Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview: Medical thriller novelist Jordyn Redwood

By Mark Young
Medical thriller novelist Jordyn Redwood has not been idle since we last visited a little over a year ago. At that time, Jordyn had just released her debut novel from the Bloodline Trilogy titled Proof. Since then, she has released two more in the series; Poison, published in February of this year; and Peril, hitting the bookstores last month.

Jordyn writes from experience. She is a registered nurse, working in emergency departments or intensive care units for the pasts twenty years. She teaches advanced resuscitation courses and has taught all levels of medical providers regarding pediatrics. She describes herself as a “medical nerd by day,” reading medical textbooks for fun. She write a very popular bogRedwood's Medical Edgefor those seeking to know the fine line between medical reality and fiction.

I have invited Jordyn back to Hook’em & Book’em to tell us about her novels and what she had learned about the publishing industry since her last visit.

MARK: Welcome, Jordyn. It is heartening to see an author doing so well in this challenging era. We look forward to reading about your corner of the fiction world. Let’s start with an overview of the Bloodline Trilogy by focusing on some of the key characters. Who should we start with?

JORDYN: Mark, it’s so great being back on Hook’em & Book’em! I remember when you first started this blog and it’s great to see all your success.

Dr. Lilly Reeves is the heroine in Proof. She’s an ER physician and the victim of a serial rapist. When DNA testing sets him free her journey begins to prove his guilt assisted by southern charmer Detective Nathan Long. During a hostage crisis in Proof, we meet SWAT captain Lee Watson. In Poison, Lee helps Keelyn Blake, a survivor of the Proof hostage situation and now his fiancĂ©e, figure out a mystery when a hallucination of her father’s comes back in the real flesh. In Peril, Lilly discovers she has a sister, Morgan
Adams. Lilly’s famous neurosurgeon father, Dr. Thomas Reeves, is performing a medical experiment and Morgan is held hostage by a few research subjects to get him to disclose why they are sick which brings Lee and Nathan on the scene again. 

MARK: Are there other characters you would like to introduce to readers?

JORDYN: Drew Stipman is one of my favorite secondary characters. He was wrongly convicted in Proof and sent to prison. An early readers group connected so much with him that he was written into all three books. Drew was that lone character without much tie to family and he got somewhat of a happy ending at the end of the series. I would like to share more of his story. 

MARK: Your latest novel, Peril, was just released last month. Here is your trailer about this novel.

Give us a brief synopsis of the story. What are some of the obstacles your main character faces?

JORDYN: In Peril, Dr. Thomas Reeves is creating super soldiers by enhancing their memory. Unfortunately, the experiments go awry and a few research subjects take Morgan Adams, and the Pediatric ICU, hostage to get him to disclose why they are suffering nightmares, hallucinations and even death. His newly discovered daughter doesn’t have much will to live at the moment. Morgan’s infant daughter was murdered and she feels she could have—should have prevented it. On top of that, she’s now sick and needs a kidney transplant to save her life. Peril is Morgan’s story of overcoming great loss, connecting with her husband again and finding the will to live despite living with great sorrow.  

MARK: As I read a description of Peril, I came across these two sentences which caused me to want to read more—even if I don’t have a clue about what “enhanced NMDA receptors” are all about. Here are the lines:

An elite unit has received neural grafts from fetal cadavers of genetically altered brain cells with enhance NMDA receptors. The results are remarkable…until the recipients begin suffering hallucinations, nightmares, paralysis…and death.”

This does not sound good. Tell me how you came up with this idea? Daytime reading of all those medical textbooks?

JORDYN: Absolutely! In each book of the Bloodline Trilogy, there is a medical phenomenon I explore. In
Proof—what if DNA testing set a guilty man free because he had a genetic defect. And yes, that can really happen. In Poison, can hypnosis cause someone to do something evil? In Peril, is there such a thing as cellular transfer of memories and if there is—what does that teach us about life?

