Few people would question the difficulties faced by U.S. soldiers deployed to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

But life isn’t easy either for families left behind in the States or at home bases across the globe.

Chrisy Krueger, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Nathan Krueger, is deployed to Afghanistan, portrays some of the challenges that Army spouses face in her first novel, “Vino in Vo.” It is about three fictional spouses living in Vicenza, Italy, dealing with their husbands’ deployment to Iraq.

The subject isn’t too far from Krueger’s own experience: Her husband served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Iraq during the couple’s stay in Italy.

“I guess the best way to explain it is I did get some (subject matter) from a lot of Army wives,” Krueger said in a recent phone interview from her parents’ home in Florida. “It’s not about three specific people I had in mind.”

Military spouses should have no problems identifying with the three main characters.

There’s Pary, a farm girl from Oklahoma with a sunny outlook and an array of homespun sayings that are spread throughout the novel — and which might distract readers from time to time. There’s Jonah, Pary’s opposite on the outlook spectrum, who has had to endure a series of life tragedies. And there’s Kristen, who learns to loosen up a bit — and gives birth — while her husband’s deployed.

The three gradually form an unlikely support group while their husbands are away.

The 27-year-old Krueger admits that while the characters aren’t real, she does see some of herself in Kristen and Pary.

“It is fictional, although I did have a child while my husband was in Iraq,” she said. She also went to high school with her husband, but didn’t fall for him until right before he deployed to Italy — just like Kristen in the book.

Those who have been stationed in Italy will find familiar aspects about local residents and the military life overseas. Krueger didn’t quite experience what living in Vicenza was like while her husband was deployed, though. Since she was pregnant, she went back to the States while her husband was getting shots before the deployment. And then decided to stay there until he returned.

However, she kept in touch with others who stayed in Italy. And she said that life is stressful for a spouse no matter where they live, and the subject deserves attention.

“I actually started [writing] about three days after my husband returned from Iraq,” she said. “He had this sense of ‘Wow, I survived Iraq.’ And I thought: ‘So did I.’”

Thousands of servicemembers haven’t, though. Krueger dedicates her book to two members of the 173rd who died while her husband was deployed and another soldier who died during another deployment to Iraq. One of them, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Sebban, had volunteered to take Nathan Krueger’s spot on a deployment to Iraq so he wouldn’t miss the birth of his second child in July 2006. Nathan then joined a different brigade in the 82nd Airborne Division and deployed to Afghanistan early in 2007.

Krueger said she’s “pretty confident the next book is going to be military themed as well.

“I just love the military in how we all pull together. I don’t think anyone else could understand it unless they had experienced it.”

“Vino in Vo” is available on Amazon or at a slightly discounted price at Part of the proceeds from book sales will go toward the Bob Woodruff Family Fund, set up by the ABC news correspondent to aid those wounded in the conflict.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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