Writing a novel is a mixture of both gruelling work and fun. There are so many things to be considered - the characters (Are they realistic enough?), the plot (Is there a plot? Does it make sense? Is the novel too plot-driven?), as well as the little details that add authenticity to a piece of writing, especially if it is set in a particular era. It requires copious hours of research, reading books, checking sites on the Internet, rummaging through photographic material, even visiting places a novel is set in. Putting in that extra effort makes the difference, I believe.

For example, these last few days, I have been researching all sorts of fascinting things, like the Four Humours which Hippocrates came up with, (although he wasn't the only one), the symptoms of liver cancer, the effects of laudanum and its dosages, bloodletting, either with leeches or a lancet, dry-cupping, wet-cupping, phrenology...and the list goes on! And I've been truly surprised by how exciting all this research is. I had no idea that leeches can survive up to one year without being fed! That made my mind do loops! Or seeing some of those lancets they used for bloodletting, or the fleam and scarificator...scary stuff, but all terribly thrilling!

My previous novels haven't taken me down the medical path. For them, I had to research corsets and the history of Turkish baths, enuchs, palaces, particular cuisines, the language of flowers, sultans of the Ottoman Empire, rulette rules, tobacco factories, the Heart Sutra, animal sacrifies and Buddhist monasteries, to mention a few....all of it very very exciting. But, never anything medical. I always thought I wasn't cut out for medicine, but this present research is so much fun I'm now beginning to wonder! Ha!

And this makes me think even further...what other gems of knowledge are waiting to be discovered? What am I still to learn?

For now, I'll stick with what I'm doing, namely, training to be a doctor. But, I can't wait to find out what else I'll train to become in the future. As long as I keep my curiosity alive, the training will never end!

Being a writer is the best job in the world! It really is! How grateful I am that it called to me and I followed its call!

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Although this photo is of nothing medical, it is of a view from Ay Yorgis monastery on the island of Pringipos, now known as 

Büyükada. 

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