Cellular transfer of memories is where recipients of organs remember or experience memories or tastes of their donor. It’s got lots of anecdotal support in medical literature. We know memories are biologically based—we just don’t know exactly how that biological process for creating memories works. Because of this there is lots of room to explore the ethical implications behind it.

I read lots of non-fiction for my fiction stories and I was completely fascinated by Mind Wars by Jonathan D. Moreno which gave me the idea for the experiment and military angle. 

MARK: Okay, let as move onto your second Bloodline Trilogy, Poison. Tell us a little about this story? What are your characters facing?

JORDYN: Poison delves into what we believe about
truth, what influences truth, and if we believe a lie as truth how that affects our lives. What I love most about Poison is that Keelyn Blake is a body language expert and her fiancĂ© is hiding a big secret. The interplay between the two of them as she “reads” his nonverbal communication really heightened the tension in the novel.   

MARK: All three of your novels have been published by Kregel Publications. How did you connect with them? What did you do to get their attention?

JORDYN: After Proof was finished I was able to get an agent, Greg Johnson, with WordServe Literary. He submitted my book proposal to Kregel and they picked it up. What I’ve heard one of my editors say when I asked her this question was my medical expertise was a plus in writing medical thrillers because they knew the information would be reliable and I had somewhat of a platform started with my blog Redwood’s Medical Edge

MARK: Can you share with us perceptions you had about publishing that might have changed since you have three novels under your belt? Any surprises?

JORDYN: Of course, I dreamed about getting to quit my day job a few short months after Proof was published. Financially, I haven’t been able to do that. I quickly determined I wasn’t going to make James Patterson type money but what surprised me is I wasn’t even making twenty-five percent of my part-time nursing salary. There is work on the road to publication and there is also work at building a readership. Each takes six-ten years. Even more surprising is that most authors are working other jobs and will probably have to always do so. 

MARK: Once you were accepted by a publisher, what steps did you take to help get the word out about your novels? Social networking? Speaking engagements? Website presence?

JORDYN: I have done all the above. The best marketing lesson I’ve learned is that it takes six-ten exposures to an author and/or their book title for a reader to make a decision to buy. By incorporating all these things I’m hoping to do just that. 

MARK: Some writers have a perception that once a publisher latches onto their novel, all authors have to do is keep on writing. That the publisher would take care of all the rest. What has been your experience?

JORDYN: I don’t think anyone in the publishing business (authors, agents, or marketers) would say authors get to sit in the backseat as far as marketing. I had a great working relationship with Kregel and I feel they did support marketing the book by buying advertising, supplying me with postcards to mail out, developing a book trailer, Facebook party and providing advanced reader copies to get people excited about the story. That being said, there were some things I wanted to do as well that I financed myself. For instance, I hired a publicist for Peril strictly for pitching broadcast media outlets. 

MARK: What is your next project now that you have had a moment to catch your breath from Peril?

JORDYN: I’ve developed a fiction trilogy around the phenomenon of near death experiences (NDEs) that I’m hoping will get picked up by a traditional publisher. No word yet. 

MARK: Any words of advice that you could give new writers?

JORDYN: The road to publication is hard work but it is also worth all the hard work. If your words can speak to just one person—you are a successful writer even if you’re not making a lot of money. 

MARK: Again, thank you for taking the time to tell us about your writing career. We look forward to your next step in this writing game.

JORDYN: Mark, I always enjoy being with your readers. You’re a true friend on this publishing road and I’m very thankful for you. 

Jordyn Redwood is the author of the Bloodline Trilogy novels Proof, Poison and Peril. She is a registered nurse with extensive experience in emergency department and intensive care units for more than 20 years. She writes medical thrillers base upon these experiences and from her enjoyment reading medical textbooks. Jordyn hosts the widely-read blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, where she answers medical questions for fiction writers and readers. She lectures about medical issues and fiction writing, including a popular lecture titled Medical Mayhem: Strategies to Accurately Depict Medical Fact in Fiction. Find out more about Jordyn at her web site.

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