Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Helen and Liam are engaged to be married and their relationship is stronger than ever. But when Helen encourages the young doctor to mend fences with his estranged family before the wedding, she unintentionally opens a dangerous can of worms.
A devastating secret from Liam’s past emerges, threatening to tear him apart. The horrors of his family skeletons make him feel that it is a huge mistake to try to start a new family with Helen. Unable to cope, he pushes everyone away, including his fiancée and even his best friend Owen.
Now Helen must do all she can to save the man who has saved her so many times. Liam has put himself on the line to help her heal in the past, and she hopes to do the same—if she can even get close enough to try…
When Book Research Gets Personal… and Scary
By Loretta Lost
In the fifth book of my Clarity series, a young couple is engaged to be married and hoping to start a family together. Anxieties run high over whether they will have a healthy baby, and the bride, having been born blind, wants to have a DNA test.
I have done intensive research for many of my books in the past, but I must admit that this time, it made me a little scared and uncomfortable. I ordered a DNA kit off the internet for about $200 and it arrived within a few days. I was worried about all the information I might discover, and if I’d be better off not knowing—but I tried to put my fears aside and do it for the sake of the book. I procrastinated for a little while, but the onset of a friend’s health issues made me realize that I wanted to know as much as possible, as soon as possible.
It ended up taking closer to twelve weeks to get the results, but they came just in time for me to use the experience in writing Clarity 5: Loving Liam. Although I had already written many of the scenes concerning the DNA testing, I went back and edited them with certain details of the experience—both emotional and factual. Regarding how the information pertained to my own health, I really did learn things I had not expected.
First of all, I discovered that I have a high risk of developing Celiac disease. This didn’t bother me very much, because I have never experienced digestive difficulties. I already eat a mostly gluten-free diet since my ex-boyfriend and my mother must eat low-carb, and for some reason, I tend to adopt the eating habits of those around me. If I ever do get a carb craving, I usually only want rice, and I think that having Celiac wouldn’t really change my life. It will probably never be a concern.
The second discovery was much more alarming, and one that I wasn’t expecting: I seem to have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. I have always imagined writing books long into my old age, and the idea that I could lose my ability to do so earlier than expected makes me very afraid. No one in my family has any kind of dementia, so this was a huge surprise to me. Of course, it is still only a risk, and it seems like a healthy heart, regular exercise, and strong social connections can protect against developing Alzheimer’s. Although it’s scary, I am grateful to discover this now, at age 28, when I can still try to improve my lifestyle and remove some of the environmental risk factors.
There was a little bit of good news in all this as well. For years I have suffered from cysts in my ovaries, and recently I’ve had cysts in my breasts. They have been benign, but I do have a family history of breast cancer and I often worry that the pain from the cysts could be an indicator of something more serious. However, I was pleased to see that my DNA does not hold an increased risk for breast or ovarian cancer. Of course, I understand that I could still acquire either, and I shouldn’t assume that these organs will be completely healthy without regular checkups and healthy living.
I’m just happy that I don’t have to assume the worst, and that I won’t need to cut off my breasts as a preventative measure. I rather like my breasts.
I also learned that I am not a carrier of any diseases that could be life-threatening to my future children, which was very reassuring, but I am not taking any of these results at face value. Environmental factors can be just as life-threatening; it doesn’t matter how perfect your DNA is, you can still crash your car if you don’t drive safely.
Overall, I gained a massive amount of material for my story from this one little test I did on myself. It is extremely personal, which allows me to imagine how the characters would feel in similar situations. I think the only way to write is to allow yourself to be vulnerable, and hurt, and to feel—and then to pour those feelings on the page.
When characters are really afraid, and concerned about their own mortality and futures, that is when they are most real and we can connect with them best.
In the two days of summer that she gets in Canada, she grows a garden of the hottest peppers in the world. She loves using these peppers to torture her guests and challenge their manhood. This could be why she isn’t married.
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