Andover High School graduate Laura Grimmer has written a novel loosely based on her experiences while caring for very ill burn patients.
Burnt is a fictional story “about a group of patients in a Burn ICU who embark on a grand adventure in a fantasy world,” said Grimmer.
Grimmer, a 2003 graduate of AHS, attended Brown Medical School in Rhode Island and is currently a general surgery resident at Rush University in Chicago.
It was while working in a Burn ICU that Grimmer’s story began to formulate.
“We were caring for very severely burned patients. I had some patients who had been in comas for weeks, and I began to secretly wish that they were having some grand adventure together somewhere,” she said.
“That is how I developed the idea for the book,” said Grimmer. “It was just my secret wish that my patients were falling in love and having adventures, instead of laying in bed in comas.”
Grimmer explained that the story alternates between their world and the real world.
The story “explores what it means to hope and to love in the most extreme circumstances. The doctors in the hospital work feverishly to save the patients, but the real battle is happening far beyond their medicine’s reach.”
Grimmer said she didn’t set out to write a book.
“I never thought I would write a book. I’ve always been more of a math and science person. But once I came up with the idea for my novel and my characters, I felt like I had to write the book,” she said.
“My idea of patients having a dream-like adventure while I was treating their comatose bodies stuck with me and haunted me. Soon, I felt like I owed it to my patients to write this book,” said Grimmer.
“When I was in the thick of writing the novel, I would spend all of my down time at work thinking about my characters, and the minute I got home, the story would just pour out of me,” she said.
She said it only took her about six months to write the book.
“This story seemed to be bursting out of me, and I could barely type fast enough to keep up,” Grimmer said.
Grimmer brushed on up her writing skills before writing her story.
“I took a few creative writing classes in Chicago, and those taught me how to structure my story and my ideas in a way that would create a compelling piece of literature,” she said.
Once her story was ready for publication, she spoke with a friend in the publishing business and weighed her options.
Page 2 of 2 - “Because my novel is a little shorter than the typical novel, and because it is my first book, finding a traditional publisher would be difficult,” Grimmer said. “I ended up publishing through CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon. I knew that most of my sale would come through Amazon and Kindle sales, so I felt comfortable using this as the platform to release my novel.”
She may not have had previous aspirations to write a book. But she now has the writing bug.
“I definitely plan on writing more books. I already have my next idea brewing,” Grimmer said.
“I think that being in medicine exposes me to an incredible number of interesting people who are in the middle of life’s hardest moments. I can’t always talk about what is going on with my patients, due to privacy concerns,” she said. “But if I can change their names, change their story, and add a few dragons to the plot line - then I get to call it fiction and share it with the world.”
“It’s very cathartic to share the hope and excitement, as well as the heartbreak, that comes from working in surgery.”