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Extensive travel aids local writer

Fleur Bradley grew up in the Netherlands to Dutch parents, and her homeland is also where she met her husband, Jason Bradley, who was stationed at Volkel Air Force Base. Bradley has traveled throughout Europe; and, as an Air Force wife, she has lived in a variety of cities in the U.S., but she is content calling Colorado ìhome.îBradley said when people find out she is from the Netherlands, their reaction is ìOh, wowî and/or ìWhereís the Netherlands?îShe enjoys talking about the Netherlands, including the differences in the educational system. In the Netherlands, children attend elementary school for six years. At age 12, the government administers an IQ test to help determine an academic path for the studentsí high school years, Bradley said. Depending on the test results, students are separated into two primary tracks: trade school or academia, with a few variations in between. ìIt sounds a little terrifying, but actually it is kind of nice because there are no kids struggling, trying to keep up with other kids,î she said. Bradley was placed on the academic track, and graduated from Kruisheren Kollege (high school) in 1993. Bradleyís aspirations included studying communications in college, but she married instead, and the Air Force took her out of the Netherlands to Lakenheath Air Force Base in England.While her husband worked long hours with the security forces, Bradley took a job as a bank teller for Barclays, a British-based international banking and financial services company; which is headquartered in London. Bradley said she didnít realize at the time that she had landed a ìreally sought-after job.îDuring the blizzard of 1997, the Bradleys moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado; where they lived for two years. Jason Bradley spent half his time training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California; Fleur Bradley stayed behind and worked in the collections department of Fanta National Bank.In 1999, they were assigned to a remote Air Force base in Cavalier, North Dakota. Bradley said the base housing consisted of 12 ìsouped upî trailers, but they made the best of it. ìYou get something nice out of every place,î she said. ìI got used to waving to everyone because there are so few people.îIn 2000, their first daughter, Tyne, was born in Cavalier. ìIt was the best place to have your first child because the community was so tight,î Bradley said. ìEverybody helped each other out Ö I have good memories of that.îAbout a year later, the Bradleys moved from North Dakota to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.A second daughter, Nika, arrived in 2002; after her birth, Bradley began writing. ìI wanted to do something for myself,î she said. While she was pregnant with her first daughter and on bed-rest, she had decided to try and write a book. ìI was in that bit of hubris moment of ëI can do this. I can write a book ó this doesn’t look hard at all,íî Bradley said. ìI did it, and it was awful.îSo, Bradley started reading how-to books on writing. ìI read one and it said you should write short stories, because it is a good way to learn and not have so much invested,î she said. Bradley began writing a few short stories, keeping them under wraps. ìI didnít share my big ambitions of someday doing something with it; because, if it doesnít work out, it makes you look bad,î she said. ìIt was nice to just have it to myself.î Bradley started out writing mysteries, and a few were published. ìThat was my encouragement; Iím better at this than I thought,î she said.In 2005, the Air Force assigned Jason Bradley to Peterson Air Force in Colorado, and the Bradley family moved to Falcon. Bradley continued to write short stories and also found steady income as a freelance writer, specializing in finance. ìShort story writing was more for the love than for the money,î she said. Her previous short stories were written for adults, but Bradley decided to write stories for teens and young adults. She began working with a New York City agent, who suggested she write for children 8 to 12 years old. ìI write kind of in a smart voice,î she said. ìI wrote it for the kid who is smart and funny, but isnít afraid to break the rules.îBradley landed a contract to write a three-book series in 2011. She developed a story around a smart and skilled 12-year-old boy, who didnít fit in the traditional classroom. She wanted to create a book that would appeal to the reluctant reader, so Bradleyís 12-year-old character became a spy. ìThe best compliment I get is from parents who said their kid wonít read, but they stayed up late to read my book,î Bradley said. Although her books are centered on a young male character, she said girls enjoy reading her books, too. ìYou find that girls will read books for boys; but, on the flip side, boys will not read books for girls.î Bradley also enjoys incorporating strong female characters in non-traditional roles. ìI think that is important today, because boys today have strong moms, and a lot of the traditional roles are not the same,î she said.Also in 2011, Bradleyís husband received orders to go to Biloxi, Mississippi. While living there, Bradley completed her book series. The first book in the series, ìDouble Vision,î was published in October 2012. The second book, ìDouble Vision ó Code Name 711,î was released in October 2013; and ìDouble Vision ó Alias Menî was published in October 2014.In July of last summer, the Air Force sent Bradleyís back to Colorado. ìHe called me up and said, ëWe are going home baby!íî she said. ìHeís from Chicago, and Iím from the Netherlands. Neither one of us really has a home, but this was home for us.î The Bradleys once again settled in Falcon. ìI like that when I go to Walmart, there is a soccer mom here and a rancher right here,î she said. ìI think that is cool.îBradley is currently working on another mystery series for young adults, which will include a young female detective from Mississippi. Her experiences traveling and living in different places has been a plus in the writing process. ìThatís the thing when you move around a lot,î she said. ìYou take bits of those places with you.î For now Bradley doesnít plan on moving anywhere. ìColorado is my home, and I love it here.î

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