Medical romance isn’t a genre I feature very often here on Being Anne, but I’m really pleased today to be joining the blog tour for Making the Difference by Kathryn Haydon, published by Mezzanotte in January 2017 (e-book format) & March 2017 (print format). The book is available from Amazon in the UK and US, and for the duration of the tour is FREE to download for kindle.
Single mum, Phoebe Jackson is stunned to find her new neighbour is hot, new doc Oliver Grey – locum consultant for Greenways Hospice where she is a specialist palliative care nurse. At their first encounter sparks fly, but soon there are sparks of a different sort. However, Oliver makes it clear from the outset that he’s not a settling down kind of guy. Having a family is not for him. Phoebe must decide if a summer romance is enough – or can true love change his mind?
Look like one you’ll enjoy? Let’s try an extract…
“I like you, Phoebe Jackson – very much.” Placing a finger on her lips, Oliver silenced her. “If we take things any further it’s your call. Only before you make that decision you need to know something. I don’t do families, or long-term commitment. I’m a man who can’t offer roses round the door and a happy ever after ending. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, never say I didn’t warn you.”
Feeling her cheeks flame, Phoebe gasped. Stepping back smartly, she broke Oliver’s hold, head held high.
“I think you’d better go,” she hissed, keeping her voice low because of her son sleeping upstairs. “Though, for the record, aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself, Oliver? I’m content with my life the way it is. Noah and I are fine on our own. It would take a really special kind of guy to make me even consider changing the status quo. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve already got roses round my door!”
“Hell, Phoebe, I didn’t mean…” Cursing under his breath, he reached for her.
Fending him off, Phoebe’s eyes blazed.
“What exactly did you mean, Oliver? I’m not sure.” Her voice was saccharine sweet. “Are you suggesting, since we live in such close proximity, that you pop round for a spot of sex whenever the mood takes, no strings attached? We are both single, how very convenient. I’m afraid you’ll have to let me get back to you on that one. I haven’t had much experience of playing the hussy.”
“Phoebe, be a grown up. I’m moving on after the summer.” Oliver gave her a hard look. “We both know that. I’m not into making promises I can’t keep.”
I’m delighted to welcome Kathryn Haydon to Being Anne, to tell us more about the importance of research when writing a medical romance.
Is it possible to write a medical romance without adequate research? Hmm – my immediate feeling is no. Research is needed to tell the story with an authentic voice. The story must ring true. Indeed, that can be said of writing in any genre. For instance, I wouldn’t dream of penning a novel set in Roman Britain unless I’d done thorough research beforehand. To go a step further; I don’t know why any writer would consider making things more difficult for themselves by attempting a medical romance, if they had no prior experience of the relevant settings, or hadn’t done the research.
How much research is enough, though? I’d say this depends on the storyline. You need enough background to enable a realistic story to unfold; enough medical detail at your fingertips to allow that authentic voice to shine through. Then the writing will flow.
On the other hand, remember not to swamp your reader with info that isn’t needed. A medical romance should not read like a medical text book! For this reason, be cautious regarding any reference to specific drugs or drug dosage. After all, you wouldn’t want to be sued by a reader who had symptoms akin to one of your characters and decided to follow the ‘advice’ in your book – with an unfortunate outcome! Unlikely? Maybe, but sometimes unlikely things happen. So, knowing when to hold back on the detail is as useful as knowing when and where to use it. Thank you, Bettina at Mezzanotte for teaching me this!
So, research is important. Where best, apart from the internet, to do this research? Lucky are the folk who have friends or relatives working in the medical field, as they are the obvious first port of call. Otherwise it’s a case of finding someone willing to answer a few questions on their working day – e.g. someone working in the role you want to portray in your book. Ask questions about shift pattern, a normal daily routine and what skill mix their team needs to perform well? And what drew them to the job!
Of course, sometimes research comes via things we’d rather not have to go through. Like being a patient ourselves – or caring for a friend or family member through a period of illness. Where writing is concerned, all life experience counts. It’s what shapes us. All part of life’s rich tapestry which, in turn, gives depth to and hones our writing.
My own research comes via my nursing background. In my professional life, I’ve been a young staff nurse on night duty on a (mainly) surgical ward, done a stint as an agency nurse, been employed as a night sister in a nursing home – and, lastly, a palliative care nurse. Of course, this doesn’t mean I never have to check anything, or look something up – I do. However, it does mean I have the bare bones in place. The skeleton of the story, which means I can concentrate on fleshing out the rest. An understanding of doctor, nurse and patient interaction – plus all the professional specialties that support in between – frees me to focus on the narrative. For me, it really has been a case of ‘write what you know.’
Thank you Kathryn – wishing you every success with this one, and whatever comes next.
With thanks to Kathryn and tour organiser Brook Cottage Books, one lucky winner can win a paperback copy of the book (open internationally). Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
A word from Kathryn Haydon
Hello readers, pleased to meet you and have this chance to introduce myself. I am a West Country author; indeed, the red earth of Devon is steeped in my bones. I write under the pen name of Kathryn Haydon – Haydon as a nod to my mother (it was her maiden name) and Kathryn for no other reason than it flows well!
From as far back as I remember, I’ve loved to write and always hoped to be published ‘one day’ – but, as all writers know, the road to publication is a tough one and it’s taken me a while. Although short story competition wins, not least the Crediton Courier prize in June 2016, felt good, publishing a novel remained elusive. However, in January 2017, my dream was realised. What a thrill to see Making the Difference launched via Amazon.com, first as an e-book and later, March 2017, in print format. A big thank you to Bettina at Mezzanotte for all her support and guidance along the way.
What were the highlights as I worked steadily though my six-month contract with Mezzanotte, bringing my book to completion? There were several, starting (of course) with Bettina’s email stating that she liked my synopsis and first three chapters – and could I please send her the rest. You bet I could; in fact, I couldn’t send the remaining chapters off fast enough! The thing that stands out most, though, is the excitement I felt on being involved in choice of my book’s dust jacket. A real ‘wow’ moment, especially as I love it!
Why choose the medical romance genre? Well, they say write what you know and I am a retired nurse. So, it made sense to use a medical setting as the backdrop for my story. Also, I remain passionate about good palliative care; it really does make the difference. So, if you’re looking for something new – a ‘feel good’ book to curl up with on a winter evening by a cosy log fire, perhaps – then look no further. Making the Difference is waiting for you, with an ending that won’t disappoint.
I’ve enjoyed writing Oliver and Phoebe’s story very much. I hope you have equal pleasure reading it.
Very best wishes,