Sunday, August 26, 2012

Confessions Of A Chronic Insomniac


Congratulations to "Judi L" and "Janet K", the winners of Melinda's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

How did insomnia help create Midnight Exposure? It wasn’t the way you’re thinking. I didn’t stay up all night writing the book. Like many writers, I suffer from periodic bouts of relentless insomnia. Maybe because we can’t turn off the stories in our heads?  Whatever the reason, unfortunately for my productivity, I’m generally useless in the middle of the night.

The big question I get from other people is how do I function on so little sleep?  I’m really sure about the answer to this one. There are days when I feel like a robot, when the only thing I can think of beyond late afternoon is how long until I can close my eyes.  But most of the time, I just deal. I’m used to it. I know I’ll sleep eventually.

But what if I couldn’t? What if sleep became impossible?

One particularly difficult week, I called up the worst thing hypochondriacs ever found in the middle of the night, the Internet.  In my research I came across an actual disease that keeps people from sleeping AND gives those afflicted hallucinations, delirium, and confusional states like that of dementia.  Fatal Familial Insomnia is a prion disease in which lesions form in the thalamus, preventing sleep. It is extremely rare. The gene is found in only 40 families in the world, and there have been only a handful of documented cases.

Can you imagine not sleeping at all for months? Even worse, there is no treatment or cure for FFI.  It is a death sentence. Now, can you imagine passing this gene unknowingly on to your children?

One of those what if light bulbs went off in my head, and the villain of Midnight Exposure magically attained motivation. Except he isn’t as villainous as some. He’s driven by the desire to save his family from the genetic disease that plagues them. But once the delusions take hold, his motivation can’t compensate for the terrible deeds he commits.

In order to fit the disease into my plot, alterations were necessary. I ended up inventing my own disease and creating my own set of progressive symptoms. But the science behind the affliction is real, and I think that makes it even more frightening.

Midnight Exposure released August 21.

Point, click, die.

When two hikers disappear, their hometown in Maine blames the blinding storms. But the truth is far more sinister. Unaware of the danger, tabloid photographer Jayne Sullivan follows an anonymous tip to find the most reclusive sculptor in the art world. Instead, she finds sexy handyman Reed Kimball—and a small town full of fatal secrets.

Five years ago, Reed buried his homicide detective career along with his wife. But when a hiker is found dead, the local police chief asks Reed for help. Why was a Celtic coin found under the body? And where is the second hiker? Avoiding the media, Reed doesn’t need a murder, a missing person, or a nosey photographer. Then Jayne is attacked, and her courage is his undoing. Reed must risk everything to protect her and find a cunning killer.


Melinda Leigh is the author of She Can Run, a best-selling romantic suspense novel that was nominated for a 2012 Thriller Award.  Learn more about Melinda at her website melindaleighauthor.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter

Melinda will be awarding 2 signed ARCs of  Midnight Exposure   to two lucky people commenting about their sleeping patterns.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 26th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway

37 comments:

  1. I have actually heard of this disease as my worry-wart daughter thought she had it. (Thank you internet!) Adding to her fear was the fact that my husband has suffered insomnia for what seems like forever. He wakes up every night for at least an hour and then comes back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep. I have been fortunate to have fairly good sleeping patterns but I have noticed that they are getting a little worse as I get older. Still, I am fortunate to be able to sleep well!
    Your books look very interesting and I would love a chance to win a copy. Thanks for the chance!
    samgirl_99_99 (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Samgirl, No good can come of Googling symptoms at 3 AM. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Unfortunately, I have always been a lousy sleeper. Since childhood, I get up a few times a night. The bad part is that I am a night owl too.

    Not very exciting, but there you have it.Interesting blog!

    Marijane Diodati
    mjdiodati@yahoo.com

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    1. Marijane, Maybe it's genetic. I have one kid that wakes at the slightest sound and another who sleeps like a corpse. I need a catapult to get that one out of bed on school mornings. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. I know what it's like to try and go to bed and your brain is working overtime.I have three boys and we adopted them back in 2004 and for months I couldnt sleep even now when there older it's hard to fall asleep cause after you get them to bed and you lay there and wonder did you get it all done are you ready for the next morning.But a good friend of mine talked me into buying a nook and reading again and it helps me a lot but it can be a problem to cause if you are reading up you can't put down then your up and awake.I haven't read any of your books yet but plan to look them up.Thank you Debra Stolhand cher123@cableone.net

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    1. Debra, children never helped anyone sleep better. But books are a great way to pass long sleepless nights. Thanks for reading.

