Monday, May 16, 2011
I'm please to host award-winning author Carrie Turansky today as she discusses how she researched burn injuries for her novel Surrendered Hearts. Welcome Carrie!
As I began brainstorming ideas for my novel, Surrendered Hearts, I read an article in my local newspaper about a gas pipeline explosion that destroyed several homes. The explosion and fire that followed injured many people. I decided this would be the difficult by perfect back-story for my heroine. I began researching the physical, emotional, and spiritual issues burn victims face during their healing process so I could accurately portray that in my novel.
The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors (http://www.phoenix-society.org/) is a great organization that provides information and support for those who have burn injuries. I combed through their website as I created my heroine, Jennifer Evans. I soon realized her life would be completely changed by the loss her home, car, and beloved dog. She would also lose the ability to perform her job, and the scars that cover her arm, neck, and shoulder would damage her confidence and destroy many of her relationships.
I needed to understand the timeline for healing and learn the details about smoke inhalation and skin grafting so I could include those in the story. The Phoenix Society website provides links to other websites that gave me much of the information I was seeking. I was also very inspired by the articles I read in their newsletter, Burn Support News about burn survivors who overcame their injuries and rebuilt their lives.
Receiving support and acceptance from others is key to emotional healing for those with burn injuries, and that fit in perfectly with what I wanted to portray in my novel. My heroine had to come to a place where she was ready to stop hiding her scars and reveal them first to trusted friends and then to others. Understanding the pain and struggles a burn survivor goes through helped me show her character development in a realistic way.
I hope readers of Surrendered Hearts will think though the question - what makes a woman truly beautiful? Along with my heroine, I’d like them to discover, “Beauty is more than perfect skin, or shiny hair, or a great figure. It comes from who you are inside, in your heart. It shines out through your eyes and your smile. And that’s what touches people and draws them to you.”
Collecting accurate information about medical conditions mentioned in your story is key to creating a realistic plot and characters. Mistakes can pull a reader out of the story and create doubt in their mind about your ability as an author to deliver an accurate and powerful story. So spend the time needed to research any medical conditions you decide to use in your novel.
If you enjoy contemporary inspirational romance, I hope you stop by my website and learn more about Surrendered Hearts. You can read the first chapter, see photos of the character and setting, and find links to order at www.carrieturansky.com.
Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of eight inspirational romance novels and novellas. She has been a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The ACFW Genesis, and ACFW Carol Award and winner of the WRW Crystal Globe Award. She has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2000.Her latest releases are Christmas Mail-Order Brides, Seeking His Love, Surrendered Hearts and A Man To Trust. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, speaker and counselor. They have five young adult children. Carrie and her family spent a year in Kenya as missionaries, giving them a passion for what God is doing around the world. Carrie leads women's ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys gardening, reading, flower arranging, and cooking for friends and Family.