How much research went into sculpting the novel SHATTER MY HEART? For a multilayered, nuanced book like, Shatter My Heart, a delicate intertwining of fact, fiction and faith are essential. Researching a novel that is authentic and still creates compelling images and a sense of place requires the weaving of the real life experiences of real people, significant medical information research, a familiarity with different locations, types of healers,and ultimately an intimate understanding of the traits consistent with the characters that are moving the action forward. The research for this book was extensive. My personal experiences working in a medical training setting with medical students and residents made a significant contribution to the setting and development of the characters.
As a psychologist, I was referred patients who had the diagnosis of lupus. In a therapy setting I worked with them around the ways to accept and lead constructive lives with the disease. In the course of treatment there were always the complications created by the illness for the marriage and family, as well as finding the best ways to interact with friends and their responses to illness. The novel reflects all these experiential aspects, as well as, my own experience of living with undiagnosed symptoms and, then, living with a chronic illness once it was diagnosed. The medical issues surrounding Lauren’s mysterious symptoms and her treatments were carefully researched from medical sources and personal accounts of those experiencing similar events. For some of the events and scenes in the book I conducted in-depth interviews with professionals in those areas.