In D.P. Lyle’s new release, MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION the reader will discover answers to questions such as: How do hallucinogenic drugs affect a blind person? If snake venom is injected into fruit, would that cause death? How would you perform CPR in a helicopter? What happens when someone swallows razor blades? How long does it take blood to dry? Can DNA be obtained from a half-eaten bagel?
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with D. P. Lyle for TheBigThrill:
I’m one of your blog followers and your knowledge in the medical and forensic fields have not only helped me with my suspense novel, but I’m sure it has helped countless mystery, suspense and thriller writers.
I’m glad you like my blog and I hope you find it useful. I also hope that you are correct and other crime writers also find it useful. That’s its purpose. I try to gear most of the posts toward crime writers by helping with their knowledge base, writing craft, and stimulating story ideas. I will often have guest bloggers who offer insights into writing and editing or I will post about some interesting medical or forensic issue or story. Here the hope is that these posts will spark story ideas. Also some of the posts are questions I have received from and answered for writers.
I definitely find your blog and books useful. They’ve also sparked story ideas and helped with my work in progress, giving me great insight into medical and forensic science. I’ve heard from other writers that this has helped them as well.
How did you make the leap from Medical Doctor to author and story consultant?
It really wasn’t that big of a leap. I grew up in the South where storytelling is part of the culture and I could always spin a yarn. Of course, telling a story and writing a story or two entirely different animals. I always wanted to write so many years ago I took classes at the University of California, Irvine and then joined a couple writing groups and just began writing. The consulting came from going to various writers’ conferences and from joining groups such as MWA and ITW. Once writers discovered I was a physician, they began asking me questions about injuries, poisons, illnesses, and just about anything else medical or forensic you could think of. That’s more or less how it began and it grew rapidly from there. Currently I have over 6000 questions from writers on my computer.
6,000 questions? What a wonderful book that would make, if you published all the questions and answers. As a suspense/thriller writer, I hope you do that some day.
I understand you’ve been hired to write the Royal Pains novels based on the TV series, how did this come about and is it harder to write a novel based on a television show, as opposed to starting with your own plot and characters?
The Royal Pains connection came through my friend Lee Goldberg who writes the DIAGNOSIS MURDER and MONK books. He was approached to write the Royal Pains series but felt he might not be right for that project, so he suggested me. I then signed a two book deal with Penguin and NBC/Universal to write the media tie-in novels for the Royal Pains television series. The first, FIRST, DO NO HARM, came out last June and the second, SICK RICH, this January. Those are the only two I have done and I will not write anymore as I’m simply too busy. Doing these novels is a new style of writing for me and so I learned a great deal from doing it but it wasn’t without bumps in the road. When you are taking someone else’s characters, you must remain true to them and cannot take them too far afield. Also you have to remain true to the locale and the overall set up of the series. You would think that having these parameters set would make the writing easier since you don’t have to come up with characters and setting, but the opposite is true. You have to constantly rein in your imagination. You find yourself wanting to move in directions that are not consistent with the overall flavor of the television series and that just can’t be done. But overall it was an educational and worthwhile experience.
I know I speak for many that you certainly did the television series Royal Pains great justice with FIRST, DO NO HARM and SICK RICH.
In your newest book, MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION what do you hope a reader will get out of?
This is the third in my question-and-answer series–after MURDER AND MAYHEM and FORENSICS AND FICTION. As with the two previous ones, MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION is a collection of the best questions I have received from writers over the years. For writers, I think these books stimulate story ideas and plot lines because they see what other writers are thinking and often these dovetail well with the story that the writer is working on. For readers, I think these books are fun and educational and in addition offer a peek inside the mind of a writer. It offers them a look into how writers go about constructing their stories. Some of the questions are extremely clever and others are way out there but all are interesting.
You’re a consultant to the writers of the television shows; CSI: MIAMI, LAW & ORDER, MONK and HOUSE. What challenges do you find working with writers of these shows?
I only work with the writers of the shows and not the producers or directors or anyone else involved in the production. The screenwriters I’ve worked with are some of the most clever storytellers that I know. Writing for television and for the movies is much different than writing a novel. Plot is important in novels, of course, but in the screenwriting world story and plot are paramount and trump all else. The writers that I have worked with have been exceptionally adept at plotting. That said, the questions I get from screenwriters are similar to those that I get from novelist and most often revolve around some medical or forensic issue. These writers simply want to get the facts right and that’s what I try to help them do.
Thank you and congratulations on your new release and the wonderful, well deserved reviews MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION is garnering.
“D.P. Lyle is the best resource I know for a crime or mystery author. He’s authoritative, clear, and extremely generous with his time. MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION makes for fascinating–and terrifically morbid–reading.” ~ C.J. Box, New York Times Bestselling Author of FORCE OF NATURE.
“The must have reference book for crime writers or anyone interested in forensics. Not only indispensable but fascinating, creepy, gruesome and absorbing. Dr. D. P. Lyle has written another treasure.” ~International Bestseller, M.J. Rose
“I love MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION. It manages to be both completely educational and utterly fascinating.” ~Laura Caldwell, Author of LONG WAY HOME and A CLAIM OF INNOCENCE
D. P. Lyle, MD is the Macavity winning and Edgar nominated author of both fiction and non-fiction. He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of the TV shows LAW & ORDER, CSI: MIAMI, DIAGNOSIS MURDER, MONK, JUDGING AMY, COLD CASSE, HOUSE, MEDIUM, WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB, THE GLADES, and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.