Friday, February 15, 2013

My Guest: Jordyn Redwood

My Guest this week has managed to successfully combine not just two demanding occupations (Pediatric ER nurse by day and Suspense Novelist by night) but take this one step further by setting up a service to help writers get medical details right in their novels. It's with great pleasure I present...

Jordyn Redwood

Story ideas

Someone asked me once if my suspense mind is ever turned off.

Put simply . . . no.

Seemingly, every day events can turn into the plot line of a new novel—particularly if it involves some sort of scary, unheard of medical condition. Yea, I’m all over those like spray tan on a movie star.

Some writers I talk to have difficulty coming up with story ideas and so I thought I’d spend some time talking about where I get my story ideas and maybe they’ll spur a new resource for you.

  1. Real Life: I’m an ER nurse so I come across all walks of life every day. Now of course, due to certain health privacy laws, I can’t disclose a patient name and age and associate that with a medical condition. But, let’s be honest. Patients, co-workers, and physicians will meld into characters. I never highlight one specific person but take traits I like . . . and don’t like . . . from those around me.
  2. News Stories: It is absolutely true that an author can’t write a story like it happens in “real life” and have an editor believe it yet we see examples of this every day in the news. Just recently there was the story of a Swedish woman who crashed a train into a building after taking it for a joy ride. Now this starts all sorts of questions in my mind: How did she get access to a train? How do you crash a train? I mean, aren’t they kind of trapped going in a straight line?
  3. Images: Recently, I was a watching a video done by CeeLo Green to one of my favorite Christian songs. Now, I’m not a sold-out CeeLo Green fan so was interested in what his take was on the message. You can watch it here. Regardless of what you think of Christianity, some of the images are powerful. At minute mark 2:04 there is an image of Mary helping Jesus raise the cross that would crucify him. As a mother, imagining helping prepare my child’s instrument of torture is unthinkable yet. . . why did she do it? Because she knew what the ultimate act meant? What other images bring to mind strong thoughts and feelings? The student facing down the tank in Tiananmen Square? A firefighter carrying a child out of a burning building? If you find an image that strikes you see if you can build a story around it. Does the image represent the climax of the story?
  4. Research: I know, I see the hands reaching up to stifle a yawn but hear me out. I do a lot of non-fiction reading for my fiction novels. Books about body language, handwriting analysis, and wilderness survival to name a few. I find that researching a story brings the characters to life for me. Also, scientific discoveries and then I think of how they can go awry. I mean, I am a medical thriller author!
  5. Dreams: This is low on my list because I’m too lazy to get up and write down what happened . . . or I don’t want to remember what happened. Other authors find this a great story generator and keep a journal by their bed to jot notes down. It’s probably wise to keep a little idea notebook with you to jot down ideas as they come. Not all of these thoughts will be novels but it keeps the creative machine moving.
  6. An actual story generator: There are websites that help generate story ideas. Here is one you can peruse. This is the writing prompt it gave me: A doctor has a day to find new homes for a museum of oddities. Now, for this to work for me I’d have to have the doctor find a dead body or some hidden virus to get it to work but change it for your genre.

What about you?

How do you generate stories?

Where do most of your ideas come from?

What are some helpful websites you’ve found?

Bio: Jordyn has served patients and their families for nearly 20 years and currently works as a Pediatric ER Nurse. As a self professed medical nerd and trauma junkie, she was drawn to the controlled chaotic environments of critical care and emergency nursing. Her love of teaching developed early and she was among the youngest CPR instructors for the American Red Cross at the age of seventeen. Since then, she has continued to teach advanced resuscitation classes to participants ranging from first responders to MD’s.

When she discovered she also had a fondness for answering medical questions for authors, this led to the creation of Redwood’s MedicalEdge. This blog is devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Jordyn lives in Colorado with her husband, two daughters and one crazy hound dog. In her spare time she also enjoys reading her favorite authors, quilting and cross stitching. You can learn more about Jordyn by visiting her website at

Her debut novel, Proof, garnered a starred review from LibraryJournal and has been endorsed by the likes of Dr. Richard Mabry, Lynette Eason, and Mike Dellosso to name a few. The second book in the Bloodline Trilogy, Poison, releases Feb, 2013.

Thank you Jordyn, and best wishes for your new novel.

Eric @


Redwood's Medical Edge said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Eric. It's been a pleasure being here.

Eric J. Gates said...

You're welcome, Jordyn. Thanks for a great post.