Conspiracy Theories – Everywhere?

Admittedly, I love conspiracy stories; either in book form or big screen. I can’t seem to get enough of them, so I guess it’s not surprising that is my favorite writing genre. With a very divisive election behind us and polarized masses, I think it has become even easier to envision a conspiracy on any number of levels.

So what makes for a good conspiracy? I believe it must have components that the reader can either relate to, or believe could be easily set in motion. Simply, it is taking something from our everyday lives and giving it a sinister shading or background.

My personal area of interest is the field of medicine. Given this, there is a lot of potential fodder in that category. There are the cries against GMO’s, chemical alterations in plants, added substances to food items, the growth of Big Pharma, and testing on pharmaceuticals that may not be totally ethical. My novel, Against Their Will dealt with ethical treatments and practices on unsuspecting patients.

There is also the component of money in medicine. Corrupt practitioners who may push a treatment on a patient, not for the best interests of the patient but more for the financial or other benefit of the practitioner is one area with potential. Other possibilities could include harvesting organs for the black market, or even the legitimate market but with non-legitimate means. Just think of motivating factors to obtain the end result, money or power, and you’ve got a story in the making.

Power and money are just two examples of motivators for characters. What other things could define your character and provide motivation for them? Is it love? Or, acceptance, or even hate that pushes someone into action?

The blank page is your canvas so they say. But sometimes we need a nudge to put something on that canvas. Think of what motivates you and what you would be willing, or even unwilling to do? There you have a beginning for a new character!

Happy writing, everyone!

Emerald Beach a novel by Nancy Livingstone

Against Their Will by Nancy Livingstone





Why do I write about medicine?

Why do I write about medicine in my novels? A good question. It’s been said that there are two things most important to people, their money and their health. How many headlines do you see each day that have to do with one or the other? ‘Nuff said, right? Well, maybe not.

Medicine affects us all, regardless of our health status. While some may only care about their personal outcome in a medical situation, others, like myself, are fascinated with the workings of the field. Okay, I have to admit that I have more than a little personal involvement in the field. I come from a family of physicians, radiologists, and lab technicians. I grew up hearing about all the issues concerning the field. I considered med school myself, for a while, until I realized it was going to be next to impossible to get over my fear of needles. So, I settled for an undergraduate degree in biology. And, when it was time to inject mice in a microbiology lab, I made my lab partner handle the needle!

After finishing my Master’s degree, I worked in a major Houston hospital (a location used in Against Their Will) as well as managed a group of physicians’ offices. It was there I learned what it is really like behind the scenes. My empathy for practitioners began growing at this point.

In recent years, I’ve been a patient more times than I can count. A hip replacement, back fusion, knee replacement, two rotator cuff surgeries and numerous other less invasive procedures have brought me face to face with some of the finest practitioners in the field. All of these life experiences have provided me with a wealth of material to draw upon in writing.

World-wide symbol of first aid; one of the first of the first responders

World-wide symbol of first aid; one of the original first responders.

Medical themes are popular; in books, tv shows and movies. We seem to be fascinated with what it is like to be a miracle worker, helping to heal people of a myriad of diseases and injuries. But, how do these miracles come about? Are those who create them always altruistic in their motives?

Against Their Will shows some of the other side of this scenario. As humans, we’re all imperfect and we all have that tendency to look out for ourselves first. When presented a scenario in which one can make wads of money while rationalizing that it is for the good of the people, who can say no? I’m not sure I could and I wonder how many others would as well. The characters in my book face that dilemma. Can any of us truly rise about the human condition to put the good of others above ourselves? Please share your comments as there are many sides to this subject, all worthy of hearing.


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!