Heads up, folks! Today I have with me on my blog the lovely Karin Baine, Mills and Boon Medical author. She’s here to share about the big R of novel writing, namely Research. Having read her The Courage to Love Her Army Doc, I was curious to know how she can cover such minute details of the setting and the medical side of the story. Luckily, Karin is here to share her process.
Over to Karin.
Getting Your Facts Right – Karin Baine
The biggest fear I have as a writer is getting the details wrong. There’s nothing that will drag you out of a story quicker than incorrect information. As a writer for Mills & Boon’s Medical line, research is a vital element of every book.
Sure, the fun part is spending time getting lost in exotic locations for the setting, or finding inspiration for the characters. I mean, those Pinterest boards full of hot leading men don’t just set themselves up!
If you want your story to have real authenticity, though, you have to put the work in and there are loads of ways you can do this without ever having to leave the house. Take your hero, for example. What does he do for a living? Whether he’s a cardiologist or a meteorologist, familiarise yourself with the position. What qualifications does he need for that job? What does a typical work day involve? It’s relatively easy to find this information online and give your character some depth beyond a job title.
There are a myriad of resources available on the internet to ground your story in reality. I make use of online surgical videos, and tutorials to understand the practicalities of my medical scenes and read available personal blogs to get an idea of what’s going on in the heads of the patients and staff. I’m also lucky enough to have a lovely nurse friend who beta reads for me to ensure all the terminology and procedures are correct. It’s always good to get an informed second opinion!
Of course, locations are always a fun subject to research. Even better when you can see the sights yourself. When I was asked to be part of ‘The Paddington Children’s Hospital’ series I was very excited. London is a fabulous city and I set to work immediately searching for fun things that foster mum, Quinn, and five-year-old Simon might do together. London Zoo was top of the list, of course, and though I had maps and photographs for reference, I was lucky enough to go there in person. I was able to picture Quinn, Matt and Simon as they made their way around the exhibits and plan out their entire journey. Even their arrival by water taxi!
It’s not always easy to put yourself in the heads of your characters but I’ve found the more background work you do, the more real they become to you, and your readers.
Thank you, Karin. It’s great to get the inside of how a medical romance author gets such tough detail right.
One copy of Karin Baine’s latest Falling For The Foster Mum is up for the grabs. One lucky commentator can win this exciting Mills and Boon Medical romance. So, don’t forget to leave a comment below.
About the author:
Karin Baine lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, two sons, and her out-of-control notebook collection. Her Mother and Grandmother’s vast collection of books inspired her love of reading and her dream of becoming a Harlequin Mills & Boon® author. Now she can tell people she has a proper job!
You can follow Karin on Twitter, @karinbaine1 or visit her website for the latest news – karinbaine.com
Falling For The Foster Mum
Burns specialist Dr Matthew McGrory is finally living the bachelor life after years of responsibility raising his siblings alone. But he can’t ignore the pull he feels towards beautiful Quinn Grady, foster mum to his favourite young patient.
Having learned the hard way that you can’t rely on other people Quinn is uber-protective of little Simon, and her heart. But as Matthew’s hero-status grows in the eyes of her young charge she just might find he’s the hero she’s dreamed of too…
Check out this lovely cover:
Excerpt from the book:
When he’d planned this day he’d convinced himself he’d be glad when it was over, his responsibility to the pair outside the hospital over for good. Now that they were coming to the last stages, he was beginning to have second thoughts. He could honestly say this was one of the best days he’d had since moving to London and that was entirely down to the company. It would be stupid to end things here and now simply because there was a child involved. There’d always been children in his life. Children who weren’t his. If Quinn was willing to be brave about it, then so was he. A relationship didn’t have to mean a family and he was sure he could keep the two separate. Especially when the arrangements were all so fluid.
When they’d eaten their fill they headed to the indoor exhibits they’d bypassed in favour of some of the more exotic creatures.
‘We are now entering the Rainforest Life,’ he said in the style of a nature documentary voiceover artist.
Simon ran ahead into the tropical wilderness, hopped up on mini-desserts and fruit juice.
