Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest Post: CJ Lyons

Hi, everyone! I am super excited to be hosting CJ Lyons today. CJ is the author of a number of titles, including her upcoming teen debut Broken, but before becoming a published author she worked as a pediatric emergency room doctor.

I had the pleasure of meeting CJ at Left Coast Crime in Denver back in 2007 when her Angels of Mercy medical thriller series was kicking off. Today CJ talks about why she decided to become a writer and whether she misses working in medicine.

So, without further ado, I'll hand things over to CJ Lyons!

I’ve been a storyteller all my life and in high school wrote my first novel (a YA fantasy) and two SF/F novels in med school. But everything changed during my pediatric internship year. 

Halfway through my first year at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh one of my fellow interns was killed in a very horrendous way. The police apprehended the killer, thanks to good forensic work and cooperation of several agencies. But we interns were still traumatized. Left to mourn and make sense of this terrible thing while simultaneously caring for infants and children entrusted to our care and trying to help families cope. 

For me, writing helped me to heal. I wrote my first crime fiction novel, a romantic thriller called BORROWED TIME (which hit the USA Today Bestseller list). Before I'd always written SF/F, but after Jeff died I needed to explore good/evil, justice/truth more than I needed the escapism my previous novels provided me. 

I wanted to change the world, to bring Jeff back. To punish the bad guys and give the good guys a happy ending. To find the courage to stand up and face the darkness. And the only place I could do that was in my writing. 

I never could have made the leap of faith that took me from medicine to published author without the courage I learned from Jeff. Without finding the strength to climb out of the despair his death created and to face the pain of living with the loss. 

My writing explores the gray spaces between the black and white of good and evil. That’s why I call them “Thrillers with Heart”—they’re less about the action and more about the people. Stories about every day heroes finding the courage to change their world. 

I think Jeff would have approved. 

Leaving medicine was hard, especially since at the time I was practicing as a community pediatrician and had long-term relationships with my patients. Plus, it took a real leap of faith to abandon that job security for the vicarious life of an author. 

Becoming a doctor was amazing—I come from a small town in Pennsylvania and worked three jobs to put myself through medical school—but becoming a writer was a dream I'd had all my life, so being able to make it come true has been fantastic beyond words. 

My writing career hasn't been smooth sailing, in many ways it's as hard as being a doctor (I actually work longer hours now!) but it has been fulfilling in so many ways. 

As a doctor the greatest rush came from those rare moments when I actually saved a life. As a writer I get the chance to touch hundreds of thousands of lives—and I can't begin to describe the feeling I get when I hear from fans about how my stories have done more than provide entertainment but have inspired or empowered them. Talk about your dreams come true! 

About CJ: 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. 

Winner of the International Thriller Writers’ coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday). 

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net

Broken hits shelves November 5 and if you pre order the ebook before then, you can get it for just $4.99.

Here's a bit about the book from the publisher:

The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.

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