Tracy served as an ICU nurse for a number of years and recently published a non-fiction book, Healing, Health, and Wholeness, where she shares true stories of miraculous healings she witnessed in the ICU. Once I began reading, I became absorbed in the incredible move of God in each of these situations. Not only has Tracy written these powerful testimonies of healing, but there are also authors who include important health information in their fiction novels, as you will see in Tracy’s comments below.
Thank you for sharing with us today. Here’s Tracy:
In thinking about my last year and a half spent making the rounds from one medical specialist to another, I realize my experience has all the earmarks of a good mystery novel—puzzling symptoms, baffled doctors, red herrings, and dead ends. My real-life story even includes some of the scariest words a doctor can utter: “We don’t know what’s wrong with you.” I’ve heard those words twice.
But it got me to thinking. Can we use our own health problems as fodder for our fiction?
Brandilyn Collins did. She built a riveting suspense novel around Lyme disease in On the Edge. While no nefarious villain deliberately infected Brandilyn, she suffered from crippling symptoms for many months and learned firsthand about the frustrating controversy in the medical community over chronic Lyme disease. In addition to writing a thrilling book, she drew the world’s attention to an issue close to her heart. As a result, Brandilyn has received thanks from readers who credit her book for saving their lives.
Christy Distler uses her son’s life-threatening food allergies in a Mennonite romance, The Heart Knows the Way Home. When one of her characters has a life-threatening reaction to mango, she not only brings awareness to severe food allergies but walks readers through administering an EpiPen. As a way to help those she writes about, Christy donates part of her book’s proceeds to the nonprofit Clinic for Special Children in Pennsylvania, whose many Amish and Mennonite patients often don’t have insurance.
Ann Brodeur has numerous relatives with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, and she developed gestational diabetes during all three of her pregnancies. So, it’s only natural that the heroine in her debut novel, Snowbound in Winterberry Falls, has insulin-dependent diabetes, which plays a part in the opening scene crisis. By including an all-too-common illness that requires constant supervision and treatment, Ann gives her fiction depth and realism.
Cozy mystery writer Sally Carpenter suffers from severe nearsightedness and light sensitivity, making it uncomfortable for her to go out in public. How much harder would it be to function as a sightless person in a seeing world? Sally takes the opportunity to incorporate a blind character in her book, The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper, to demonstrate how a visually impaired person can function in a productive manner. By doing so, she highlights the contributions people with disabilities make every day.
While we don’t want to bore readers with our aches and pains, we can successfully interweave health experiences with stellar fiction that adds an extra reason for readers to care about our characters. Doing so may also make a difference in a reader’s life.
My own medical issues still constitute a mystery, and I look forward to reading the ending. I don’t know that they will ever make a good story, but yours just might.
Tracy Crump dispenses hope in her 30-day devotional, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness (CrossLink Publishing, 2021). Her work has appeared in Guideposts books, Woman’s World, The Upper Room, Focus on the Family, and Ideals, and she has contributed 22 stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul®. She conducts writing workshops, freelance edits, proofreads for Farmers’ Almanac—and loves on four granddarlings. Connect with Tracy through https://www.TracyCrump.com/