When our daughter, Kerry, entered medical school five years ago this month, my husband and I knew it would be a difficult journey for her. Our older daughter was already deeply entrenched in graduate school, working toward her doctorate in microbiology, and we saw how difficult that was, so we thought we understood what medical school would be like. It turns out it was totally different. Not harder, per se, and certainly not easier than graduate school — but still overwhelmingly difficult, stressful and time consuming.
At Kerry’s orientation, we were a little taken aback to hear speeches from counselors about suicide and substance abuse prevention. Three upperclassmen gave talks about how difficult their studies had been, the havoc it had played on their relationships with friends and families, and how close they came to quitting. Kerry started looking a little nervous about what she’d gotten herself into. Watching her during the next four years as she suffered defeats and celebrated victories, as she tried to maintain her relationships with her family, her former friends, her new friends and the boyfriend who would become her husband after her second year, we were awed by her resilience and determination, and so proud of her when she finally held that diploma in her hands.
My family has long resigned themselves to being fair game when it comes to ideas for my books. They’ve even told me a few times, “Please don’t write this into your next story.” With Courtney’s assistance, I’ve written a couple of books about scientists and the frustrations of grad school and research. Now it was Kerry’s turn to provide me with inspiration.
I came up with the idea of a group of slightly-older students who bond together in a study group during their first year of school and remain friends throughout their training. I conceived of four books, each taking place during one of the years of medical school, and each telling the story of a romance for a member (or two) of the group, and the obstacles that medical school creates in addition to the usual challenges of a new relationship. My editor liked the idea.
DIAGNOSIS: DADDY is the first of those four books. An August release, it will be available for sale this week, wherever Silhouette Special Editions are sold, or through eHarlequin.com.
Connor Hayes is the first “hero” in the study group. Already stressed by the unexpected difficulty of his first year of classes, he is staggered when he finds himself responsible for the six-year-old daughter he never knew he had. His first reaction is that he will have to quit medical school to care for his daughter. That’s when his best friend and former coworker, Mia Doyle, steps in with a proposition: she’ll move in to serve as nanny to his daughter if he’ll let her live there rent-free so she can save money for her own post-graduate education. It seems like the perfect solution … until complications arise when both Mia and Connor find themselves growing too close for comfort in his little house. Can he find time to be a parent and a partner? And is Mia prepared to take on this ready-made family and possibly jeopardize her own long-planned future?
I’m thoroughly enjoying writing this series. Book two is already written (PRIVATE PARTNERS, available February, 2010) and I’m just getting started on book three (tentatively titled HEALING TOUCH). The best part about working on this series? All the input and suggestions from my daughter, now Dr. Kerry. She’s been so very helpful in reading the drafts and making sure I’m getting the facts straight (with a little leeway for fictional purposes, of course), just as Dr. Courtney did when I wrote about scientists (and I always reserve the right to utilize them again!).
My career has long been a family affair, since the girls hardly remember when I sold my first book and my son wasn’t born until after I was published. My husband is accustomed to being a sounding board, and to doing the cooking or eating sandwiches during deadline crunches, and my son is increasingly handy for consulting about computer issues. Even my very intelligent son-in-law is fair game — I have a feeling I’ll pick his brain soon for a future book. I am so grateful for my family — I don’t know what I would do without any of them.
LAST CALL FOR ENTRIES!
The drawing for the hardcover release of LOVE LESSONS will be on August 1. All entries must be received by July 31. Click on the “Enter to Win!” tab above for details. Good luck!