Karin Baine on:
Website Facebook Twitter
Painting a Picture – Karin Baine
One thing I’ve learned in my first year as an author for Harlequin Mills & Boon, is the importance of the setting. Although most of my books so far have been set in Belfast, every hospital department I’ve used in my medical romances has taken weeks of research.
Everybody’s process is different but I start each story by finding inspirational photos for my characters and their location. I print out reams and reams of research on certain places and situations even though I might only use a couple of sentences in the final draft. My husband often likens it to a crime scene when I’m sat on the bed surrounded by my ocean of paperwork but that’s how I get into my characters’ mind-set before I start writing.
In order for the reader to have a clear image of where the main characters are building their relationship it’s important for the author to have that familiarity too. This is where places like Pinterest come in handy for photo references and personal blogs are a good source of information of information too.
A Kiss to Change Her Life is set on a children’s cancer ward, so it was incredibly important to get the details right. I read lots of very touching personal stories, watched documentaries and did lots of online research to gradually build up a picture of where Jessica was producing her fly-on-the-wall documentary alongside Dr Rob Campbell.
Although I’m comfortable in describing my hometown I’ve still taken a few day trips to take in as many details as I can. Any family hospital appointments now invariably involve me wandering down corridors getting a feel for the layout of the building. In my next book, The Doctor’s Forbidden Fling, (June 2016) my heroine is actually the daughter of an Earl. Of course, that meant a road trip and afternoon tea in several stately homes. Well, I didn’t say research couldn’t be fun!
Learning about the cultures and traditions of your chosen setting can add another dimension to your story too. I’ve just finished a book set on a remote Fijian island and a lot of the local customs made their way into the story to, hopefully, give it a more authentic feel. That was a great one to write for me during a cold and wet winter in Northern Ireland. With all those pictures of paradise I had pinned up around me, I could practically feel the heat on my skin as I was writing it.
Anyone who knows me knows how perpetually disorganised I am. I can’t get through a manuscript without losing my notes because they’ve been scribbled down on some random piece of paper and not filed away with the respect it deserves. (Yes, I write longhand too but that’s another story!) However, writing full time has made me understand the importance of structure and scatty though it is, I do, finally, have a process. It’s no longer a matter of just sitting down and writing the first thoughts that come into my head. Those first weeks BEFORE I put pen to paper are probably the most important.
If I was asked to give aspiring writers one piece of advice before they start their next manuscript? Research, research, research!
A new beginning?
Jessica Halliday is producing a documentary to support Belfast’s Community Children’s Hospital, and she needs handsome paediatrician Rob Campbell on board. But to persuade him she’ll have to put her heart on the line and open up about her infertility…
Jessica’s confession leads Rob to share a part of his heart he’s long kept hidden. With an unexpected intimacy created after just one kiss, their walls begin to crumble. Can Rob create a new happy-ever-after…this time with Jessica by his side?
A heaviness settled over her entire body and she was helpless as she felt herself falling. Rob rushing towards her was the last thing she saw before darkness claimed her.
Lost in the swirling fog, Jessica could hear someone in the distance calling her name.
She wasn’t ready to leave her peaceful slumber and cuddled further into the warmth surrounding her.
‘Can you open your eyes for me, sweetheart?’
Jessica frowned. ‘Go away.’
‘I will as soon as we get you back on your feet.’
‘What?’ In her fugue state she swore she could hear Rob whispering in her ear to bring her body back to life.
Her eyes slowly fluttered open to find her dream date only a breath away. She didn’t know what she was doing in his arms but she kind of liked it. His hard chest was pressed tight against her, his large hands splayed across her back so she was cocooned in his spicy musk and muscles.
‘Can you stand on your own?’
Jessica blinked again and tried to focus. It soon became clear that their passionate embrace was more of a clumsy tango as Rob fought to keep her dropping to the floor like a sack of spuds.
‘I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened.’ She pushed against him to free herself from his hold and the embarrassing scene she’d created. The feel of his rounded biceps under her fingertips did nothing to help her equilibrium.
‘Let’s get you into a seat.’ He lessened his grip but stayed with her until he’d deposited her into a chair at the makeshift café.