Thursday, January 5, 2012

Those Three Words

This week we're thrilled to be hosting one of the original members of 7 Criminal Minds--CJ Lyons! Since the last time we had her here on the blog, she's hit the New York Times bestseller list and published scads and scads of novels. Before she became a bestseller (or a 7 criminal minder, even), CJ worked as a pediatric ER doctor, so she's lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at

Now, on to CJ!

The holiday season always leads to reflection. Did we accomplish what we wanted this past year? What do we want for the next?

One blogger I follow suggested finding three words to guide you for the New Year and choosing new ones each year to keep you aligned with your vision.

My three words for 2012 are: Inspire, Empower, Engage.

This exercise made me think: what inspires my writing?

When I was a kid, it was my own need to learn how to become a hero, someone strong enough to change the world for the better.

After my pediatric internship when one of my fellow interns was brutally murdered, writing became my way to understand my grief and control the chaos around me. That's when I wrote my first thriller, BORROWED TIME, and I dedicated it to Jeff's memory.

Much of my fiction since then has been inspired by my patients and their families. Ordinary people facing tragedy with courage and grace, proving that heroes are indeed born everyday.

I still search for order in the chaos--after practicing pediatric emergency medicine and pediatrics for seventeen years, that will never change. But now, after having sold hundreds of thousands of books and receiving fan letters from all over the world, I have another inspiration: my readers.

Discovering that I had the power to connect with people I'd never met, to inspire as well as entertain--that felt almost as good as saving lives in the ER!

I treasure each fan letter as much as the very first one. There have been people facing the pain of chronic illnesses who have been able to make it through the night because of my books. Fellow medical personnel, EMS, firefighters, and police officers have written, thanking me for the way I "tell it like it really is." And readers who simply needed an escape from their lives have found refuge in my words.

Honestly, no matter how much money or which bestseller lists I hit, I can't imagine any feeling as wonderful as the feeling I get when I hear from readers who have fallen in love with my books. It's an adrenalin rush that fuels my writing and inspires me everyday!

So I guess those three words, Inspire, Empower, Engage, have been with me all along. But now I can focus on taking them all to the next level in 2012.

Tell me, what three words define your vision for the New Year?

Thanks for reading!


Jane Bennett Munro said...

I have a hard time figuring what inspires me when I write. I find it changes nearly every day. Originally, my inspiration came from wanting to write a murder mystery from all the people who wronged me in my career. A small act of revenge :)!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks again for stopping by, CJ! I'm not sure what my three words are, but I have added that to the "To Do" list: find three words. :)

Probably a clear sign that I need to simplify!

CJ Lyons said...

LOL, Jane! I think we've all felt that way!

Thanks for stopping by,

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks for having me back, Becky! As for simplifying, having my three words has kept me focused so it really is worth the effort--makes the answer to every question simple: will it help me achieve my three words?

Happy 2012!

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks for coming back for a visit, CJ! Lovely to see you here, again. I love the idea of having three words as my New Year's resolution. So clear and clean. Mine this year were kind of muddy, I must admit.

CJ Lyons said...

Hey there, Meredith! Yes, I've found this a great way to maintain my focus all year round--and you all know how easily...oh, bright and shiny...distracted I am, lol!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

You inspired me, CJ!

My words are: Create (work). Connect (with people). Stretch (artistically).

Without the parentheticals, because I know that's cheating. :)

CJ Lyons said...

Love them, Becky!
Have a wonderful 2012 following your muse and your three words!