Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Guest Blogger - CJ Lyons
Unleash Your Inner Chaos!
by CJ Lyons
Chaos is good! Chaos is our friend--at least it is, if you're a thriller writer.
As a pediatric ER doc who practiced for seventeen years before becoming a full-time thriller writer, you'd think I'd be used to chaos, thrive on it.
Usually I do, I love nothing more than to embrace my inner chaos and unleash it on my poor unsuspecting characters. But this new book, the fourth in my Angels of Mercy series, is quite frankly kicking my butt!
Here's the premise: Die Hard in a hospital on New Year's Eve.
Sounds like fun, doesn't it? And believe me, it is--this book has everything!
Which is part of the problem--because my series centers on four main characters, every book is a juggling act with four complete stories in one book, all converging together at the climax (or during the multi-climaxes, lol). Plus, I'm known for my "breathtakingly fast-paced" plots.
So, with each book, I've upped the bar as far as intensity and giving the reader an adrenalin rush of a thrill ride. Book #1, LIFELINES, was pretty much pure thriller with increasing stakes until the entire city of Pittsburgh was at risk.
Book #2, WARNING SIGNS, was a different kind of challenge: combining a coming of age story about a medical student suffering from mysterious symptoms with the whodunnit mystery behind the deadly symptoms.
URGENT CARE, book #3, was a true book of my heart and the toughest to write--in it, I explore the psychological effects of surviving a trauma. It's a dark, gritty suspense, very emotionally honest.
So for book #4, the finale of the Angels' quadrilogy, I wanted to go back to the intense pacing of the first book. Only I set myself an even bigger challenge--instead of taking place over 4 days, this book takes place over four HOURS!
Yep, you got it--you'll pretty much read this book in real time--which means juggling not only four characters and their story arcs but down to the second timing between each scene.
Plus, after the dark intensity of URGENT CARE, I wanted to give readers a bit of a smile, so there are all sorts of unexpected happenings (unexpected even to me, lol! Don't you love it when that happens, you're just writing along and you surprise even yourself? Talk about chaos!) and fun twists and turns.
The only way I could figure out how to perform this juggling act was to....write the book backwards!
I've always been a seat of the pants writer, often writing out of order, but never have I pushed it this far.
I've done more than embracing my inner chaos, I'm eating, sleeping, drinking, breathing it every second...and you know what? It's been a hell of a ride.
Not just because it's been a fun book to write and I'm so excited to see these characters come into their own and earn their happily-ever-afters, but also because I know I pushed myself not just to the limits, but past them.....
Of course, my main worry is, how the heck am I going to raise the bar even higher for the next book?!?
Oh well, whatever I come up with, it will be tons of fun!!!
So go for it, embrace your inner chaos today!
Thanks for reading!
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009 and the third, URGENT CARE, in October, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net
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