Write what you know.
You always hear that when you start writing. For me, that advice came four books into my fiction career, when one of the editors from Harlequin Mills & Boon Medicals asked me to do just that. I was already writing for Harlequin (romantic comedy), plus I had a background as a critical care nurse, so why not?
When approached to write for the medical line, I didn’t give it much thought, maybe five seconds, before I jumped in. Then, inside five minutes, I’d pitched my first book idea—something off the top of my head—and received an acceptance for a two-book deal. And that’s how I became a writer of medical romance. Right place, right time, right background.
So, my journey into medical romance happened quite by chance, since I didn’t know this Harlequin line existed until moments prior to pitching my first book. Now, nearly fifty books later, when other publishers approach me, they want medical romance, I’m just that branded to it. And when I’m introduced to any group of writers, I’m called a medical romance writer, not just a romance writer. Because some of the people I address may not know what medical romance is, I simply say it’s a straightforward romance set inside of a medical situation. Instead of boy meets girl, it’s boy surgeon meets girl obstetrician, or something similar.
Personally, I try to avoid writing anything big hospital or big city. My taste runs more toward stories where medical care isn’t easily come by. I love writing challenging locations because there are so many ways to drop your hero and heroine into a difficult medical situation or location and letting a romance blossom while facing overwhelming professional odds. Avalanches, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes…you name it and I’ll set a story around it. Jungles, deserts, isolated mountain villages…love those, too. The story I’m currently writing is about city doc meets jungle doc. Of course, she won’t stay in the jungle and he won’t leave it. Makes you wonder how they’ll find true love, doesn’t it? All that, plus fighting against crushing odds makes for a story that isn’t quite as traditional as most romance readers expect. But it’s a sub-genre that’s been steady for a long time. And, one of Harlequin’s best world-wide sellers.
I think that what brings readers back to medical romance, over and over, is the familiarity. We’re all involved in medicine in some way, either as patients or medical workers. This common thread works well in creating characters who invest their lives in medical care because everybody has a general understanding of it…the dilemmas, the challenges, the questions, the fears, the triumphs.
The reason it took me only a few seconds to make the commitment to a sub-genre I wasn’t aware of was, like everybody else, I knew what medicine was supposed to be in an ideal situation and, taking the opposite approach of presenting medicine in the least ideal situation seemed a perfect opportunity to explore settings and hardships most of us don’t realize exist. I love setting a romance against an imperfect backdrop. That imperfection makes the romance seem sweeter when it’s so hard-earned. There’s rarely any glitz or glamor in my stories, but there’s always true love, because true love transcends everything else, including the hardships my characters much face together.
It’s been a pleasure contributing to this blog. I love talking about medical romance. And, if you’re interested in reading what I’ve been talking about here, my next book, Second Chance with Her Army Doc, will be out in October. Visit my website at to see where you can find it. Or join me on Facebook at to discover what I’ll be doing in the future.
Wishing you health and happiness,