Friday, July 02, 2010

My hero in Doctor in Petticoats is blind. It's a risky thing to do and you wouldn't believe how hard it is to write in a blind person's POV and not over use words like hand and touch. I made the conscience decision to have him blind when he was in an accident in the third Halsey book.

An older relative of my husband's spent several summers with us before she passed on. She was blind, angry about losing her sight, yet she was intelligent and knew how to use her other senses to make up for her loss. I enjoyed learning about her, how she felt about losing her sight, and her thoughts on life in general. I used what I'd gleaned from her visits to hopefully structure realism in my blind character. While she lost her sight gradually, my hero lost his in an explosion. He could see the man throwing the dynamite one minute and was in complete darkness the next.

I also researched the blind school which was operational at the time of my book. I called ahead and asked if I could look at their old records to get a feel for how the school was run, who and how many employees they had, and a feel for the students who attended. Reading through the old records was enlightening and fun. It was a state run school and people didn't have to pay to send their family members there. But they were tested. Some comments on the documents were: "He's feeble of mind but should be trainable." "She isn't trainable." It makes you wonder what they put them through and what they considered "feeble fo mind and untrainable". Was it attitude, low I.Q. to lost in their blindness to learn?

A superintendent ran the school with several instructors of classes to teach them a trade, like broom making, crocheting, caning on chairs, and they were taught singing everyday to boost their morale. They also learned to read ?? and use a type writer like machine that punched ??.
In the real world the doctor wasn't in the school but visited regularly and was paid by the state to do so. I changed it up a little and have my heroine's father contribute to the school in order to get her the job of school doctor.

Blurb for Doctor in Petticoats
After a life-altering accident and a failed relationship, Dr. Rachel Tarkiel gave up on love and settled for a life healing others as the physician at a School for the Blind. She's happy in her vocation--until handsome Clay Halsey shows up and inspires her to want more.

Blinded by a person he considered a friend, Clay curses his circumstances and his limitations. Intriguing Dr. Tarkiel shows him no pity, though. To her, he's as much a man as he ever was.

Can these two wounded souls conquer outside obstacles, as well as their own internal fears, and find love?

Her head rested on his chest, one arm across his middle. He grasped her leg pushing down on his injured one and draped it over his thighs. He breathed in the citrus scent of her hair and waited for the throbbing in his leg to abate. The weight of her limbs comforted him in a way he hadn’t experienced since childhood. Her warm curves pressed against him, fitting to his body perfectly.
Clay brushed a hand over her silky hair. Dull brown, she’d said. It was too downy and sweet smelling to be a dull brown. He traced her small ear hidden under soft, short curls. His fingers followed her velvety skin up along her hairline, down the middle of her forehead, so smooth and warm, over a small bump of a nose and pouty, supple lips. He traced the pointed edges at each side. What would it feel like to taste them? A puff of warm air misted his fingers, and she mumbled.
Clay continued his exploration, moving down her chin and the side of her face. The pads of his fingers ran over a ridge. He held his breath and traced the ridge from just above her jaw all the way to her temple. The narrow pucker of skin lay two finger widths from her hairline and ran the length of her face. A scar? How had it happened? And when?
This was why she pulled back from his touch and gave such a disparaging view of herself. Had someone left this scar on her? If so, he’d find that person and make him pay. His hands fisted. He flexed his aching knuckles and squelched his rage. It wouldn’t do to show how her disfigurement riled him. His limbs gradually relaxed, and he pondered how to help her overcome her poor view of herself. How did he bring up the topic of her scar without upsetting her?
Clay wrapped his arms around Rachel’s middle and clasped his hands, holding her from rolling off the bed. Her warm breath puffed across his chest. His heart expanded at the latest knowledge about the woman. He was falling for Rachel’s caring nature, her witty conversation, and her touch that heated his body like no other. He’d give up on ever getting his sight back if he could end each day with her wrapped in his arms.

Blog Tour Contest

This is day nine and blog twelve of my fifteen blog/twelve day tour. Leave a comment and follow me to all the blogs on my tour and you could win an autographed copy of my June release, Doctor in Petticoats, a B&N gift card, and a summer tote filled with goodies. To find out all the places I'll be go to my blog- to find the list.



Ann_Campbell said...

I really like the use of blindness in a hero or heroine. True it can be hard to write. I have a WIP with a blind heroine. *sigh* maybe one day I will get it finished :)

Paty Jager said...

Ann, If I hadn't had an elderly relative to use as a point of reference it would have been much harder to write.

Ann_Campbell said...

Paty, Locally we have a state school for the blind. One of the women who works the phones has been kind enough to speak with me several times. She has been wonderfully helpfull. I have put this WIP on the back burner. It was the first story I ever started and then decided that to really be able to do the story justice I needed to become a better writter. So that is what I have been doing for the past 2 years :)

Paty Jager said...

Ann, I agree, that are some stories you want to better your writing skills to tackle. This was one. I wish you success with your story.

flchen1 said...

Wow, how neat that you were able to research so thoroughly, Paty! Blindness isn't something I have any firsthand experience with, so reading is one way I've gotten better educated about it!

Rosemary Indra said...

Hi. Your book and the research you did sounds very interesting. I can't wait to read it.

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Paty! I'm impressed that you are still blogging strong! This book sounds like another winning story!

Paty Jager said...

flchen1, thanks for stopping by.

Hi Rosemary! Thanks!

Thanks, Genene. Yes, I'm going until Monday.

Alice Trego said...

Yet another great excerpt, Paty!!

Thanks for sharing about your relative's blindness. I know that more often than not, as a writer, I observe the world around me more closely than anyone would think in order to give my characters dimension. Amazing that you had an opportunity to observe your relative during her difficult time with blindness, and use facets of it as research so you could incorporate into your story.


Arletta Dawdy said...

This new scene sizzles! You get inside Clay's head beautifully and show us his layered feelings very nicely.
Writing about the deaf or blind takes a lot of sensitivity and nothing brings that about better than direct experience with someone with the condition.

She said...

You do a lot of research for your stories. It's good that the information is still available. It gives such an authentic feel to the story. I like that we're getting Clay's thoughts about Rachel.

Paty Jager said...

Alice, I think all writers view the world ans their TV on the world.

Thanks, Arletta.

Thanks, She.

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Paty. I'm in awe of the all the research you put into this book to write a compelling blind hero. It's risky, but we all love wounded heroes.

I've enjoyed your excerpts and your blog tour. Good luck with sales.



We have a disease that run in my mother side of the family that causes men only to be blind. So 2 of my uncles and 2 cousins are blind. I'm so proud of how they all adjusted.


Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Keena.

Loretta, I think it takes a strong person to overcome any handicap and make others only see them as a person.

Anonymous said...

Very good journey and experience!