‘He’s going to have one hell of a crash when that sugar rush wears off.’ Quinn attempted to scold him but he knew she’d savoured every mouthful of that lunch. Each heavenly groan and lick of her lips attested to her pleasure as well as increasing his discomfort. He’d heard those sounds before and intended for her to make them again soon, somewhere more private.
‘Look at him!’ Simon was off again, following the path of a bright blue bird flitting through the plants and vines.
‘He’s pretty.’ Quinn was observing the exotic display from the balcony beside him, unaware she was adding to the beauty of it all.
Never mind the rare birds flying overhead or the small monkeys swinging freely through the vines, this was all about Quinn for him. The pure delight she took in her surroundings was refreshing and contagious. He’d been so caught up in material possessions and showing he could cut it as a single man in the city, he’d forgotten what it was to just enjoy life. The barrier he’d erected to protect himself had become as much of a prison as that council flat in Dublin.
Given the chance he’d swap his fancy car to travel on a barge anywhere if she was part of the deal. It was as if he was recapturing that lost childhood of his too, by being with her.
He’d been forced to grow up too quickly. From his mother walking out on her family, through his father’s illness, and ultimately his death, Matt had never had time for the mischief and fun other kids had experienced. With Quinn he didn’t have to be embarrassed in his joy at a puppet show when she was here spinning around, letting the mist fall on her face and telling the sloth how sleepy he looked. Matt had had enough of being the adult and there was plenty of room for his inner child, not to mention the randy teenager.
They stepped out of the light and moved into the nocturnal area. Faced with the creatures of the night, including giant rats and flitting bats, it wasn’t long before he found Quinn cuddled up next to him.
‘I don’t know how Simon is enjoying this.’
‘He’s a boy. We like gross stuff.’
‘I don’t want to stay in here,’ she whispered, fear pitching her voice until only the bats could probably hear.
Matt felt her hand graze by his knuckles as she fumbled for his reassurance in the dark. He took hold of her and turned so she could make him out in the dimmed light.
‘I’ll keep you safe.’
In that moment they were locked into their own world, staring into each other’s eyes and holding hands like lovers who’d just sworn their lives to one another. The rest of the group had moved on, leaving them alone so the only sounds he could hear now were scurrying animals and the frantic beat of his heart for Quinn.
He cupped her face in his hands and found her mouth easily with his, honing in as if she was a beacon of light guiding him home. This time, instead of pushing him away, she wound her arm around his neck and pulled him closer. He dropped his hands to her waist as she sought him with her tongue and leaned her soft curves against him.
‘Have you seen this? He’s got really big eyes’ The sound of Simon’s voice from across the room somewhere broke through the darkness, alerting them to his presence and throwing a bucket of cold water over them.
‘I think that’s a bush baby.’ Matt’s breath was ragged as he fought to regain control so Simon wouldn’t think anything was amiss.
‘We should probably follow the rest on to the next exhibit.’ Quinn was already backing away from him.
‘We’ll talk about this later,’ he whispered, low enough so only she would hear.
‘I’m a mum. I have mum things to do.’ That uncertainty was back in her wavering voice and Matt fumbled for her hand again in the blackness. He didn’t want the guilt to start eating away at her for enjoying a moment of her own.
‘Don’t forget, the adult fun starts after the real dark.’ This wasn’t over and although she couldn’t see him wink, he was sure he sensed her smile.
Somehow they’d find a way to be together without compromising their roles in Simon’s life.
His peace of mind depended on it.
Quinn stumbled back out towards Simon and the rest of the visitors tripping out of the exhibit. Her unsteadiness on her feet was more to do with Matt’s epic bone-melting prowess than the unfamiliar territory. He had a way of completely knocking her off balance when she was least expecting it.
Yes, she’d encouraged him with a few flirtatious gestures, but phew, that had taken hot to a whole new level. Wrapped in his embrace she’d forgotten who she was, where she was or what day of the week it was, and let the chemistry consume her.
Dangerous. Irresponsible. Intoxicating.
It only made her crave more.
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