Please join me in welcoming author CF White to my blog. She’s here today sharing information with us about her latest release, Won’t Feel a Thing, and telling us a bit about her writing process.
It takes more than a doctor to mend a broken heart.
Ollie Warne is fresh out of nursing school and working his dream job as a pediatric cardiology nurse at St Cross Children’s Hospital, London. He wants to start the new year free of personal heartache after his track record of falling for the wrong man–his New Year’s resolution is to live a life of carefree liaisons from now on.
He immediately meets Jacob, father of one of Ollie’s patients and a man harboring more guilt and past demons than even Ollie, which is saying something…
Their growing attraction makes it hard for Ollie to keep his distance, but he has to. Not only do the ethics of his profession demand it, but Ollie is entangled with another man–a predatory doctor who has a huge personal and professional stake in Ollie’s life.
Ollie risks more than his job by getting involved with a patient’s father–and much more than just the success of his New Year’s resolution, something that was supposed to ensure that, this time, he won’t feel a thing.
“You want my opinion?”
“My honest opinion?”
“Yes,” Ollie repeated. “Please.”
“Brutal honest opinion?”
“Even if you don’t like it?”
“Even if I never want to talk to you again.” Ollie took a sharp slurp through the straw of his smoothie and winced, his glasses tipping to the end of his nose. “Until tonight, anyway.”
“Then leave well alone.”
Ollie sighed. He sucked up another mouthful of his daily fruit and veg intake, flicked back his blond hair that had lost its vigor after a twelve-hour night shift, and glanced away from Taya’s wide brown oval eyes. The eyes that signified she meant every damn word. Bitch.
Taya freed her dark, waist-length hair from its curled bun and stroked it over one shoulder. She wrapped the band around her slender, dark-skinned wrist, then sipped her dainty cup of pink hot chocolate. The blue edges of her lips, caused by the freezing weather, were subsiding back to their usual reddish tinge with each guzzle of the pink cream and rainbow of chocolate candies scattered over her ridiculous, sickly concoction.
She hadn’t even an offered a spoonful to him. Twelve hours straight on night shift clearly meant she needed the sugar all to herself.
“He’s not worth your time, your worry, or your respect.” She clanged the cup down onto the glass surface of the table, pulled her winter trench coat over the scrubs she hadn’t bothered to change out of, and reached for her packet of menthol slims.
“Neither are they.” Ollie pointed to the cigarettes.
Taya glared across the table. She unhooked the top of the packet, took one of the white sticks between her teeth, and lit it with her pink lighter. Blowing the smoke into the freezing cold air, she waved her hand.
“We all have our vices, Oliver.”
Ollie stuck his middle finger up. He slapped it back down and shoved it into his jacket pocket. It was freezing, and Taya had to bloody sit outside the corner coffee shop in order to smoke her way out of the trying night shift. She was right. Everyone needed their vices, especially with what he and Taya did for a living. He sighed.
“I think he needs patience.”
“He’s got plenty of those.” Taya pointed her two fingers clutching the death stick at Ollie.
“Har fricking har. Patience with a c.”
“He’s a c all right.” Taya took another drag. At Ollie’s glare, she sighed and rested her elbow on the table top. “What? He is.”
“I think you may be the only female in the entire hospital who doesn’t like him.”
Ollie slurped the dregs of his raspberry-ripple smoothie and shivered. He should have gone for a hot drink, but it was hard enough to sleep during the day as it was. Caffeine would only make it infinitely more difficult.
“That’s because I know him,” Taya replied.
“Urgh. Not you too?”
“Ew.” Taya grimaced around her cigarette. “No, thank you.”
Ollie leaned back in the chair. He waved a hand to waft away the smoke drifting into his face. To give her some credit, Taya was trying to blow it out of the side of her mouth to avoid him, but the icy-cold January breeze from the earlier sleet downpour blew it straight back. Ollie zipped up his puffer jacket, folded his arms, and jiggled on the cold metal chair.
“You nearly done?” He nodded to the half-full cup of violently pink chocolate. Taya blew another puff of smoke into the air, stubbed out the remains of her cigarette, and downed the rest of her drink, leaving a foam mustache on her top lip. She licked it away. “Yeah. Home to bed, miss the snowfall, back at eight. You?”
