A former ER nurse, lay chaplain and trauma survivor, Candace Calvert breathes much of her own experiences into her character Riley Hale, a nurse chaplain fighting to return to her career as an ER nurse after a traumatic assault leaves her with permanent nerve damage. Riley features in Trauma Plan, the first book in the Grace Medical series (Tyndale). “I drew from my experience as a trauma survivor when penning the character of Riley, especially her fear that she’d be unable to return to a nursing career,” shares Candy. “This character also reaped benefit from my skydiving experience—and time spent doing the Boot Scootin’ Boogie on Texas dance floors.” Calvert’s first published work was her own story of recovery from injury. “In 1997, a serious riding accident landed me ‘on the other side of the stethoscope’ as a patient in my own trauma room. I suffered multiple rib and back fractures, a bleeding lung, broken neck and spinal cord damage.” Intrigued by the success of television medical shows like ER, House, and Grey’s Anatomy, Candace felt the nudge to provide something more. “As a nurse, I know how many prayers are sent heavenward by patients, family and by medical staff, too. I wanted to offer a more complete medical story to readers.” Candace offers appealing characters, strong suspense and meaningful romance, set against the detailed backdrop of the fast-paced, cutting-edge medical environment.
With four novels to his name and a new multi-book contract with Thomas Nelson, Richard Mabry, M.D., has turned a highly successful medical career into a burgeoning one as an author of authentic medical suspense. With no plans to write in the non-medical field upon his retirement, the death of his wife led Mabry to pen a non-fiction book. Then, encouraged by several respected professionals, he turned his hand to fiction, leading to his Prescription for Trouble series. The most recent volume is Lethal Remedy (Abingdon Press). “I try to bring as much realism as possible into the medical aspects of my writing. But since an ENT doctor’s practice rarely includes the exciting and exotic, most of the experiences I use as background for the medical scenes are those of my colleagues.” Initially, Mabry found incorporating his faith difficult: “I felt compelled to include things like conversion scenes, the plan of salvation and a liberal helping of Bible verses throughout the book,” he explains. “I also discovered that the completed product was so benign and sweet it could induce diabetes—even I had no interest in reading it. Then I started writing about characters that are like you and me—flawed people, who are on varying places on their journey. Their stories and the way God touches each of them is woven into all my books, and I find it easy to show my own faith through their journey.” Spring 2013 will see the release of his next book, with the working title, Stress Test (Thomas Nelson)—a kidnapped doctor escapes but suffers a head injury, and awakes in the ICU to find he’s charged with murder.
Describing ferocious fires, brutal injuries and traumatized patients is second nature to Shawn Grady—he’s lived those experiences. A firefighter/paramedic, Grady works a dangerous shift, and then puts pen to paper writing suspense-filled action stories of men and women on the front line of saving lives. “Knowing firsthand what it is like to be in the middle of true situations involving the immediate perils of life and death allows me to infuse my fiction with a palpable realism,” he explains. “Just as I don’t know what a patient’s outcome will be when I first come to their side, my goal is to give my readers a similar suspenseful ride that keeps them turning the pages to see what happens.” Grady’s novels, all from Bethany House, have featured a firefighter (Through the Fire), a paramedic (Tomorrow We Die) and a smokejumper (Falls Like Lightning). “I like my writing to have a tangible, genuine sense to it that feels very real. Beyond the external drama, the internal angst and struggles of the responders and their unique camaraderie—or lack thereof—and the banter that takes place between emergency workers really colors the world that they work in.”
Husband-and-wife team Mel and Cheryl Hodde, known as Hannah Alexander, have been writing medical suspense novels for decades. While ER doctor Mel is saving lives in the hospital, Cheryl is doing the same at home at her keyboard! In their latest novel, Eye of the Storm (Love Inspired Suspense), Dr. Megan Bradley has escaped to the little town of Jolly Mill after a murder at her former place of employment. Cheryl and Mel hope to honor health professionals in their stories, as Cheryl explains: “I’ve always seen those in the medical profession as the real heroes. The good ones give up so much of their private time, so much of their lives, and place themselves into deep debt at the beginning of their careers, just to help people.” Incorporating their faith is a given. “Some Hannah Alexander books have more spiritual angst than others, but each book is written without thought to the amount of spirituality it needs.”
A debut novelist and pediatric ER nurse, Jordyn Redwood has worked in the ER or ICU for nearly two decades. She has incorporated that extensive experience in Proof (Kregel Publications), a novel which deals with the ramifications when the gold standard of criminal prosecution—DNA testing—sets a guilty man free. A selfdescribed “medical nerd,” Jordyn likes reading medical textbooks. “I’m fascinated with the intricacies of the human body, so medical fiction was a natural outlet for this. I like to take a medical mystery and turn it on its head. That’s what is fun for me—so much so that I started ‘Redwood’s Medical Edge,’ a medical blog for writers, where I help historical and contemporary authors write medically accurate fiction.” Redwood’s mom believes Proof’s main character, Dr. Lilly Reeves, reflects Jordyn herself, though Jordyn concedes only a little. “Lilly and I share the same tough exterior, but gentle heart.”
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