If you like your inspirational romance with a medical element, you're probably no stranger to Candace Calvert 's novels. The author crafts uplifting tales of medical professionals and their everyday struggles to bring hope to the ill. Calvert recently kicked off her new Grace Medical series with Trauma Plan, which tells the story of nurse chaplain Riley Hale as she attempts to resist the charm of Dr. Jack Travis. With such realistic detail in the novel, we weren't surprised to learn that this author uses her own experiences as an ER nurse to add a realistic touch to her stories. Today the author shares how she spins her medical know-how into addicting inspirational reads.
Because I was an ER nurse forever, I’m often asked if the dramatic situations in my books are snagged from real life experience. Fellow medical professionals sometimes whisper, “Hey, really, was that character me?” I smile and say something about character composites and my sincere respect for privacy, while pointing to the usual publishing disclaimer, “Any resemblance to actual events, locales ... persons living or dead is entirely coincidental ...” That said, of course I draw from real life experience when creating my medical fiction! Those colorful, oftentimes wacky, and always intense decades in scrubs truly shaped who I am as a person, affecting me intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The ER years also honed a vital sense of humor and the ability to go 12 hours without a meal or bathroom break — while swilling quarts of coffee in an atmosphere of unimaginable stress. Come to think of it, those are great skills for an author on deadline.
Were the experiences and struggles of any character in my latest release, Trauma Plan, based on someone I know?
Yes, actually: Me.
Like heroine Riley Hale, I was a nurse sidelined by serious injury. Hers came from a vicious attack. Mine were the result of an equestrian accident that landed me on “the other side of the stethoscope” as a trauma patient in my own ER. I suffered seven broken ribs, a bleeding lung, upper back fractures, a broken neck and a spinal cord injury. The neurosurgeon said I’d come within millimeters of the same fate as my longtime hero, Christopher Reeve. Like Riley in Trauma Plan, the accident caused weakness in my dominant arm. I feared I’d never be able to return to my career in emergency nursing. I too struggled to understand God’s plan for my life.
Will Trauma Plan readers get a real view into the exciting world of emergency medicine?
Absolutely. They’ll race toward the shrill of sirens, kneel on the floor beside a trauma victim, hear doctors shouting orders, and even dodge an oxygen tank hurled by a patient. They’ll experience tragedy, feel sadness, and maybe shed some tears. But they’ll laugh, too, and know the amazing camaraderie of being part of a life-saving team. They’ll celebrate Fiesta at San Antonio Riverwalk; leap from a skydiving plane; befriend a dog named Hobo and meet the irascible Dr. Jack. My readers will find romance. And hope.
Yes, I’ve been there and done that in the medical world, and I draw upon much of it for my new career as an inspirational author. It’s a privilege to offer readers adrenalin-infused glimpses inside the world of emergency medicine. And into the hearts behind the stethoscopes. I write about everyday heroes who are flawed humans ... touched by grace. I love the encouragement in that. When folks call me the author of “medical hope opera,” I couldn’t be more delighted.
- Candace Calvert