I’m pleased to have Lillian Duncan guest blogging here at Redwood’s Medical Edge today. She’s discussing her research into diabetes and how she managed this character’s disease in her novel Pursued.
According to statistics, diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans of all ages which is 8.3% of the U.S. population. It only makes sense that sooner or later one of my character’s was going to end up with the disease.
The character’s name is Reggie Meyers and you can find her in my new book, Pursued. In spite of Reggie being chased by an unknown killer, she manages to keep her sugar level on an even keel while her blood pressure spikes through murder attempt after murder attempt. The woman is seriously committed to eating right and taking care of herself!
In real life, diabetes is not a laughing matter, and I certainly don’t treat it lightly in my book or in my life. I don’t have diabetes; however, my father died from complications of it along with my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family.
I chose to give my heroine diabetes to bring more awareness of the disease to my readers. I also wanted to show that with a combination of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices, a person can live a full and healthy life in spite of having it.
It was easy in my book to keep Reggie making the right food choices and following good medical advice. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder in real life. People struggle every day with making the right lifestyle choices or suffering from the consequences of not making the right choices.
As I wrote Pursed, I had to walk a fine line between keeping it in the readers’ minds that Reggie was diabetic without belaboring the point. If I wrote about it too much, it would bore the reader. If I didn’t include enough details—especially physical details— it wouldn’t feel real.
An example of this is during a scene where all the characters are drinking a soda. Without mentioning her diabetes, Reggie’s friend simply hands her a sugar-free soft drink. No big deal. Another time, Reggie is given two choices for breakfast—sweet rolls or multi-grain cereal. She is sorely tempted but in the end she made the right choice.
Research was an important component when I decided Reggie had Type 1 Diabetes. In spite of family members having the disease, I wanted to make sure I had the right information, which isn’t always easy in spite of the glut of information on the Internet. I only included a small amount of what I learned, but it was there in the back of my mind as I wrote each scene.
Reggie’s diabetes definitely added to the challenge of writing Pursued, but I’m glad I included it. I wanted to show a character who had a serious health issue, but didn’t use it as an excuse to not accomplish her goals and dreams. In Pursued, Reggie makes the choice to be as healthy as she can be in spite of being a diabetic.
Everyone has challenges in this life. The question becomes are we going to let the challenges stop us from being the best we can be? And the answer comes in the form of the choices we make every day.
Lillian lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Whether as a speech-language pathologist, an educator, or as a writer, she believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word. She also enjoys a variety of activities, including traveling, camping, and bowling. She is active in her church where she serves as a sign language interpreter and teaches sign language classes. Lillian believes books can be entertaining without being trashy. She writes the types of books she loves to read, suspense with a touch of romance. Along with writing novels, she writes devotions for ChristianDevotions.us. Previous novels include Shattered and In a Corner of Her Heart. To learn more about Lillian and her books visit: www.lillianduncan.net