Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Guest Blog – Emma Fraser

I have to write about stuff that excites, intrigues and delights me. In particular; real heroines of the past, old houses, WW2, and Scotland. And I’ve managed to find a way to incorporate all of those in my latest release, Greyfriars House. It’s a time-slip story, moving between the 1980s and WW2, based around a country house which stands alone on its own Scottish island. is about two sisters, a betrayal and the secret they kept for decades.

Eilean Donan castle
Eilean Donan castle

It’s hard to go anywhere in Scotland without tripping over evidence of the past – whether it’s brochs, wheelhouses, viking long houses, castles, country houses, historic cities with their tenements and ‘closes’ or wide open fields and glens that were once the scenes of bloody battles. Wherever I go I find stories I want to write. Who were the people who once lived here? How did they live? Who did they love? What were their hopes, what kept them awake at night?

Culross - where parts of Outlander filmed
Culross – where parts of Outlander filmed
One of over a hundred Green Men carvings in Rosslyn Chapel - home to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail
One of over a hundred Green Men carvings in Rosslyn Chapel – home to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail

We Scots have our fair share of local heroines not least Dr Inglis of whom I wrote in my first novel, When the Dawn Breaks. We have many, many others. For example Mairi Chisholm who treated wounded soldiers right on the front line during WW1; the Duchess of Sutherland who like Elsie Inglis set up hospitals to treat the wounded and, one of my favourites (who may yet feature in one of my books) Lady Nithsdale who rode all the way from her home in Traquair House to the Tower of London to rescue her husband – and succeeded. Traquair House was where I discovered the priest’s staircase – a secret staircase that provided an escape route for the resident priest as practising the catholic faith was forbidden during the reformation and once I’d learned about it, I had to use it in Greyfriars House.

In Greyfriars House, I return once again to WW2 and the women who lived through it and who faced unimaginable circumstances.

Finally, we Scots, or some of us, believe in the supernatural. My grandfather who came from the Western Isles firmly believed he had the ‘second sight.’ He said he dreamt of boats pulled up on the shore whenever someone was about to die. Ghost stories have always been an integral part of Scottish life and sometimes, when I stand in a ruin, or am alone in a Scottish glen, I sense the people who once lived there. There is an element of the supernatural in Greyfriars House too.

Do you have a particular heroine you’d like to tell us about? Have you ever felt ‘spooked’ by something you couldn’t explain? Have you visited Scotland and what did you love most? I’d very much like to hear.

isbn9780751566123.jpgThanks to my wonderful medical author colleagues who invited me to post here. On Monday I’ll be posting an extract of Greyfriars House now out in hardback and ebook and in paperback in May (available to pre-order from Amazon, now). I do hope you’ll return here to read it.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Inspiration – where I get my ideas from…

We’re thrilled to welcome Emma Fraser to ‘Love is the Best Medicine’ today.  Writing as Anne Fraser, Emma has delighted us with her Medical Romances, and now writes historical fiction.  Over to you, Emma…

As an author one of the questions I’m asked most often is where do I get my ideas from?

Some of you will know that I used to write Medical Romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon. As an ex-nurse ideas for those books were never a problem. But I have always been fascinated with the past – perhaps being Scottish has something to do with it. In Scotland, evidence of by gone lives is never more than a few feet away.

For my first historical When the Dawn Breaks, I started off researching the first women doctors. Almost immediately the name Elsie Inglis came up. When I trained as a nurse in Edinburgh there used to be an Elsie Inglis Hospital but I never knew why it was called that. It turns out that amongst other things Elsie Inglis was the driving force behind the establishment of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals – an all women unit that went out to Serbia, France and Greece during WW1. (The British Government refused their help so Dr Inglis went straight to the Serbian and French governments and offered to help them instead. They accepted with alacrity and within months, the Scottish Women’s Hospital was serving close to the front lines in these countries.)

When I discovered the story I knew I had to write about it and the kind of women who would have the courage and determination to not only become doctors and nurses at a time when it was still very difficult for women to qualify but who would have the courage and determination to volunteer to work close to the front line.

For my second historical, We Shall Remember, my daughter told me about two Polish doctors who had found away of mimicking a false positive for Typhus and they used this discovery to save thousands of Polish lives during WW2. The real event turned out to have only a small part in my story but it led to the creation of my Polish heroine, Irene.

