Please help me welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Veronica Lynch! Her contemporary romance, THOSE WHO WAIT, can be ordered from DECANDENT PUBLISHING, and her new release, THE LIST, part of the CLASS OF '85 series from THE WILD ROSE PRESS, is coming soon;) You can contact Veronica at: VlynchAuthor@yahoo.com
and you can find out more about her writing at: www.VLynchAuthor.blogspot.com
Today Veronica is going to talk to us about Writing What You Know.
Thanks so much for being my guest, Veronica! Take it away:)
Having attended a number of writers conferences over the years, I've had the privilege to sit in on any number of workshops, the Craft Tract being a personal favorite. One which stood out the loudest came when I heard Nora Roberts tell her audience, 'write what you know.'
Coming from one of my heroes, the advice made sense―except I wondered how I, as a nurse [then] could ever turn a doctor into a hero. If you don't know where someone last had their hands, well . . . not an appealing thought as far as I was concerned.
Then came the day when I heard Tess Gerritsen speak at a New Jersey Romance Writers conference. She talked about her beginning roots in writing dated back to her medical residency days in the ICU and observing what the nurses―whom she spoke of with great respect and affection―were reading: category romances. Wow. A physician who spoke of nurses with respect. I had to read one of her books. Let me tell you, after devouring “The Apprentice”, I was hooked. Tess Gerritsen writes what she knows!
As a teenager living in a very rural area with little to do and no way to get anywhere, I read anything I could get my hands on. I discovered a book by Frank G. Slaughter in my parents' library, a Civil War story about a female spy and a male battle surgeon. Very bloody, lots of spilled guts, gore and suffering. Right up the alley of a fourteen year old with an over-active imagination and way too much time on her hands. Thoroughly hooked, I proceeded to sign out every one of his books from the school library as well as the library in a neighboring town. It wasn't until I later that I learned Mister Slaughter was actually a medical doctor. This man had the ability to put me in the moment of a battlefield hospital scene, suffering right along with the doctor and his patients. Later, one of Dr. Slaughter's contemporary novels, “Daybreak”, featured the trials and tribulations of a physician working in the mental health system prior to the advent of effective anti-psychotic medications when pre-frontal lobotomies and electroshock therapy were considered common treatment measures for psychiatric problems. Very chilling stuff for this young woman who was about to head off for three years of nursing school in―you guessed it―a state psychiatric facility. By the end of training, I'd passed more Thorazine and Mellaril than any ten nursing students―and no fresh lobotomies, thank you very much.
As a young wife with a graduate student husband and two small kids, money was tight. I lucked out when I discovered a second-hand book store and author Robert K. Tannenbaum's legal thrillers featuring Assistant District Attorneys Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi. With each book I learned about the steps in the legal process, evidence that can degrade over time or be lost by dumb luck or stupid accident, “eye witnesses” who aren't always as reliable as cops would like, and a how-to manual on criminals who beat the system. It came as no surprise when I learned this man spent many years in the Manhattan DA's office, prosecuting the worst of the worst. Writing with a sharp wit and biting sarcasm, after more than twenty years, Mr. Tannenbaum's books continue to hold my interest. Another instance of writing what one knows.
Lastly, I'd like to blow the horn for one of my nursing as well as writer heroes: Eileen Dreyer. After many years in category romance, Eileen―an experienced ER nurse―was called up to the big leagues with a series of medical thrillers set in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Invariably her heroines are nurses with advanced training [such as Eileen herself] in forensic evidence collection, death examinations, or critical incident management. With a sharp wit and biting humor, Eileen makes the everyday come to life and answers the question, “What if?”
In closing, I challenge any author to look at their everyday life and incorporate something they find there into his/her writing. Okay, so maybe you don't have an exciting job that includes passing bed pans or inserting suppositories, but do you have a volunteer job you really love, something that gives back ten times more than what you put in? I have a friend who volunteers at a soup kitchen, another takes calls on a domestic violence crisis line, a third takes an AA meeting into the county jail to the male prisoners.
Do you have an Aunt Helen [like me] who retired from the Navy Nurse Corps at the rank of Lieutenant Commander after serving in World War II and Korea? Do you have religious connections you might tap for a secondary character? I know an author who pumped her priest uncle for the scoop on how to get around the priest-penitent privilege and the sanctity of the confessional for one of her books―and yes, under certain circumstances, it can be done.
Where do you live or go for a vacation? Can that be turned into a setting so vivid readers want to move there? A January 2011 release for the Wild Rose Press' Class of '85 series, “After All These Years”, is set in the Adirondack Mountains. Believe me, she nailed it.
What turns you on? How do you fill all those empty hours in your life? Do you attend festivals or state fairs? How about protest marches? A September, 2010 anthology [Out of the Dark] from Wild Rose Press featured a protest march that turned into a riot. The author was a veteran of protests from back in the 80's and 90's; it was clear she knew what she was talking about. The description spoke to me as a reader as well as a woman.
For my first story with Decadent Publishing, “Those Who Wait”, I returned to my days as the director of a multi-county crisis intervention program which served over 1,000 victims of sexual violence and their significant others every year. Interactions with police officers were everyday occurrences. It was a lot of fun to write a romance between a hard core advocate and tough as nails police investigator.
“The List”, a short novella for the Class of '85, the Wild Rose Press, will be released in early 2011. I needed to research two separate themes for this story: the effects of school bullying, then and now and morbid obesity. I hope I've put my money where my mouth is!
Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to visit your blog. I had a great time.
as well as www.VLynchAuthor.blogspot.com