Myrtle Beach resident Diane “D.R.” Markham knows plenty about psychiatric hospitals.
After all, she’s worked in them for years.
Therefore, it was only fitting that the longtime writer’s field of profession served as the backdrop of her debut fiction novel, “Involuntary Admissions,” which came out in January and is categorized in the thriller & suspense genre.
“The usual suggestion is write about what you know and that’s why I wrote a medical thriller,” said Markham, a registered nurse at Lighthouse Behavioral Hospital in Conway. “The story just kind of turned into what I enjoy reading, which is a mystery/thriller, that sort of thing. And I went from there.”
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The plot centers around a suicidal 15-year-old named Kendra Sibley, whose “frantic mother, Helen, admits her to a posh psychiatric hospital near Philadelphia,” according to the novel’s summary on Amazon.com. Instead of getting the help she needs, Kendra winds up in harm’s way. Helen seeks aid from her best friend, journalist/writer Madison Blythe, also Kendra’s godmother. Soon after, Kendra and Madison find their lives at risk as they are pitted against the controlling and corrupt Dr. Victor Aiken.
“They find themselves in the psychiatric hospital and from there dangerous things ensue and they have to get themselves out of that dangerous situation,” Markham said.
The novel, which is available at Amazon.com in both paperback and E-book forms, has gotten three positive reviews there so far.
“People describe it as gripping, a page-turner, they can’t put it down and that they enjoy the characters, too,” Markham said.
Completing the novel was a long time coming for Markham, a native of Canada. She said she’s always been interested in writing and does so every day, whether it be in journals, stories or poems. Yet, completing a novel was a much bigger project that took some time to come together.
“This first one, it actually took me years,” said Markham, who had a couple short stories published in the 1990s. “There were times where I would set it down and not work on it for a while and pick it back up.”
Now, though, “Involuntary Admissions” is a reality.
“It’s pretty exciting actually,” Markham said. “Something that’s been sort of an ongoing project for so many years, to see it as an actual book I can hold in my hand or have on my Kindle, it makes me really happy and excited.”
Markham said she’s already begun writing a second novel, which she figures will come together quicker now that she is more familiar with the flow it takes to complete one. Markham said the second is, naturally, another medical thriller.
“Working as a nurse and in psychiatry most often, that’s what gave me the background for the setting of the novel,” she said, noting that none of the characters nor plots are based on anything in real life.
Markham said she’s already got ideas for her third and fourth books, and she has plans to continue producing novels in the coming years.
“It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do and always really enjoyed, so I’m really excited that it’s come to fruition now,” she said.