Thanks, KJ and the rest of the Banditas for inviting me back!
Have you ever come face to face with evil? I have.
I'm CJ Lyons and I practiced pediatric emergency medicine and community pediatrics for seventeen years. During that time, I faced rapists, child abusers, gang-bangers who would kill over a pair of shoes, sociopaths, psychotics, narcissists, and even one killer our prosecutor classified as a serial killer.
You know the scary thing about evil? It looks just like you and me.
When I left medicine to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming an author, I knew that I wanted to explore the various faces of evil. Because I've faced it in real-life, I knew how different it was from most of the "bad-guys" portrayed in fiction.
Evil doesn't spend its days plotting dastardly deeds of cunning or intricate, diabolical plots involving red herrings and webs of intrigue.
Rather, the evil I've seen is driven by one simple desire: they know what they want, they want it now, and they don't care what they have to do to get it.
The boy-friend baby-sitting while mom's at work who brutally beat and raped a three year old because she wouldn't go to bed when he told her the first time. He's currently on death row.
The woman who shook her baby so hard the baby hemorrhaged into his brain….because the baby wouldn't stop crying during her favorite TV show.
The gangbanger who shot a kid because he said "hi" to the wrong girl on the wrong street corner while wearing the wrong color of hat.
These are just a few of the faces of evil I've seen.
Is it any wonder that in my medical suspense novels I focus on what makes evil so compelling to so many readers: the fact that it hides among us, so very hard to see, hiding in plain sight.
In Gavin deBecker's book the Gift of Fear, he speaks about how easily evil walks among us. And that women are especially vulnerable because we've been trained to ignore our "sixth sense" that alerts us to danger and instead follow societies norms of politeness.
Like offering to help a strange man with his arm in cast…..just like Ted Bundy.
We all have something in common with evil. No matter who we are, we are all driven by the same universal needs and wants: love, security, recognition.
In real life, there was frustratingly little I could do when faced with evil. I could care for the victims, help the police and prosecutors to the best of my ability, but it always felt as if there should be a way to stop the senseless deaths and violence.
As rewarding as my medical career has been, I'm finding that my new career as an author has its own rewards. Especially when it gives me the chance to not only put a face to evil but to give its victims the justice they deserve.
That's why writing my latest in the Angels of Mercy series, URGENT CARE, has been so fulfilling. Not only does Nora, the ER charge nurse, come face to face with her greatest fear—a fear every woman can understand and share—but she finds the courage to defeat both her fear and the man behind it.
How? By making a stand and refusing to allow it to control her life.
I think this is the best way to fight evil--bring it into the light where everyone can see it for what it truly is.
So you tell me—have you ever come face to face with evil? I'll bet you have.
The boyfriend who came close to stalking you, the sociopath next door who lies about everything—for no reason than the sheer joy of getting away with it, the school kid setting fires and torturing animals…..they're all out there, closer than you think.
Thanks for reading!
PS: In honor of URGENT CARE's upcoming release (it hits the stores on Tuesday!), I'm hosting a contest. One lucky winner will have their query package critiqued by my agent, Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency.
Check here for more details: http://cjlyons.net/2009/10/08/cjs-query-contest/
Feel free to spread the word to all your writer friends!
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (