The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Today we have a guest post by fellow mystery writer Gabrielle Black,
--> author of Treating Murder: Book One of the Veronica Lane, M.D. series.  Gabrielle is a physician.  By an odd coincidence, so is her detective character, Veronica Lane.  Gabrielle follows in a rich tradition of M.D. mystery writers, starting with the most famous, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of Sherlock Holmes.  And now, to our guest blogger, Dr. Black...........

Novel writing usually involves writing back stories on characters. You seldom get to see these. There is also usually a back story to how the idea came to be. You seldom get to see these either, but sometimes the 'making of' is almost as cool a the story itself. I realized this recently while watching the making of Star Wars. George Lucas before he was a gazillionaire. So, with that on my mind, I'll share with you: The making of...Treating Murder by Gabrielle Black. 

Way back in the early 90s, when I was in Family Practice residency, one of the attending physicians mentioned that he made jewelry as a hobby. Not the stringing beads from the hobby store kind, but actual plating and metalworking with loupes and jewels, and soldering guns. Then he mentioned that the plating solution was controlled, and could only be obtained with a permit because of the dangerous chemicals in it. 

So, what did my mind do with that information? Ooh cool, can I see the pretty jewelry? No. My brain said, ooh cool, what if that killed somebody? Did I mention that I am in the healing profession?
I checked out what those chemicals--arsenic to be exact--could do to someone, and discovered that the symptoms of poisoning were remarkably similar to those of a fairly common disease-- Multiple Sclerosis. See why you shouldn't be playing with hazardous chemicals? Of course, I also have a writerly bent, so once that question was posed, I had to follow it through to its conclusion.

Et voila, a doctor finds herself trying to treat murder, whilst being accused of that murder, and doing her own sleuthing. Because in real life a physician's job basically boils down to looking at clues and making deductions, so why not put her deductive powers to work to save herself?

Now, you may ask, how does that translate into a novel twenty years later? Well, residency finished. I no longer had long sleepless nights in a call room during which I could revise to my heart's content. I moved, I practiced, I married, and I had a family... Sound familiar?

George Lucas does not include these realities of life in his 'making of' film.

Meanwhile, the wheels of kismet were grinding away--I know, stay with me on this--and I found that this was an idea whose time had come. 

Thus my best words of wisdom to those who follow after: If you dream of writing, you will never make it. If you work at writing, you'll never fail.

No comments:

Post a Comment