Heidi Cullinan on Writing Medical Romances and her new novel “The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) (guest post and excerpt)


The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner Press
Published April 23rd 2019
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links: Goodreads • Publisher • Audbile • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • iTunes • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon (Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Heidi Cullinan here today talking about writing medical romances, and her latest novel, The Doctor’s Secret! Welcome, Heidi!



Writing Medical Romances

Thanks so much for having me today! I’m here to talk about my latest novel and first installment in the Copper Point: Medical series, The Doctor’s Secret, available now from Dreamspinner Press.

I’ve always wanted to write a medical romance series. My husband has been a clinical pharmacist for years, and I know simply from dinner table conversation that hospital workplaces are full of enough conflict and drama to fill a publishing house. But my husband also started out at a small community hospital, a critical access hospital in fact, which meant there were some quirky things from his experience I was dying to include, at least in spirit.

It’s an interesting thing to be married to a hospital pharmacist. The most notable is that every time I’ve had medical care—childbirth, gallbladder surgery, emergency care, hysterectomy—I’ve done so at my husband’s place of work, meaning he knew everyone and exactly how to navigate the system to ensure I had the best care. Whenever I’ve needed a specialist, I simply turned to him and asked who was the one he trusted the most. When our daughter was born at the aforementioned critical access hospital, I was one of four mothers delivering—meaning they were full up—and because Anna’s labor was so long, everyone was curious about “Dan’s baby” and her birth was announced over the PA. But that also meant they gossiped when Anna was off the chart for height and not on it for weight as a nine-month-old, and our doctor got a lot of nosey people asking if “that Cullinan baby is okay.”

My daughter has no fear of hospitals—it’s the place where she went until her teen years meeting her father for dinner when he worked evenings or where we had to go to drop off something he needed or give him a ride home. The hospital also takes Dan away for many holidays—sick people need care every day of the year—and which frequently asks him to work overnights.

The greatest problem with writing medical romances was getting the medical details right, and for that I had the best beta reader in the world. Especially in this book I needed to ask him so many questions I started to feel like he needed a byline. The drawback of a pharmacist husband is knowing I wouldn’t be allowed to fudge anything. Watching medical shows with him can be aggravating: “That drug is only available IV, where are they getting a pill.” “That’s something they would have picked up right away.” “Completely implausible.” You get used to it. But I didn’t want to hear that about my own work, which meant we had a lot of conversations about illnesses and how to make them severe enough to be dramatic but not so much that the scene would be impacted. Gruelling stuff!

I always knew the first book would be doctor-nurse. But I also knew I wanted to include a doctor not born in the United States, because even in remote areas of the country, many doctors are not white and are naturalized citizens, especially from Asia. In my husband’s first place of employment, a GP and one of the surgeons were both originally from mainland China.  In fact, the ER doctor the night my one-year-old daughter got scratched by a cat near her eye and on her forehead was Dr. Lin, and that was when I learned he’d previously been a plastic surgeon. She barely has a scar, thanks to him.

I made Hong-Wei Taiwanese, though, because I wanted someone local to interview, and a woman my husband works with is a first-generation Taiwanese-American. Tracy decidedly affected this book and the depiction of Hong-Wei in a huge way, and I will be forever grateful to her. I learned so much more from talking with her than I did from any book, website, or even interviews with people online. There’s just nothing like listening to someone’s story face-to-face.

I hope you enjoy The Doctor’s Secret and the rest of the Copper Point books! Enjoy your stay at St. Ann’s Medical Center. The doctors will be sure to treat you right.


The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

The Doctor’s Secret Excerpt :


The surgeon’s name rang in Simon’s head as he drove home after dropping Hong-Wei off at his condo. Wu Hong-Wei.All night Hong-Wei had spoken perfect English, but when he said his Taiwanese name, his accent came through, and Simon got a ridiculous thrill.

Which Simon reminded himself he shouldn’t have. Setting aside the fact that Dr. Wu—Hong-Wei—the new surgeon—was practically his boss, there was the new policy to bear in mind. Even so, Simon still floated as he parked the car and drifted up the path into the house. He shouldn’t think about the man that way, but for tonight at least, he would allow himself to dream.

Of course, he needed to be careful how he fantasized. Simon had two roommates, Owen Gagnon and Jared Kumpel, his friends from childhood who were also doctors at the hospital. They were also two of the biggest gossips in Copper Point.

Owen and Jared were home, Jared in the kitchen washing dishes, Owen sprawled in the overstuffed chair with one foot on the ottoman and one on the floor as he surfed his laptop. Owen glanced up over the top of his glasses as Simon came in.

“The prodigal returns.” Owen removed his glasses and shut his computer. “So, what’s the verdict on the new surgeon?”

Jared wiped his hands on a towel and waved Simon over. “Come get your dinner first. I held it in the oven for you.”

“Oh, sorry, I already ate.” Simon toed off his shoes and hung up his jacket, determined not to show any signs of embarrassment. If they saw weakness, they would have no mercy. “I took Dr. Wu somewhere because he was hungry.”

Owen rubbed his hands together. “Excellent. This means you got moredish on him. Come on. Spill. Is he an arrogant asshole? I mean, to a degree it’s a given. He’s a surgeon.”

Jared pulled Simon’s plate out of the oven and put the food into a storage container. “I’ve met decent surgeons.”

“Your definition of decent doesn’t count. Youare an arrogant asshole.” Owen gestured impatiently at Simon. “Out with it. What’s he like?”

Simon sat in the corner of the couch and drew his favorite afghan over his legs. How could he describe Hong-Wei without sounding ridiculous? “He’s a little reserved, though he warmed up after I talked to him for a bit.” Though he was slightly aloof in a way Simon hadn’t expected to be so tantalizing. “He didn’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. He wanted to go to a pub-style place.” Simon searched his brain for more information. “He has a sister. He just finished his residency.”

He told me his real name.

Jared glanced at Simon, glass and towel in his hand. “I still don’t know why someone would come to Copper Point from Baylor St. Luke’s. Either he’s terrible, or he’s crazy.”

“Not a chance he’s terrible.” Owen rested his elbow on the armrest and leaned on his hand. “Beckert has been running around bragging about his catch ever since the hire was official.”

Jared snorted. “He might have seen Bayloron the app and lost his common sense.”

Simon thought of Hong-Wei, of the cool, confident way he’d handled himself at the airport, how graceful his hands were when doing something as simple as navigating a fork. “I don’t think Dr. Wu is incompetent.”

“He’s crazy, then.” Jared turned back to the sink. “I guess I don’t care, as long as he gets his work done.”

“You haven’t told us much about what you thought of him, Simon.” Owen pushed his glasses higher and raised his eyebrows at Simon. “You’re being quite cagey, in fact.”

Simon deliberately didn’t meet Owen’s gaze. “I think he’s nice. I mean, obviously I don’t know him well. All I did was have dinner with him and drive him home. He was quiet in the car. He was on his phone for a while, and he slept a little.”

He’d seemed to flirt a few times, but Simon had probably imagined things. At any rate, he wasn’t sharing that.

About the Author

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.

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