What rights do we have to new medical treatments?

The State Fair

The State Fair

We love our Twinkies, Krispy Kremes, and Oreos. We live in a country where we are free to make those decisions on what we eat. But, when our bodies need help, especially from the latest in medical research and testing, what are our rights? Are we owed access to new drugs and treatments just because they have been developed? Or, are those new discoveries the property of the entity that developed it?

This dilemma occurs in my book Against Their Will. The characters are used as test subjects without their knowledge or consent. Despite all things, cures area found for some dreaded diseases, yet others are harmed by the same drugs. If one person can get a cure from a new drug discovery, is it worth the death of three others to do so? Should we be given the freedom to continue to make our own choices; in food or lifestyle? Or, should the government regulate or dictate our choices? If we don’t take care of ourselves, do we have the right to seek medical treatment for maladies we created? Or, should we be left to suffer the consequences?

Our freedom includes the right to eat whatever we want, right?

Our freedom includes the right to eat whatever we want, right?

There are no easy answers to these questions, and it is not likely this debate will go away anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what conclusions people have on this issue after reading Against Their Will. Share away, the forum is open!

What makes an author, an author? What if?

Many people ask why do I write? That’s a tough one as I’m not sure. Sometimes, it’s a dream that intrigues me and I sit down and flesh it out into a story. In fact, my second book, Emerald Beach (soon to be published) started that way. I had a very vivid dream that introduced the two main characters to me and the story was born. Other times it is something I see or hear that gets under my skin and I cannot stop thinking about it. My third book, Glen’s Song, came from personal experiences in the health care field. Most of the time, however, it just comes to me, like the sudden inspiration of an unexpected event or experience.

My undergraduate degree in Biology and Psychology and graduate degree in Counseling Psychology, set a foundation for me to observe and ask why. The motivation of individuals, even animals, plays a big part in character development. Going beneath the surface of a character and delving into his or her soul can bring about many unexpected twists and turns in a plot. Sometimes, it can bring predictability, which isn’t bad when the reader knows that the character is likely to do something and this can create suspense in and of itself. Sometimes, it stuns the reader, even the writer!

I believe most writers are observers. We tend to study the world and the things in it as they interact. When thinking in terms of “what if”, or  “wonder why”, this creates a lot of possibilities. Even when a dream or experience gives birth to a story idea, answering these questions becomes the foundation for my work. Many authors employ a different process to their writing. Some are fascinated with history and the lives of people in the past. Others think of the future and the possibilities it may contain. Writing is as unique from one author to the next as one’s DNA is specific to one person.  Regardless, authors still seek answers to the questions by telling their story. However, there is no one “right way” to do it. And that’s called creativity.

Just when you thought the government only wants its citizens’ emails and cell calls-

Inspiration for writing strikes me at odd times and comes in many forms. However, for Against Their Will, it came from personal experience and some headlines.

While the news seems to be all about government spying and citizens’ lack of privacy, the characters in Against Their Will are the ultimate victims of lost privacy; they lost their identity, all because of a plane crash.

After a very rough flight from Houston to Kansas City –  our plane was struck by lightning and it was by far the worst roller coaster ride I’ve ever had – I started writing about it. Although I made it safely to Kansas City, I wondered what my characters would do if they crashed but survived and it was due to unknown forces; a conspiracy at work.

To flesh out my characters’ lives, I used what I learned about the often mysterious world of the film industry. I am a movie buff, and while living in Los Angeles, I visited a number of sets and took studio tours. I soaked up all types of movie trivia and enjoyed learning about the inner workings of the industry. It was only natural these things should be used to further define the characters.

I am a sucker for real locations in stories. The locations in this book were real for the most part, only a few places were slightly modified to fit in with the story. One of the most memorable locations was Topanga Canyon Road, a long, steeply winding road that traverses the Topanga Canyon. The views as one wound around the steep curves were stunning, as were some of the secluded but luxurious estates tucked in between the rolling slopes.

The ultimate inspiration, however, was to write a book full of the unexpected twists and turns that thrill me so much when reading. Suspenseful, page-turning books are my favorites, and that was the ultimate inspiration; to write something I would like to read. If readers can sit on the beach or curl up in a favorite chair and be drawn into another world that helps them forget the stresses and demands of their lives, then I have succeeded. In the end, I hope it is all a fun escape and a roller coaster ride that ends with the exclamation, “Let’s do it again!”