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  4. I'm the friend of owls. :D
    I have more energy and spirit when it gets dark. I don't know whether I have a vampire blood in my heritage *grin*

    ladymilano
    lady_milano3 at yahoo dot com

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    1. ladymilano, you're like my son. He could stay up all night long and sleep all day. Thanks for joining me today.

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  5. Hi Melinda! My sleeping habits changed after I had my son! I became a light sleeper and would(and still) wake at the slightest sounds he makes! jaclynlavigne@yahoo.com

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    1. Jaclyn, I think this happens to all of us. Thanks for commenting.

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  6. I have insomnia too. Thankfully not FFI. I usually sleep for a couple of hours, get up and read. Sometimes I go back to sleep, sometimes I'm up for the night. I cannot take afternoon naps, it really messes up nighttime. I guess I am just used to it. I do read a lot tho. Love to win a copy of your new book, sounds like a lovely way to spend a sleepless night. Trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

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    1. Trish, sometimes I read at night, too. I wish I could write, but I'm not intelligent at 3 AM.

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  7. I sleep pretty well unless I have something worrying me or just something my mind won't let go of. I can be aware of things for hours, because my mind will not shut down. I really do not like when that happens and thankfully is not that often.

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    1. Colleen, good for you. Every once in a while I sleep all night. I feel terrific in the morning. Wish I could do it all the time.

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  8. I'm an insomniac and try as I do I often get very little sleep. When I'm restless and can't seem to fall asleep, books often keep me company. I read until my eyes can't stay open, not because I'm bored and then fall into a deep sleep. Lately I have been trying to sleep better and sleep more for health reasons. I want to get in my full hour's worth and feel refreshed in the morning.

    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Reading is good. Lately, I've been using audio books for insomnia. I put them on my iPod and close my eyes. Not having to turn on the light is nice and I think helps me fall back asleep.

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  9. I've always had sleep issues as well. Sleepwalking as a child changed to sleeptalking as a teen & early adult, which is a horrible trait if you're trying to keep secrets ;). Now I struggle with insomnia too. I've read it's a curse of intelligence so I'm sticking with that LOL. Your book sounds great and I'd love a chance to win it! wlweddle at gmail dot com.

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    1. Curse of intelligence? I like that Whitney. I might borrow it. thanks!

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  10. Hi Melinda,
    I have not heard of this disease. It sounds like a very serious one.

    Both of your books sound fascinating & I look forward to reading them.
    It is always fun to find a new author!
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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    1. Janet, one article I read said there had only been 8 documented cases, and they were all from the same families. So, as awful as it is, at least it isn't common. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Congrats on the new release, Melinda. I have a hard time sleeping every night even when I'm really tired. My body is tired, but my mind is churning. I do take over the counter sleeping aids.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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  12. Jane, It stinks, Jayne. I know exactly what you mean. Thanks for stopping by

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  13. Congratulations on the book! It sounds intriguing.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  14. wow i hope i win one oh ty ty for the chance
    tammyjackson75@yahoo.com

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  15. Waving to Melinda.. If you haven't read She Can Run or Midnight Exposure - both are great suspense books!!

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  16. Congrats on the new release. I consider myself really lucky since I sleep like the dead. Once I hit the hay, I am usually out for the night.

    boomer21(at)rogers(dot)com

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    1. I wish, Judi. I wish. Thanks for stopping in.

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  17. It takes me a while to get to sleep most nights, my brain does not want to shut down, but then I usually sleep undisturbed for the rest of the night.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. marybelle, totally understand about the brain not shutting down. thanks for stopping in.

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  18. I usually go to sleep easily unless I am worried about something. However I do tend to wake up early sometimes and. It be able to turn off everything I am thinking of.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  19. lately I can't sleep before midnight, I wish I could sleep again at nine like I was a kid and I'm a light sleeper. :/


    pinglecoon at gmail dot com

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    1. Izz, me, too. I'm glad you could join us today.

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  20. We have an email entry....

    Dear Melinda, I also have a very weird sleeping pattern. I go through periods where I surface sleep. It,s like I am watching myself sleep, actually thinking GO TO SLEEP. I have a very active mind thinking about what has gone on in that day, and what needs to be done the next day. I wish that I was like my husband who puts his head on the pillow, and, in about three seconds he is snoring.You do learn to deal with the lack of sleep and just get on with things. I have read about that disease that you mentioned, very scary.It is great that you get inspiration out of personal experience .They say that creative minds can get something out of every experience whether it be good or bad. Thank you, Ann

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    1. Ann, I travel with a writer-friend who shuts down like she has an off button. I wish... Thanks for emailing us today,

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