"Write what you know" is such a cliche' that just putting the words on paper is boring. But, it's true, true, true! "Why are you writing a murder mystery?" friends and acquaintances have asked. "Why don't you write about psychiatry?" The obvious implication; what do you know about murder mysteries? You're only a shrink.
Well, being a shrink is all about solving the human condition -- depression, anxiety, rage, lust, mayhem etc. It's also about loneliness. A psychiatrist has the wonderful opportunity to meet and talk in depth to so many interesting people, but the discussion is ALWAYS directed to understanding the patient. It's not a simple hanging out, like with your buddy or hairdresser.
It is a battle to the death. The two of us against the demons from the past, and how they effect the demons in the present. We have to win! It is essential!
I understand characters like Lee Child's, Jack Reacher, Lawrence Block's, Matthew Scudder, and Michael Connelly's, Harry Bosch. Not only do I understand them and love them, I am them! Well, not exactly, but it feels good saying it.
Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, is about what I really know and love. If you clone Jack Reacher and Clark Kent, you get Joe Belmont, a sweet, troubled medical student who will surprise you with how tough he can be. He has to be tough. It is essential! He must conquer the demons from his past and the demons from the present to stay alive and keep the woman that he loves safe and well.
Boy, I wonder why he sounds so familiar?
Being real and helping people be real is what a psychiatrist does.