Thanks for joining me for WHAT TO READ WEDNESDAY! Today we have my wonderful friend CALISA RHOSE visiting. Her second book, RISK FACTORS, has just released with Lyrical Publishing and I’m so excited for her This is a definite “must read” on my wish list.
Calisa wrote a wonderful blog about what makes RISK FACTORS special to her…and it’s jammed full of wonderful insight and info.
So settle back everyone…and take it away Calisa!
I’m so excited to be here with you today, Christine! I have loved your blog since day one and it is an honor to be a guest finally. I’m on tour since my new Lyrical Press book, Risk Factors, released two days ago.
While thinking about what I wanted to post here I began asking myself what is special about this book. It came swiftly to me and I want to share what makes Risk Factors special.
When I began writing Risk Factors I had no idea I would get more than author satisfaction out of the story, that sense of accomplishment we all feel as we type ‘the end.’ Of course I had that sense of relief and joy at having completed yet one more manuscript. There’s just no way to truly explain that feeling and I think every author feels it differently to some extent because that end means something different to each of us. It may be our first or twentieth, it may be a landmark simply because the writer has the feeling “this is the one” when so many before it got rejections faster than a dog goes after a rabbit (I got my first rejection within a month after my first submission to HQN). Whatever it is, each completed story is special.
So, what makes each book special in its right? Well, for Risk Factors it gave me a deep insight into the career of my hero, Connor McKay. This one also taught me writers can’t be lazy. Yeah, I know…you’re not lazy, but how many times while writing have you been tempted to take the easy way and do the barest research, if none at all? Why? Because you didn’t feel like digging a little into a topic you are already knowledgeable in. But how much DO you really know?
That was the case with RF.
I know a little about veterinarian medicine, having treated more of my own animals than a vet has. My sister and I have cured dogs of Parvo, treated horses with severe injuries and all the minor stuff like shots in between. I know enough to squeeze by with my heroine as a vet and a couple of vets willing to help me if I don’t know.
But I wanted to give my hero a non-descript job he could do from home since he’s a single parent obsessed with being the best possible father to his little Jellybean. Connor wouldn’t have that. He is not a non-descript kind of guy. He wanted, demanded, a “real” job that made him take risks daily.
Connor is an EMT-P.
Well, crap. I know little to nothing about that career! I know enough from watching my favorite tv shows to pass off the basic medical stuff, but that isn’t much and does nothing for his helicopter paramedic experiences. So I researched a few things like helicopters used for medical purposes and discovered a really cool model most lifeflight companies are moving to (including right here in Oklahoma). I learned that a mediflight copter can only hold two average-sized paramedics, a pilot and one patient–and that the patient needs to be under 300 pounds or the copter will have trouble taking off when fully staffed–and necessary equipment, and that’s it for space in those flying hospital rooms.
I also learned about joules. We’ve all seen medical shows where a doctor grabs the “paddles” while a nurse sets a machine and informs the doctor “300” and the doctor yells “Clear!” as he shocks the patient. But have you ever wondered 300 what?
Okay, maybe I’m the only one who wondered that even after years of watching Emergency on TV growing up.
Who knew it means 300 joules? What? Exactly. I had no clue it actually meant something specific, other than numbers on a dial. I knew it was some kind of electric current reference, but not what. Okay, okay–I know you medical people out there know, so you don’t count in my dummy-bubble! LOL How many of the rest of you knew it means watts per second? That’s what a joule is; watt-per-second.
That wasn’t all I had to learn and I went to the source for mediflight information. Yes, websites, but on one I contacted a company in Missouri who was a mediflight service and asked if someone could help me. It was a week later when I heard from a wonderful woman named Ruby who said my email had been referred to her to respond to. She asked not to be identified because, like many of these professionals, she doesn’t do her job for the glory. Ruby had been a flight nurse for twenty years and is now the scheduling coordinator, and too many other responsibilities to name, for the same company she grew up with. During the process I realized I had to get the facts right. Had to. It became a source of pride for the people like Ruby and the job they do. Getting it wrong at that point was just not an option.
So I began emailing back and forth with this well of information and she willingly told me of any aspect of the job I asked about. She told me some scary stories, one that would have taken a lesser person out of the helicopter for good I think. But her most valuable time was when she agreed to read a scene of an accident for accuracy, and then insisted we talk on the phone to make sure I get it right. We spent the better part of two hours going over technical issues in that scene. Sadly, the scene was cut and condensed, but her help made it possible to keep even the condensed version and other scenes straight…or I hope it did.
I will say this in closing, research is important, even in the simplest situations. If you are writing about a profession not your own, do your research and avoid insulting and offending those who live that life.
Now some of you, especially newer authors, might be asking why. Why is it so important to get the little details right? It’s only fiction and everyone knows fiction doesn’t have to be perfect. Wrong!
Because it’s fiction is even more reason to make sure your book rings true. You see, whatever your book is about, it gets the realism from life. You want to get it as close to real as you can because those people in that profession are the very ones you don’t want to alienate. Those people you write about…they are who you are going to want to target when the book is ready for sale. For Risk Factors I’ll target the medical profession; veterinarians and paramedics, lifeflight EMTs, nurses. How willing do you think those people will be to buy or read my book if it doesn’t ring true for them?
Put it simpler–how willing would you be to read or buy a book about being an author if it made a mockery of your trade? We all know writing is hard work so are we going to be receptive to anyone who makes it out to be a fluff job with no guidelines and hair-pulling? Would you listen to someone who made writers look bad because the person doesn’t know what really goes into the process? Who told false stories just to sell their own? Uh-uh. Not this writer.
Then why would we do that to those in the professions we write about? It’s just fiction to us…but, to them, it’s all too real. It’s our job as the writer to make our book something those in that profession will be excited about, thrilled to buy, read and share with others in their work. I’ll be gifting Ruby with a copy of Risk Factors. It’s my hope that she will approve of it enough to share with others in her field. Not just for the sales, but because that’s who I wrote it for and I want them to be proud of how I portrayed their life’s work.
I won’t ask if you do research, because I know most of us do at some point. My question to writers is– how well do you do your research and what is your motivation for it?
For readers, how much research do you expect a writer to do to give you a realistic read? How realistic do you want your fiction?
Thanks again for allowing me to roam free on your blog, Christine. I’d like to invite everyone to join my party to a few blogs and help me celebrate Risk Factors’ release. Here’s the link to follow my tour and the more you comment, the better chance you’ll have to win either a GC or a rose rock from me and a PDF copy of RF and maybe even some swag. I’ll select a winner at the end of the tour, so be sure to leave an email address for me to contact you!
Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.
She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders and firemen. She plans to have some paranormal stories on the way to publication soon, as well (under a pen name tba).
Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com
Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps. Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for.
Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again.
Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv–and himself–enough to play the possibilities?
WARNING: Happy-ever-after mixed with four-legged friends.