Day 4: Thriller; Sandra Block

Meet Sandra Block.


Sandra A. Block graduated from college at Harvard, then returned to her native land of Buffalo, New York for medical training and never left. She is a practicing neurologist and proud Sabres fan, and lives at home with her husband, two children, and impetuous yellow lab Delilah. She has been published in both medical and poetry journals. Little Black Lies is her debut, and The Girl Without a Name in the next novel in the series.  The Secret Room comes out in April 2017!

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Guest Post – Kissing Your MC Good-Bye

I know Zoe Goldman, right down to her birth marks.

I should after all, because I created her. But the truth is, she created me too.

When I decided to finally “write the damn book,” for real this time, Zoe joined me for the journey. From my first tentative keyboard taps, she spoke to me, talking me through it. She told me her story, with all of her ADHD asides, her dark humor, and sometimes painful honesty..

Let me tell you about Zoe.

People have pointed out similarities between us. And it’s true, to some extent. She is a Jewish doctor, so am I. She went to Yale. I went to Harvard. She’s a psychiatrist, I’m a neurologist. We’re both relatively brainy with all of the awkwardness that entails. But that’s where the similarities end. While she’s over six feet, I am five foot two. She’s adopted, from a troubled past, and I was raised in a stable, loving home. She has ADHD, and I do not.

Zoe Goldman is flawed, as we all are. A friend/blogger once wrote “sometimes, you just want to shake her.” I completely comprehend. She often won’t listen to me, and sometimes I want to shake her too.

She is brilliant, but does stupid things. She leaps to conclusions and makes impetuous decisions. She says things she really should “keep in her head.” Is it her ADHD, or just her? I don’t know. But, her flaws can also be her strengths. She uncovers connections that no one else can see. She tries to fix the cracks in our world. But, as Leonard Cohen points out, sometimes, “that’s how the light gets in.” Zoe sees the ugliness, as well as the beauty in the cracks, in the fault lines of the human condition, and the broken places in our brains, where we are not always stronger.

Zoe and I are not the same, yet her voice is loud, even overpowering at times. Sometimes I can’t tell where she ends, and I begin. In the midst of the writing, I was taking a walk one time, and a thought popped into my brain. The weirdness of stopped me in my tracks. “Was that me?” I asked myself. “Or was that Zoe?”

Sometimes, I wasn’t sure who was writing whom. But maybe, we were writing each other. After all, Zoe introduced me to an agent. She wheeled and dealed (along with said agent) me to my first book deal. She nabbed me an NYT review. She stalked the shelves at Target. She had a convo with Lisa Scottoline. She weaseled herself into being chosen as a best first novel finalist for International Thriller Writers.

And what started as a stand-alone, somehow turned into an accidental trilogy.

In Little Black Lies, Zoe finds out the truth about her past. She saves a young, catatonic girl in The Girl Without a Name, and finally, in The Secret Room, she has to save herself.

But, after the last book of the series, The Secret Room, comes out in April, it will be time for her to pipe down just a bit. At last, she has been given a chance to live her life, with no one looking over her shoulder, recording her every move, every nuance of gesture and tone of voice. She can grow her relationships with her brother Scotty, her patient Sofia, and of course, her ever-loving Mike. She can hone her craft as a forensic psychiatrist, saving patients, while sadly losing some along the way.

The unintended trilogy has ended, and it is time to let her go, to wish her the best in the unwritten fictional world out there, where she can keep solving the heinous crimes of broken people. Good bye is too good a word…so I’ll just say fare thee well.

I will miss you, Zoe Goldman.

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