One of the great expressions about fiction writing is that “We tell untruths to arrive at truths.”
That’s why I started writing novels, and especially that’s why I started writing medical thrillers.
Doctors save lives. We deliver babies and save babies. We help prevent disease, we treat disease, and we can often cure disease. The power of life and death is often in our hands.
The problem is that power can corrupt, and some doctors, unfortunately, are not immune to the kind of corruption that human nature permits.
When people find out I wrote a book, the first question that pops up is: “Where did you find the time?”
Not “what kind of book?” Not “how long did it take you to write it?” Not “what is it about?” Yes, these questions come out eventually, but the first, almost irrepressible, question is about finding the time.
For those of you who haven’t been to Savannah, you’re missing out on some fantastic inspiration—especially if you have a supernatural story to tell.
Besides being an idyllic vacation spot, Savannah lends itself to every kind of tale. Savannah is a port city, with the historic district being on the banks of the Savannah River. Legends and myths abound about innocent men having a drink on River Street and then being shanghaied onto pirate ships. There are real places, such as the local favorite restaurant aptly named The Pirates House, which gave truth to the legends: underground shanghai tunnels that stretch to the riverfront can be spotted inside the restaurant even today.
I’m fully aware that over the years, fiction writers have been warned by that old Sam Goldwyn quote, “If you’ve got a message, send a telegram.” I know, I know, in mass market fiction, we’re writing primarily to entertain with great stories, memorable characters, adventure or thrills and gripping emotions rather than share a message.
Anyone subscribing to Shelf Pleasure obviously loves to read, right? And so many readers secretly (or not so secretly) really want to write! That described me for close to 70 years. But I never thought I had enough imagination to write fiction, which was the only kind of writing I wanted to do.
My maternal grandmother was the owner of the Pepsi Cola factory in Vietnam before the Communists took over. Barely able to read, she took over the business after my grandfather died suddenly of a stroke in his early 40s. My mother always boasted about Grandma’s success and showed me pictures of her with celebrities including Hollywood star Joan Crawford and the Vietnamese president.