They scraped back their chairs, and Ollie tucked a five-pound note under the ashtray for the servers. Anyone willing to come outside and serve drinks in this weather should most definitely get tips, even if his measly nurse’s wages were probably far less than those of the coffee baristas working this part of London.
“I should go see my dad,” he replied.
Taya linked her arm in with his, curling her slender fingers around his quilted sleeve. Checking both ways along the crossroads lined by independent boutiques, high- class restaurants, unconventional cafes, and health-food shops, she steered him across, narrowly missing a black cab speeding over the miniroundabout. The glass-enclosed bus stop’s bench overflowed with waiting passengers, so he stood, waiting, jiggling on his freezing toes within his inappropriate-for-the-weather slip-on loafers, and checked the time on the electric board for when the next bus was due.
“How’s he doing?” Taya asked.
“Good days and bad days.” Ollie sighed. “Keeps calling me Tilly.”
Taya tried to hold in the chuckle but failed miserably. Ollie didn’t mind so much. A good sense of humor was always best in these situations, not to mention their line of work. He pulled Taya in closer. It was fricking freezing, and snowflakes fell from the overcast sky. How would he get back to work later that night? London came to a standstill if even one flake hit any mode of public transport. Him living in the other end of the city—the cheap end—would make it all the more difficult to travel across town.
On occasions, where there wasn’t a downfall, he would have cycled in. But that was out of the question with the ice on the roads. And the fact he hadn’t woken up in his own bed last night. Ollie shuddered at the memory.
“Right.” Ollie bounced to keep warm while awaiting the number 252. “It’s January. So that means New Year’s resolutions. What’s yours?”
“Good luck.” Ollie meant it.
Taya stuck out her tongue.
“Well, we both know mine—”
“Which you broke last night.” Taya was a bitch like that.
“I don’t believe New Year’s resolutions should start until the second week of January.” Ollie rubbed his hands together, digging Taya’s arm into his side, and wondered why he hadn’t thought to bring gloves. Ah, yes, he hadn’t had any where he’d been before his shift started. He wasn’t allowed to leave any trace of his existence there.
“Riiight, ” Taya said. “So that means from today, you’ll be steering clear of arsehole men?” “Sadly, no. Unfortunately, I will no doubt encounter many of them in my time without realizing until it’s too late.”
“Amen.” Taya saluted.
Ollie wasn’t sure what the salute was about. But he wasn’t particularly religious, so maybe that was how it was done in church these days? Or temples, considering Taya’s family were Hindu. “So what is your resolution, then?”
“No baggage,” Ollie replied.
“Yep,” Ollie confirmed.
☆ 🎤 Author Interview ☆
Hello! Welcome to my blog. Please tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
Hi, nice to meet you 😃 A little about myself is that I’m a mother to two boys, a part time charity worker, a volunteer regional rep for the Williams Syndrome Foundation and a bit of a writer. My main writing goal was to get published, which I miraculously achieved last year when Pride Publishing took on my first three-book series. So now my writing goal is to keep going, which is actually a lot harder than it sounds. But I’ve got this new book out and another three planned this year, so I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon 😉
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Thank you very much. Won’t Feel a Thing is the first book in a new series of mine. It’s a standalone book, no cliffhangers (I’ve learned my lesson) and each new book in the series will follow new characters.
This one focuses on Ollie, a pediatric cardiology nurse at St. Cross Children’s Hospital in London. The hospital is fictional although based on a very famous hospital in London (I’m sure with a bit of Google, you’d all figure it out). Ollie is working the night shift, caring for patients who have undergone heart surgery. He’s got a bit of a complicated life and decides to try and start the New Year fresh by avoiding heart ache. His New Year’s resolution is to not feel a thing. Of course, when do resolutions ever go smoothly? And this is exactly the case for Ollie when he meets the father of one of his patients, Jacob. Instant attraction leads to complications, especially when Ollie is still entangled with another man who has a huge stake in his life, not to mention his career.
