Tuesday, January 27, 2009

War Stories

Today I welcome author CJ Lyons to my place. She gave up a career in medicine to write. Why? Read on.

Thanks to Terry for inviting me!

Have you ever come face to face with evil? I have.

I practiced pediatric emergency medicine and community pediatrics for seventeen years. During that time, I faced rapists, child abusers, gang-bangers who would kill over a pair of shoes, sociopaths, psychotics, narcissists, and even one killer who our prosecutor classified as a serial killer.

You know the scary thing about evil? It looks just like you and me.

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When I left medicine to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming an author, I knew that I wanted to explore the various faces of evil. Because I've faced it in real-life, I knew how different it was from most of the "bad-guys" portrayed in fiction.

Evil doesn't spend its days plotting dastardly deeds of cunning or intricate, diabolical plots involving red herrings and webs of intrigue.

Rather, the evil I've seen is driven by one simple desire: they know what they want, they want it now, and they don't care what they have to do to get it.

The boy-friend baby-sitting while mom's at work who brutally beat and raped a three year old because she wouldn't go to bed when he told her the first time. He's currently on death row.

The woman who shook her baby so hard the baby hemorrhaged into his brain….because the baby wouldn't stop crying during her favorite TV show.

The gangbanger who shot a kid because he said "hi" to the wrong girl on the wrong street corner while wearing the wrong color of hat.

These are just a few of the faces of evil I've seen.

Is it any wonder that in my medical suspense novels I focus on what makes evil so compelling to so many readers: the fact that it hides among us, so very hard to see, hiding in plain sight.

We all have something in common with evil. No matter who we are, we are all driven by the same universal needs and wants: love, security, recognition.

In real life, there was frustratingly little I could do when faced with evil. I could care for the victims, help the police and prosecutors to the best of my ability, but it always felt as if there should be a way to stop the senseless deaths and violence.

As rewarding as my medical career has been, I'm finding that my new career as an author has its own rewards. Especially when it gives me the chance to not only put a face to evil but to give its victims the justice they deserve.

The best way to fight evil is to bring it into the light where everyone can see it for what it truly is.

So you tell me—what war stories do you have to share? Have you come face to face with evil? I'll bet you have.

The boyfriend who came close to stalking you, the sociopath next door who lies about everything—for no reason than the sheer joy of getting away with it, the school kid setting fires and torturing animals…..they're all out there, closer than you think.

Thanks for reading!

As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, is due out January, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net


MJFredrick said...

I don't know how you can see that day in and day out and still believe in happily ever after! I know cops and paramedics who just...can't.

I LOVED Lifelines, one of my favorite books of last year, and I bought Warning Signs Sunday!

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks, MJ! You just made my day!!! Hope you enjoy WARNING SIGNS.

As for feeling pessimistic about the world after working in the ER and seeing what I've seen--it's inevitable.

But it doesn't have to be a permanent state of mind. You just have to let the light in, wherever you can find it.

Often that was through humor, seeing the acts of courage my patients and their families performed, and through friends.

Thanks for stopping by!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

CJ, as a court reporter and then a victims' advocate, I've not only seen the faces of evil, but of those who become their victims. I admire you so much for what you do. I'm curious since you gave up your medical career to write. Do you still retain you CV and testify as an expert witness during these types of trials? I imagine both sides of the aisle would love to have someone with your credentials testifying on their behalf. Particularly, if they felt the defendant was wrongly accused. You may not be able to put a face to these types of people, but I would think you're close to a profiler by now; what do you think? Interesting discussion, Terri, thanks for bringing CJ to us!!

Terry Odell said...

Donnell, believe me, it's my pleasure to host wonderful guests like CJ.

CJ Lyons said...

Hi there, thanks for stopping by!

I haven't done any expert witness work in a few years, but yes, I do stay current on the literature--research for the writing.

Thanks for the kind words!

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks for having me, Terry! Great stuff here at your place!

Ray said...

Warning Signs is available in my local Barnes & Noble now. Do I need to read Lifelines first? It would have to be ordered online. I just checked out your web site and joined your mailing list. I like the "Extras." What I read seems very familiar.

I was a Navy Independent Duty Corpsman and afterward a Medical Services Officer (same, but as a civilian mariner) on Navy ships with civilian crew. Nothing like being a doctor, but we didn't have one on board so I was it.

If you keep introducing me to new authors I won't run out of reading material for a very long time.


CJ Lyons said...

Hi Ray! Thanks for checking out my site and the books!

WARNING SIGNS stands alone--you don't need to read LIFELINES first, but given your background you might enjoy it as well.

LIFELINES is a bit more of a thriller rollercoaster with some good EMS scenes, while WARNING SIGNS is more of a medical mystery.

Let me know what you think of them!

Ray said...

Thanks for letting me know I can read either one first. I certainly will let you know what I think.