When I began to write LIFELINES I knew it would be a challenge to find our target audience. Afterall, we were breaking all the rules—combining thriller pacing with a women’s fiction feeling, a medical suspense told solely from the point of view of the women of Angels of Mercy’s ER, and finally, combining romantic elements in an on-going, multi-character series.
Before the release, I worried. Would the mystery/suspense reviewers like it or would they find it too much like women’s fiction? Would the romance reviewers think there wasn’t enough romance? Would the “big name” reviewers pay any attention at all?
Turns out the worry was for nothing. Publishers Weekly and the Baltimore Sun both loved LIFELINES, with Publishers Weekly calling it a “breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller”. Romantic Times Book Reviews made it a Top Pick and Romance Reviews Today gave LIFELINES a coveted Perfect 10!
But us writers aren’t known for our neurotic tendencies for nothing, lol! Despite all this, I still worried about readers finding LIFELINES—and liking it. LIFELINES is shelved in general fiction/literature, not in either romance or mystery/suspense. And it’s a paperback. Would anyone find it, much less pay money for it, and then like it?
My answer came sooner than I thought it would.
LIFELINES was released here in the US on March 4th, but must have hit the stores early in Canada because the first fan letters I received were from across the border. Words like “one of the best books I ever read” and “I couldn’t put it down” were tossed about, making my heart soar as I walked around all day with a grin on my face.
People really connected to Lydia, who finds herself risking everything in LIFELINES. But they also loved the other women: Nora, Gina, and Amanda, asking when their stories would be told! (Amanda’s story is the next book, CATALYST, due out early 2009)
Former nurses, EMT’s, and even other doctors wrote to tell me I got the feel of an ER right and to thank me for sharing their world with readers. People from Pittsburgh praised me for how I portrayed their hometown. And, most surprising, a good portion of the fan mail is from men—they enjoyed LIFELINES as much as the women!
Now’s my chance to officially say thanks to everyone who has read LIFELINES and taken the time to write me. I can’t tell you how happy you all have made me!
A writer’s life is often spent in isolation. We pour our hearts and souls into stories that we can never be certain will resonate with readers. And that’s what it’s all about, that’s why we write—or at least why I write. Because we want to share our world with you, invite you in, spin you a good yarn, and hopefully entertain, empower, or inspire you along the way.
All I can say is…thanks for reading!
As a pediatric ER doc, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about. CJ loves sharing the secret life of an urban trauma center with readers. She also loves breaking the rules; her debut medical suspense novel, LIFELINES, is cross-genre to the extreme, combining women’s fiction with medical suspense with thriller pacing with romantic elements and is told from the point of view of the women of Angels of Mercy’s Medical Center. Publisher’s Weekly proclaimed LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), “a spot-on debut….a breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller” and Romantic Times made it a Top Pick. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net/