My favourite character in this one has to be Ollie. Although written third person, it is all Ollie’s POV. So we are stuck in his head through it all and it’s lucky he’s a fun and upbeat character to be stuck with. He’s just made some bad choices along the way and been sucked in too many times because of his big heart. He loves and cares wholeheartedly, as nurses do.
However, I have a soft spot for the doctor… he’s a massive grey character in the book and he’s one of those love to hate characters 😃
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
Complete pantser. I don’t plan anything. I can’t plan. I’ve found when I do, the creativity is stifled. So, I just let my fingertips do the writing and see where it goes. Usually I know what’s going to happen at the end, or perhaps one chapter along from the one I’m writing, but that’s pretty much it.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
Luckily I’ve never really had a deadline with regards to the writing – editing yes. I think they’d block me. I’d probably do what I did when at university and wait until the night before, curse a lot, then whack something down and hand it in with apologies it might not be up to standard.
Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
I work when I can. I don’t get a huge amount of time between family life and working plus my volunteer charity role. Much of the time I spend writing is late into the evenings when I really should be sleeping. I’d love the ability to plan writing time and stick to it, but I can’t ever see that happening.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
I guess the most difficult part was ensuring the hospital parts were accurate. I’ve spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals, having had to stay there multiple times when my son has undergone surgery. It’s why I wanted to write a story based in a children’s hospital. Kinda felt like a second home for a while. But I’m not a medical professional, so I wanted to ensure I had things correct. I did my research as much as possible, though.
How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?
Usually the characters pop into my head, and after that I come up with a plot that can bring them together or tear them apart. That’s pretty much it lol.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me. If I’ve gone too long without writing, I get quite down. Just getting a chapter a week done makes me happy. Sometimes, when editing is taking over, I really miss being able to write new words.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’d have to say getting a not so great review always tends to stifle me. I try to avoid reading reviews as much as possible, but in this social media obsessed age it’s impossible to completely avoid them. So if I stumble upon a less than favourable review, that can sometimes be quite cutting, I then struggle to get back on the horse as it were. I’m slowly learning that I can’t please everyone and to just write what I like and hope others enjoy it too. But not everyone will.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To just write. I stopped writing when life took over and thought I didn’t have the time. I thought because of work, my family and all the other things I had going on in my life that I wouldn’t be able to find the time to write a book. But, I now know, there is always time to write. It’s about fitting it into your day when you can. Making excuses about not having time to write will always mean you never will.
What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1), my debut published last year. It didn’t get the reaction I had hoped for, or expected. I’ve learned so much in the year since publishing. However, I still think it is underappreciated in the wider community of readers. But I would, I think it’s awesome!
What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
To not make them think or act like a woman! I actually hate writing women, it’s kinda why I like writing m/m. I get to write about two men. 😃
What did you edit out of this book?
All the British slang lingo. But other than that most of it stayed how it was on first submission.
How do you select the names of your characters?
They pop into my head. I’ve had to change some after writing. Jacob in Won’t Feel a Thing for example had to have a change of surname as my editor discovered there was a notorious criminal with the same name. Lesson learned, always Google your characters full name.
What were your goals for this book? Did you achieve them?
My goal was to get it published. And I have. So yes 😃
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
My books, mainly. And how many appointments I have missed or forgotten about. That’s in between singing to 90s indie rock haha!
What were you like in high school?
Shy. Painfully shy. I avoided social occasions, but yet I had a huge desire to be in with the crowd and act on stage. Funny how all of those things are still true of me twenty five years later.
Brought up in the relatively small town in Hertfordshire, I managed to do what most other residents of the town try and fail. Leave.
Going off to study at a West London University, I realised there was a whole city out there just waiting to be discovered, so much like Dick Whittington before, I never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold; slowly coming to the realisation that it is mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of stare at them endlessly whilst holding a polystyrene foam cup of watered down coffee.
Eventually I moved from West to East along that vast District Line, and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles, and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job, creating a life, a home, a family.
Having worked in Higher Education for the most proportion of my adult life, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper, having written stories as a child but never having the confidence to show them to the world. Now embarking on this writing malarkey, I cannot stop. So strap in, it’s a bumpy ride from here on in.