Guest blogger: Nicki Edwards
I’ve known for months this guest blog post was coming up, so I was diligent and organised and had marked the date in my diary knowing that I was going to be busy with structural edits of my latest book as well as working full time when the post was due. I wrote it weeks ago and congratulated myself on my superb organisational skills. It was all systems go until something came up yesterday which totally changed the focus of my blog post. I knew I had to write about that instead.
One of the things I love most about the writing journey is research. I love researching names and places and events. For example, it might be researching what the weather would be at a certain time of year in a certain place, or what the top ten boys’ names were in Ireland in 1980. In Intensive Care I had to research the best types of chickens to keep, what time of the year agapanthus flowered and what indigenous language was spoken in the part of Australia my book was set.
I’ve spoken to other author friends and we laugh about the types of things people would find on our computers if they checked our Google search bar. Last week I had to reassure my husband that I’m not pregnant when he saw I’d typed ‘what is my due date if I conceived on 2nd January’! At lunch recently, a bunch of authors (would that be a ‘gaggle’ of authors?!) were overheard talking about how they could go about researching different ways of killing people without alerting authorities or Big Brother!
Because my books are medical romances, there’s also a lot of research and fact finding that goes into making them medically accurate. There’s nothing like another nurse to let you know you’ve made a mistake in a medical scene.
Yesterday I was doing some research for an additional scene in Emergency Response, which is due out in November with Momentum. What happened next is why I changed the focus of the blog post.
I work full time as a nurse and don’t have the luxury of flying to the places I write about, so I spend a lot of time on the internet researching places and talking to people who live in these country towns.
And that’s where readers are invaluable.
Emergency Response is set partly in the fictional town of ‘Birrangulla’ where Intensive Care was set, and partly in another fictional town in New South Wales I’ve called ‘Willandara’. Both of these towns are real places in which I have lived and visited so I felt relatively comfortable setting scenes in those places. But Emergency Response is also partially set in the Pilbara, in a mining town, in the middle of the desert—a place I’ve not yet had the chance to visit.
When I first started writing about this fictional town I’ve called ‘Iron Ridge’, I joined a Facebook community of people in a small mining town in the Pilbara. I reached out to them yesterday to ask some more questions about their town and to clarify some things for my book. Their response has overwhelmed me and totally blown me away.
I received emails of their first impressions of the town, I received photos of places they’d visited in and around the town and I even received stories about people in the community who they thought would make fabulous cameo roles in my next book.
I have changed the name of their town for privacy reasons, but this real place in the Pilbara with real people exists. And without these people and their support, I couldn’t write. I can dream up stories and imagine what it’s like to walk the streets of their town and smell the air and see what’s up ahead, but it’s not the same as having first-hand knowledge of a place. And for that, I want to say thank you.
Thank you to readers who engage in conversations with authors about characters or places or scenes in our books. Thank you to readers who ask what’s going to happen next? Thank you to readers who send photos and stories and little tidbits or points of interest. You never know, even tiny things can spark an author’s interest and help steer the direction of the book. That’s certainly been my experience so far.
I’m deeply indebted to the people of ‘Iron Ridge’ and hope to one day meet them in person and visit their wonderful town. As for the people of ‘Birrangulla’ and ‘Willandara’, I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon.
Thanks for your support of my debut medical rural romance, Intensive Care and thanks for reading this blog post today. I look forward to hearing from many more readers … maybe with a story or two for my next book!
Escaping to the country was meant to be easy…
On the surface it looks like busy Intensive Care nurse Kate Kennedy has it all: a long-term relationship, a great career and a sleek inner city apartment. But appearances are deceiving, and in one fell swoop everything comes crashing down around her. In a moment of spontaneity, Kate leaves her city life and takes a new role as Nurse Unit Manager at Birrangulla Base Hospital, but her dream move proves harder than expected.
Local café owner Joel O’Connor finds himself increasingly drawn to the gorgeous new nurse, but like Kate, he’s been scarred by love and isn’t looking to jump into anything. Yet their chemistry is hard to deny and after a near fatal incident, Joel and Kate find themselves opening up to one another.
Just when Kate thinks she’s found love again, their fragile relationship is thwarted by their pasts. Can they both let go of their guilt and grief to move on to a bright new future?