Brigham Vaughn Guest Post: Research

Please welcome Brigham Vaughn to the blog today, chatting about her new release The Ghosts Between Us.

One of the most interesting part about writing “The Ghosts Between Us” was doing research for it.

When I began writing the story, I had a vague idea that Chris—the main character—worked in the medical field. And I eventually decided that I wanted him to work with hospice and palliative care patients.

Palliative care is a resource for patients living with a serious illness, like cancer, dementia, or COPD. Patients receive medical treatment for their disease, but they also receive emotional and practical support, like assistance from physical therapists, social workers and nutritionists.

Hospice is for patients whose illness has gone beyond a point where it can’t be cured. Or, the patient decides to stop treatment themselves. Hospice offers comfort during the remaining time the patient has left. It can be offered in a nursing facility, at home, or an inpatient facility connected to a hospital.

Although I considered making Chris a hospice nurse or doctor, I eventually decided I wanted to do something a little different. Although not all palliative care and hospice facilities offer psychological help to their patients, there are some programs that do. And I decided to make Chris a psychiatrist at an inpatient hospice facility.

That’s about where my online research stalled. I used to work for a hospital, but I’ve never had a family member or loved one in hospice and I had a lot of questions that I needed more in-depth answers to. I reached out to a friend who is a hospice nurse. We sat down and talked for a couple of hours as I asked her questions. She’s very passionate about the topic and discussing it with her gave me the opportunity to understand why Chris might have gone into a field like that and what it means to him.

To get the final pieces of information I needed, I went to the hospice facility at the hospital where I used to work. I met with the director of the department and she took me on a short, informative tour. I was incredibly impressed with the facility and their approach.

It’s never easy to think about death or what will happen to the people we care about if they have a terminal illness, but I found it truly fascinating to learn more about the topic.

Although I didn’t use every single bit of information I got during my research, I know it helped create a lot of depth to this story. Because of this research, I connected with Chris’s character deeply. His relationships with his patients helped shaped who he was as a character and how the entire story played out. And on a more personal level, it allowed me to consider my own thoughts on death and hospice care and grief.

It was a story that was interesting and rewarding to write and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Title: The Ghosts Between Us (The West Hills #1)
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press
Release Date: March 2, 2019
Genre(s): Romance
Reviewed by: Kirstin


Dr. Christopher Allen knows how to deal with death. He’s a psychiatrist who works with hospice patients and their families, helping them cope with grief and letting go. But Chris’s job doesn’t prepare him for the sudden death of his devil-may-care brother Cal.

At Cal’s funeral, Chris is completely thrown when he meets Elliot Rawlings, an artist Cal has been dating. Chris is hurt to discover that the brother he knew as straight was actually bisexual. Elliot is angry and resentful of having been kept hidden from Cal’s family.

After the funeral, a night of drinking at the bar with Cal’s friends leads to Chris and Elliot falling into bed together. The next morning, they’re overwhelmed by guilt and grief and agree to never speak of it again.

But Cal’s apartment needs to be packed up and Elliot reluctantly agrees to help Chris, as well as answer some questions about Cal’s life and their relationship. Despite their guilt and initial dislike for one another, they sort through the pieces of Cal’s life and begin to fall for each other.

Despite his best efforts to fix things, Chris’s family seems to be crumbling around him and he begins to question who he is and what his role with them is. As his feelings for Elliot grow, Chris must decide if they’re worth further damaging his fragile relationships with his friends and family.

Elliot’s rough upbringing has left him distrustful of getting close to anyone, much less another man who isn’t willing to acknowledge him in public. The odds seem stacked against Chris and Elliot, but if they can overcome them, they may be able to lay Cal’s ghost to rest, along with their own demons.

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About Author

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

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