So real events are one place I find inspiration but so too are places. In When the Dawn Breaks I knew I wanted it set partly on Skye. I worked there for a while when I was a teenager and still think it one of the most magical places in the world. Co-incidentally my first ever published piece – an article for the school magazine when I was seven – was a story about Dunvegan castle and it’s dungeon. One of the scenes in When the Dawn Breaks is set around this dungeon.

In both books I was also inspired by the thought – what would I do if I had been forced to trek over frozen Montenegrin mountains in the dead of winter (When the Dawn Breaks) or been asked to go back to a country to spy knowing I could be facing death at any moment? (We Shall Remember.) I doubt I would have been as brave as either of my heroines!

My third book, The Shipbuilder’s Daughter was partly inspired by mother who was a Green Lady (a midwife and health visitor) and who worked in one of the poorest areas in Glasgow during the fifties. This is a photo of the syringe she would have used on home visits.

The Shipbuilder’s Daughter is set in the late twenties and thirties but many of the problems of over crowding and poverty were as bad in the fifties as in the twenties and thirties. Glasgow was famous for its ship building industry – but while the owners of the shipyards lived in luxury, their workers often lived just above the breadline. My grandfather worked in the shipyards after serving in world war one but the incessant smog that afflicted Glasgow at that time, spurred him to return to the place of his birth – North Uist – a place I spent many happy childhood holidays. And North Uist is where my heroine goes to work as a doctor when she is forced to flee Glasgow.

I feel so lucky to live in a country steeped in history with some of the most stunning landscape in the world and all three books are at least partly based in Scotland.

But ultimately my stories are about people and their relationships. A place or an event might start me thinking about the book, but it is the characters and their story that really matter.

Are there any places in Scotland that you have visited and been inspired by or that you’d like to visit and why?

Thanks to my medical author friends for inviting me on to this blog!

‘When the Dawn Breaks’ and ‘We Shall Remember’ are both available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

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The Writing Life

Hints of Spring and the Birth of Books by Fiona Lowe

snowdropsDown here in southern Australia, August is an odd month. We’re still in the grip of winter on most days but then we get a warm sunny day to remind us winter isn’t forever and then it’s gone again! But what those warm days do is to prompt the plants. My garden is almost devoid of color, all we’ve had for weeks are the white of snow drops,  but the pink blossom is starting, the camellias are dripping and the azaleas are budding.

cameillias

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon the bulbs will flower and the garden will be filled with color again. I LOVE spring although am always happy to have a late one if it means the snow sticks on the mountains a bit longer.

Your medical romance authors write a variety of different books. Today, two of our authors  have new books out!  Anne Fraser, writing as Emma Fraser has an historical medical romance out on Wednesday  And I’ve got Picture Perfect Wedding out today, Monday!  Aren’t the covers of these books awesome and evocative of the type of book they are?

What makes me smile about Anne/Emma’s book is that my student nurse’s uniform in 1980 didn’t look a lot different from that! My cap was modern but I had that starched apron and collar that scratched my neck! I used to have to sprinkle water on the back of it to soften it so I didn’t get a rash! Anyone else ever have to wear something like that?

The blurb for When the Dawn Breaks is intriguing and says,

Skye, 1903. Jessie, the young daughter of a local midwife, is determined to become a nurse one day, but family loss and heartache jeopardise her dreams. Isabel, the doctor’s daughter, is planning to follow in her father’s footsteps – even though medicine is not considered a fitting career for a woman. And then there’s Archie, Jessie’s older brother, whom Isabel just can’t stay away from.

Taking in Skye and Edinburgh, France and Serbia, When the Dawn Breaks is a sweeping wartime story of two determined women and the dark secret that will bind them forever . . .

It’s available from Amazon UK & The Book Depository and UK bookshops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy novel, Picture Perfect Wedding, is book two in my Wedding Fever trilogy. I confess there isn’t a lot of medical content in this book BUT there is a birth scene…of a calf! It’s my dairy farm book with a sexy farmer and a geographically challenged photographer. I can guarantee it will make you laugh and smile. Set in rural Wisconsin, it’s full of cute dogs, cows and sunflowers and a steal at $2 You can track it down at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Booktopia, and all ebook stores.

When you’re not reading medical romances, what else do you enjoy to read?