'Piffle!' Kate was holed up on the sofa feeding her five month old baby. She'd watched the entire Sharpe DVD boxset. There was nothing on TV. 'Nothing on TV... well, until Holby City but that's not until 8pm. Ages! I'll be asleep by then!'
Half an hour later, after her little one had drifted off to sleep and she had put him down, she went to get a decaf and her laptop. She flicked the kettle on and gazed at the kitchen tiles around the plug socket. Beige, grey, beige, grey... . As a writer sometimes you just got the itch, and this one was getting stronger.
'Yes, all right, all right, I'll do it,' she muttered, annoyed that she kept speaking to herself. Writers do this, but it had got worse since having a baby.
She sat down at the kitchen table and opened up a brand new Word document. Her fingers hovered over the keyboard, and then tapped Emergency at City Hospital. She had no idea yet what was going to happen but she had a busy city hospital in mind and that sounded good enough for a working title.
The busy city hospital was the London hospital she's spent a month having a baby. Kate had not thought about it at the time but now it was obvious - that had been the perfect research. She'd paced so many corridors (hunting out nooks to use her mobile phone and trying to find the hospital library), she'd overheard so many conversations: midwives, doctors, patients, visitors, dinner ladies, cleaners. She'd been a patient in all the maternity wards: antenatal, labour ward and postnatal.
'Can't remember ever reading a romance set in a maternity ward,' she noted. But the real key to this story would be to have characters that made it interesting.
She remembered that out of the dozens and dozens of midwives she had met in the hospital, not a single one had been male. Kate took a sip of her decaf. This was interesting. Why would a man become a midwife anyhow? Suddenly a starburst of ideas exploded in her head and she could picture her story's hero. Tall, handsome... no, why not make him look exactly like Patrick Dempsey in Grey's Anatomy? This was the gift of fiction. He had to be a super talented practitioner of midwifery, so he would need to be in situations to show off his skills. Like delivering a baby in a lift.
Where did that idea come from?! The lifts at her London hospital had been constantly breaking down. But did anyone ever give birth in a lift? Kate turned to google and was surprised to find newspaper stories where it has happened. Good. Fiction is fiction, but it still has to be believable.
Kate began to write her heroine. She was a doctor, ambitious about her career, but she would need Mr Male Midwife's help to find a thermometer as the story would start on her first day at work at City Hospital. She'd be on the backfoot being new in the building and he'd be there, capable. Kate shivered with excitement and her fingers tapped at the keys at an increasing pace. The reason why he became a midwife would be very unusual and a real hinge to the story. But it was a secret, a big secret.
Secrets at City Hospital was published by My Weekly Pocket Novel earlier this year and is now available as an ebook. The Linford Romance edition should be published in 2012.