Nurse Jackie Is My Inspiration

on Jun 12, 2014 by Rick R. Reed

I was watching the latest installment of the angst, drug- and comedy-fueled saga that is Showtime’s Nurse Jackie the other night and I thought to myself, “Why do I like this show so much?” I mean, other than the obvious—amazing performances not only by Edie Falco, but the whole ensemble; fresh, snappy writing; and direction that keeps the pacing breathless yet engaging—but what deeper things draw me to a television show so much that my uniform reaction when the credits come up is disappointment? Not because I wasn’t satisfied, but because I was so engrossed.

I came up with five reasons that I realized also were goals in my own storytelling. Whether I even come close to succeeding as well as the creative forces behind Nurse Jackie I wouldn’t dare hazard a guess, but I do think the things about the show that I admire most are also the qualities I aspire to most when writing romantic fiction.

  1. Flawed characters—I love that the characters on this show, every one of ‘em, is flawed in some way. I like people that are real…and real people all have flaws, even the best of them. I can’t sympathize or fall in love with someone who isn’t struggling with something. We’re all works in progress, and that, to me, is what makes a person and a character sympathetic. In my own books, you’ll find that all of my characters are not runway beautiful or perfectly tempered or even, sometimes, good or reasonable. But they’re all striving to be better people, some more successfully than others. Just like Nurse Jackie.
  2. Real problems—On Nurse Jackie, they don’t sugar coat the things people struggle with: addiction, family dynamics, friendship, finding love, keeping love alive. Those are the kind of struggles that I find compelling and the kind of issues I want to share with my readers, so they can come along on my characters’ often very bumpy roads to love and redemption.
  3. Real emotion—In Nurse Jackie, people don’t always act as you’d expect them to. They sing at funerals or let their libidos get out of hand on rooftops or stick their necks out and do the wrong thing for the right reason: to help a friend or loved one. I love that kind of complexity and that’s the kind of human behavior I want to portray.
  4. Laughter and tears—Every episode of this show is only about 20 minutes long, yet I rarely come away without having done some laughing and some crying. That’s for the reasons above and because I care so strongly about the characters. I want to give that kind of experience to my readers. I want to touch their hearts more than their intellects and hope I can do both. But if it’s a choice between one or the other, I’ll go for heart over mind every time.
  5. Life is temporary but love is forever—That’s something I think is a bedrock of the show. Families and relationships are really the driving force and the only things of real value in this brief hour we have on stage. It’s good to remember that, both for serious reasons and even more for silly ones.

So, that’s it. Hope you’ll check out my latest effort, Dinner at Home, to create flawed but loving people who make mistakes but ultimately find that true happiness lies in making others happy—whether it’s in the kitchen or the bedroom.

Or both.

Dinner at Home

It only takes a few days for Ollie D’Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off.

Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of.

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook… and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.

ISBN-13: 978-1-62798-836-0
Pages: 206
Cover Art: Reese Dante

Find It

Dreamspinner EbookDreamspinner PaperbackAmazonAll Romance

Find Me

WebsiteFacebookTwitterEmail

About Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Promotions

Rick R. Reed Dinner At Home Blog Tour

I was watching the latest installment of the angst, drug- and comedy-fueled saga that is Showtime’s Nurse Jackie the other night and I thought to myself, “Why do I like this show so much?” I mean, other than the obvious—amazing performances not only by Edie Falco, but the whole ensemble; fresh, snappy writing; and direction that keeps the pacing breathless yet engaging—but what deeper things draw me to a television show so much that my uniform reaction when the credits come up is disappointment? Not because I wasn’t satisfied, but because I was so engrossed.

I came up with five reasons that I realized also were goals in my own storytelling. Whether I even come close to succeeding as well as the creative forces behind Nurse Jackie I wouldn’t dare hazard a guess, but I do think the things about the show that I admire most are also the qualities I aspire to most when writing romantic fiction.

  1. Flawed characters—I love that the characters on this show, every one of ‘em, is flawed in some way. I like people that are real…and real people all have flaws, even the best of them. I can’t sympathize or fall in love with someone who isn’t struggling with something. We’re all works in progress, and that, to me, is what makes a person and a character sympathetic. In my own books, you’ll find that all of my characters are not runway beautiful or perfectly tempered or even, sometimes, good or reasonable. But they’re all striving to be better people, some more successfully than others. Just like Nurse Jackie.
  2. Real problems—On Nurse Jackie, they don’t sugar coat the things people struggle with: addiction, family dynamics, friendship, finding love, keeping love alive. Those are the kind of struggles that I find compelling and the kind of issues I want to share with my readers, so they can come along on my characters’ often very bumpy roads to love and redemption.
  3. Real emotion—In Nurse Jackie, people don’t always act as you’d expect them to. They sing at funerals or let their libidos get out of hand on rooftops or stick their necks out and do the wrong thing for the right reason: to help a friend or loved one. I love that kind of complexity and that’s the kind of human behavior I want to portray.
  4. Laughter and tears—Every episode of this show is only about 20 minutes long, yet I rarely come away without having done some laughing and some crying. That’s for the reasons above and because I care so strongly about the characters. I want to give that kind of experience to my readers. I want to touch their hearts more than their intellects and hope I can do both. But if it’s a choice between one or the other, I’ll go for heart over mind every time.
  5. Life is temporary but love is forever—That’s something I think is a bedrock of the show. Families and relationships are really the driving force and the only things of real value in this brief hour we have on stage. It’s good to remember that, both for serious reasons and even more for silly ones.

So, that’s it. Hope you’ll check out my latest effort, Dinner at Home, to create flawed but loving people who make mistakes but ultimately find that true happiness lies in making others happy—whether it’s in the kitchen or the bedroom.

Or both.


Dinner at Home

It only takes a few days for Ollie D’Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off.

Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of.

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook… and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.

ISBN-13: 978-1-62798-836-0
Pages: 206
Cover Art: Reese Dante


Find Dinner at Home:


About Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”


Find Rick R. Reed:


10 Comments

  1. Rick R. Reed says:

    Thanks for having me, Michael! It’s an honor to share space with you.

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! ALL of your books look awesome. I have several on my to read list!

  3. I love “real” characters too! Thank you for the interview and chance to win! 🙂

  4. Can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win another book. So generous!

  5. jenf27 says:

    Thanks for the post and the giveaway! I don’t watch much TV but do like real characters in my books.

    jlf827 {at} icloud {dot} com

  6. Alaina says:

    I like these 5 qualities in the books I read, so I am excited to read Dinner at Home! Thanks for the giveaway!
    aegger.echo(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. Hungry for Love is going in my TBR list.

  8. Ashley E says:

    Dinner at Home sounds like a marvelous read, especially taking into consideration your list. That’s the perfect recipe for a story that hits home.

  9. Rick I’m not responding just because I want one of your books, though it would be nice if I won a copy of anything you’ve written. 🙂 Just wanted to say I agree with your reasons/goals above. As writers we should try to accomplish all of them in everything we write. I’m still working on number 4, trying not to be overly sentimental or too obvious in my humor. Maybe some day. And you’re absolutely right about Nurse Jackie. It meets all of them. Great post. Paul

Add a Comment