I’m so excited to have my good friend Sharon Cullen on the blog today 🙂 She writes amazing historical romances that are full of adventure and wonderful characters. She also has some of the most beautiful covers 🙂 Today she’s sharing an interesting little snippet from her book dealing with brain injuries that she’s researched as well as pulled from her own personal experiences. I think you’ll enjoy it. Afterward check out her latest release His Saving Grace and then enter her giveaway!
Take it away Sharon…
He launched his cane across the room. It hit the upright mirror and shattered it. The explosion of glass was loud and utterly satisfying. He looked at the broken pieces scattered across the floor, reflecting the sunlight as it shone through the window and bounced off the walls. He stared at the shards and couldn’t help but think how ironic it was. He could pick up those pieces and attempt to glue them back together. He might even succeed in matching the pieces that were once the mirror, and fitting all of them back in the frame. But the mirror would never be the same. It would still show the cracks. It wouldn’t reflect his image the way it used to. It would look like a mirror and, in some ways, perform like a mirror. But it wasn’t a mirror anymore. Not really.
Just like he wasn’t Michael John Ashworth anymore. Not really.
The above is an excerpt from His Saving Grace that describes what living with a brain injury is like. On the outside you’re the same and to some people you’re the same but in reality everything has changed. You are broken. And while you may be able to glue the pieces back together you will never be the whole person you once were.
I had to do very little research on brain injuries when I wrote His Saving Grace. Most of what you read in the book comes from my own personal experience.
My husband suffered a traumatic brain injury in May, 2011. Most of what Michael suffers, my husband suffered. However, Michael is not my husband.
My goal while writing His Saving Grace, was to focus more on the psychological aspects that suffering from a silent injury can do to your own psyche and your relationship with others.
But I also needed to understand what doctors in the mid 1800s knew of the brain. What I found was interesting.
For centuries before 1860 people assumed the brain was one organ that controlled everything. In other words there were no sections of the brain that controlled different parts of the body. The entire brain controlled the entire body.
It wasn’t until 1860 that at least one doctor, Broca, began to suspect that certain parts of the brain controlled certain parts of the body. There was a patient named “Tan”—named so because that was the only word he could say—who suddenly could not speak anymore. After Tan’s death Broca performed an autopsy and concluded that Tan had a lesion on his brain behind his eye. Broca concluded that just maybe that part of the brain controlled the speech.
This was remarkable because at the time it was believed that speech was God given and part of the soul instead of part of the brain.
In His Saving Grace, Michael and Grace visit a doctor who specializes in the brain. I had the doctor study under Jean-Pierre Gama. Of course the doctor in my story is a figment of my imagination, but Gama was a real doctor at that time that studied in France. I like to believe that Gama took other doctors under his wing and trained them and that the doctor in His Saving Grace could have actually existed.
Gama is important in the study of the brain because he was the first to really study concussions and the impact of a strike to the head on the brain. What was confusing to most doctors was that when autopsies were performed on people who suffered a brain injury, the impact would be on one side of the brain but the injury would manifest itself on the opposite side of the brain.
Gama’s studies were the first studies that allowed doctors to give an explanation of the effects of brain trauma.
I consider Michael’s brain injury as a separate character. In fact, you could consider the brain injury as the villain of the story. Michael and Grace don’t fight spies or madmen (although there is Nigel who would prefer that Michael had stayed dead). They fight an unseen force with unknown consequences and a zero chance recovery rate.
This story is about Michael and Grace’s love for each other, for the people they used to be and the people they have become. My hope is that His Saving Grace will shed some light on what its like to live with a silent injury that chips away at your soul and your belief of who you are and who you are to become.
I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
His Saving Grace
Secrets & Seduction # 4
By: Sharon Cullen
Releasing December 23rd, 2014
Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh, Sharon Cullen’s captivating novel tells the deeply emotional tale of two devoted lovers facing the ravages of war.
For months now, Lady Grace Ashworth has mourned the death of her beloved husband—until the day a very-much-alive Michael arrives at her front door. It’s nothing less than a miracle. However, Grace soon realizes that this Michael isn’t the same man who left for the Crimean War. She’s stunned to learn that he has suffered a devastating head injury. Putting all her own desires aside, Grace resolves to devote herself to Michael’s recovery and to love him no matter what troubles may come.
Convinced that his wife is wasting her time on a broken man, Michael attempts to shield Grace from a life of inconvenience by driving her away. But Grace will have none of that. Despite every obstacle Michael throws in her path, she stubbornly soldiers on, fighting not only for their marriage but for the love they once shared. In the end, will her determination alone be enough to save Michael from the darkness that threatens to consume him?
Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.
*Loveswept is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a $25 eGift Card of Winner’s Choice Bookseller and Loveswept Mug & Tote*