Monday, January 14, 2013

What Good Can Come of the Flu?

With influenza at epidemic proportions right now, you might think I asked J. L. Greger, biologist, to speak on how to avoid flu dangers. No. Being that you could probably use a break from the nightly news on that subject, which may or may not have you freaked out, here is Janet's suggestions on where to find writing ideas--and information on her new medical thriller. At this time of year, I could use some ideas for germination while I continue hibernating a few more days (weeks?).  So, here's Janet:


Where do you look for ideas?
Young women thumb through endless bride magazines hunting for the perfect wedding gown. Middle-aged shoppers, who no longer have the stamina to trudge through malls packed with teenagers, peruse mail order catalogues looking for clothes that will make them look thinner, more attractive, and/or younger. Where do writers go for ideas - that thing called inspiration?

Inspirations for writing can come from anywhere.
Old habits are hard to break. So even though I’m no longer an active scientist, I continue to scan articles in science journals. When I read how a few mutations (changes) could turn an animal flu virus into one that can infect humans, I knew that I had the basis for a medical thriller. Then I read John Barry’s The Great Influenza. The statistics were staggering – more than 50 million people died of flu during 1918-20. Coming Flu, a medical thriller, reflects my answer to the question: What if a new, unstoppable flu virus hit a community like mine?

You’re probably thinking I’m pretty strange. The inspiration for my second novel Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight is less academic.

Like everyone, I see many endorsements of weight loss regimes and products on TV. Some of the so-called “delicious shakes” pushed by famous people look pretty bad. And the sizes of some of the servings of food in these promotions make even small salad plates look large. You can see I’m a skeptic. Hence the underlying question for Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight is: What if you couldn’t trust the diet doctors promoting these diets and products? Some would say that is a given.

I like to travel, especially to locations a bit off the beaten path. As I was sorting through cheap souvenirs and postcards from a trip to South America, I spied items from Bolivia, which are becoming the basis for my third novel. What are they? If I tell you, it’ll ruin the surprise

Where could you find ideas for your writing?
Several authors have created cozy mystery series, based on their hobbies (such as cooking and quilting) or their pets. Others find travel to exotic locations a source of ideas and tax write-offs. But you don’t have to travel far for ideas. Have you ever wandered down a street in an old section of your hometown and wondered what happened behind those facades last year, ten years ago, or even a century ago? And, if all else fails, turn to your dreams and nightmares. What if the gray, humped-back man, who lived in your bedroom closet when you were four, was real?

It’s just a matter of asking, what if?

Bio: J. L. Greger, as a biologist and professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enjoys putting tidbits of science into her medical thrillers and mysteries. Coming Flu (published July 2012) compares two killers: the Philippine flu and a drug kingpin trapped in a New Mexican community, which is quarantined because of the flu. Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight (to be published March 2013) will make you think twice before you begin your next diet. 

Sales links: 

Do you need inspiration at this time of year?  Where do you get your inspiration (this
is a question that everyone wants to know)?


jrlindermuth said...

The daily news--newspaper or TV--is a huge source of inspiration. In my other life as a genealogist, I also find hints of stories in the history of those who have gone before as well as in contemporary newspaper accounts of their deeds.

J. L. Greger said...

Thanks John. And Thanks to Cora for allowing me space on her blog.

Unknown said...

Inspirational guest blog! Thanks for sharing.

Marja said...

Love your weight loss title! I've read many medical thrillers that grabbed and held my interest. Looking forward to yours.
Marja McGraw