Friday, November 26, 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 Braille and use a type writer like machine that punched dots on paper for them to read.

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.

Paty Jager


  1. Nice excerpt, Paty. It must have been difficult to write a blind hero. My dad was blind the last 15 years of his life, so I empathize with anyone who loses his sight.

  2. I had a blind uncle, and when I was about eight, he taught me to use the little punch machine to write my name and a short sentence. He used a regular typewriter for letters, and did pretty dang well--few typing errors.I wrote how he fell in love with a blind woman when both were at a boarding school getting a dog, sent it to a magazine, and got $500 for it! Title: Uncle Brother Falls in Love. Celia

  3. What an interesting hero you've created. I love that you were able to do such detailed research. I don't believe our readers realize sometimes the amount of research we put into our stories. Impressive, Paty!

  4. Thanks Caroline. I always enjoy a challenge when I write a story and making the hero blind was a good challenge.

    Celia, I had fun checking out those punch machines and other items they used int he blind school. Congrats on the story about your uncle.

    Marin, It is interesting when you talk to someone and mention the research you do for a book. They don't think about that. They want a good read and take the facts and such for granted. Thanks!

  5. Paty,
    I'm intrigued by your characters. What an exciting trip for research at the school for the blind. Adequate research really helps in writing a story, and this story sounds like a great one.


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