By Veronica Lynch (Guest Blogger)
Good morning, Lisabet. Thanks for asking me to visit today. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about myself. Not. So . . . I am often asked, as are many writers, where do you get your ideas for your stories. My response is invariably the same: I write what I know, where I've visited, and base my characters on those I admire.
I began writing, often badly, in the 1980's and was finally published in 2004. Long time I know but as I said, the stuff I wrote in the beginning was absolute dreck. When I finally 'got it' [in terms of sticking to what I know because readers will always recognize the truth] my books took off. My first editor loved my books, couldn't put them out fast enough, all because, she said “they're so real, with real people, real situations.”
The first one, Captain Marvelous [awful title I know] features Annie Wolfe, a physician's assistant whose goal in life is to become a physician. In the rural Northern Catskill Mountains [think Dirty Dancing] when the women start dying and no one gives a damn, Annie prays for someone, anyone, to stop the violence. Enter New York State Police investigator Ronen Marvelic. He wants forever; she wants a career.
I discovered the setting for the Captain while driving the back roads of the Catskills, heading toward or away from hospitals or clinics, investigating allegations of medical malpractice. I was often the only driver on back roads and realized how easy it would be to flag a lone female driver down, overpower her, rape and murder her, then dump the body and be on your way. No one would ever find her. Since the victims were among the disenfranchised populations no one in power would care much.
My second book, Try Just Once More, was slower in coming—until I decided to make the heroine a recovering alcoholic who is rebuilding her life and family the Adirondack Mountains. For this story I spent many many lovely days in the gorgeous town of Saranac Lake, New York [think the 1980 Winter Olympics and the Miracle on Ice]. For research on this one, I used my contacts on the local police department who taught me a great deal about mounted patrols and what it's like [for a cop] to relocate from a large urban force to a small tourist town. We all had a lot of fun along the way.
My next books were novellas and all featured either cops or victim advocates, nuns and prostitutes. No, I'm not a nun but I have both priests and nuns among the family of my heart. I'm not a hooker but I do work with them in my personal life and have for the last 12 years.
For Keeps, a 2016 novella out of the Candy Hearts series for the Wild Rose Press features a cop [gee, who knew] and a victim advocate. To create them, I used my experience as an advocate for our local rape advocacy program. Forming effective, positive working relationships with police officers was, for me as Director of the service, like patrolling the DMZ, watching my back while keeping an eye out for land mines up ahead. For many reasons, it was the best of times—but for many other, not the most healthy for me personally. The phone call between the hero and heroine, which occurs early on in the story, really happened, minus the sexual innuendos. I still get a smile on my face when I think about the cop who phoned the service one day to discuss a case. After I asked him how he was doing, he responded, “Well, lemme tell ya'. If I was any better, I'd scare myself.” Something in his tone, in the words, made me laugh—and I didn't stop for several minutes. I'm sure he thought he's landed himself a complete lunatic, but there you go. When I think about that call, even today, twenty plus years later, I still smile.
Here's a blurb from For Keeps.
Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-roads in her life, struggling to balance the demands of a high stress vocation as an advocate for victims of violence with those that stem from her feelings for Keenan Rossi, a man who wants to make their relationship permanent.
On Valentine's Day, a series of routine crises force Meg to question staying in a profession which fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who makes everything worthwhile.
As I write this blog post, I'm in the last stages of self-publishing a reunion trilogy, titled Vengeance Is Mine. The three lead characters find themselves, reluctantly, returning to their 25th high school reunion, hoping to get revenge on those who made their lives miserable back in the day. It was a fun set of stories to write.
I'm also working on a novella for the Maine Romance Writers Serenity Harbor series. My story is titled It Had to be You and features a woman who inherits the house where she was raised, intending to convert it to a B and B. The townsfolk are leery of this as the “family home” was formerly a house of ill repute; many believe she's repeating history. This one is strange territory for me as I know nothing about the hospitality industry.
The other story I'm working on has a secret baby-marriage of convenience theme. story, part of the Vintage Rose line at TWRP, titled At Last. I went back to Saranac Lake for the setting and have a physician's assistant and a federal agent turned private attorney for lead characters. As they have a past, a nasty custody battle will figure in their present. As I currently work for a group of attorneys all I have to do is walk down the hall for the legal part of domestic law. Plus, I have ready access to little kids. All I need to do is consult any of them for critical information.
I think that's all, Lisabet. Thanks again for inviting me to spend time at Beyond Romance.
BTW, I'm giving away an embroidered cosmetics tote to one lucky visitor. Just leave me a comment, with your email address, so I can get in touch if you're the winner!
Excerpt from For Keeps:
“Crime Victim Services. How many I help you?”
The caller's voice was low, husky and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Lip gloss.”
“Well damn,” Kee muttered. “You already heard it.”
“An oldie but a goodie, pal.”
“Aren't we all. How are you doin' on the gorgeous February day, gorgeous?”
Bringing his handsome face to mind took no great effort. They had worked together for more years than either care to count. When the relationship progressed beyond professional, Meg felt they should keep things under the radar. At first Keenan agreed, claiming he wasn't in the mood for any crap from his peers about exploring his feminine side. But after a while he began to push for something more permanent. But she wasn't so sure she was ready for that, especially marriage. Meg liked being able to come and go as she pleased, responsible only to herself and for herself.
Even though she heard the tease in his voice now, she was still smarting from last night, so proceeded with caution. “Not too bad. How's by you?”
“Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I'd scare myself.”
About the Author
Legal nurse consultant, forensic nurse examiner, victim advocate. Kathy Cottrell has been there and done that, many times over. Writing under the pseudonyms of Kat Henry Doran and Veronica Lynch, she often travels to the wilds of Northern New York State, witnessing the wonders of mother nature at her best, from the shores of Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River to the Adirondack Mountains. She likes to create stories which feature strong women and the men who love them.
When not writing she can be found lashed to her sewing machines or chauffeuring the four best things in her life: Meredith, Ashlin, Owen and Kieran.
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