lot of trouble for this, right? I mean…you know who’s leading the Corps next year. Shit, fine, it wouldn’t be anything stupid like dinner and a movie or something. Maybe a hike? There are some great waterfalls around here, and I make a mean peanut butter and jelly. Besides, there’d be less of a chance of being seen breaking the rules that way. And after sharing Mac with the whole Corps for a year, some alone would be really nice…*clears throat*
DFT: I don’t know what you like to do for fun but if you were to attend a carnival like the one we are at today what would be the first thing you would want to try?
Dean Stamm: Is there a climbing wall? Or one of those hammer things where you see how hard you can hit something? Barring all that, as cheesy as it sounds, maybe the Ferris wheel? Again, when you’re surrounded by hundreds of guys every day, a little quiet time means a lot.
DFT: If there is a continuation of your story (which we really hope there is) what are some things we might expect from you in the future?
Dean Stamm: Well, my life goes on whether you read about it or not. But I’d hope you’d find me just dedicated to my school and to the cadets there as ever. I’ve got plans, you know? West Point and the Army after that, so there’ll definitely be a uniform in my future—I think chicks kind of dig, you know?
Thanks for having me here, and I hope you’re ready for me to put you through your paces. Why don’t you get your uniform squared away and we’ll get started!
Born and raised in Virginia, I’ve come back to my roots after five years of wandering up and down the East Coast. From being a barista to editing, writing commercials for television to being a middle school/high school English teacher, there’s nothing I’m not willing to try. That includes going to military school (on a dare), hiking 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and playing in the mud with my students!
A graduate of Greensboro College, I received the Excellence in English award for my fiction and poetry contributions. In 2007 I graduated from Long Ridge Writers Group’s Breaking Into Print class, and in 2009 I finished their Shape, Write, and Sell Your Novel classes.
Now, between hiking, doing obstacle course runs, and having fun with my husband and two sons, I continue to write.
You can visit Joy around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
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Available September 9, 2014 from HarperTeen
About this Book:
Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.
So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.
Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.
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