I am very pleased to have Dr. Richard Mabry visiting my blog today. What a great writer of medical drama with strong faith messages. Plus, Richard is graciously giving away a copy of his new book, Medical Judgment, to one of my readers. Yay!! Thanks so much, Richard! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment. (Giveaway runs through May 25)
By The Book — In your career as a physician you wrote/edited numerous textbooks and professional papers. When did you realize you were also an author of fiction?
Richard Mabry — I never considered becoming an author outside of medicine until the death of my first wife, Cynthia. Almost a year after her passing, I began to consider turning the journaling I’d done into a book, but had no idea how. Finally, at a writer’s conference, I got an inkling of 1) how to write a book, and 2) how hard it is to get one published. But I did and it was. The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse has been out for a decade and ministered to many thousands who have suffered a similar loss.
BTB — Who influenced you to try your hand at fiction?
Richard — At that same writing conference, Alton Gansky and James Scott Bell suggested that I try my hand at fiction. Well, you don’t challenge a man to do anything — whether bowling, golf, or writing — without his taking action. I took up that challenge, and after four years spent writing four novels that garnered forty rejections, I got my first fiction contract.
BTB — Why inspirational fiction?
Richard — I suppose it has something to do with wanting to write a book that I wouldn’t be ashamed to have my name on the cover. Besides, I’ve been a Christian since my early teens, and it just seemed natural to write in that genre.
BTB — Your experience in medicine must be an advantage in your medical suspense novels. What additional research do you do?
Richard — The main thing my years as a physician do is give me the ability to “speak the language.” I know how things go in a medical setting. I can read the journals, textbooks, and online posts and understand them. But every medical scenario in every novel I write requires my going to appropriate sources to see what the symptoms, treatment, and natural course of each disease or injury would be. By the way, one of the things I teach in courses aimed at writers is to be wary of research on the Internet that comes from people with something (an idea, a procedure, a product) to sell. I stick with well-known, reputable sites like WebMD, the NIH, and the American Academy of Family Practice.
BTB — You have an impressive list of awarding winning novels. What does your writing/researching day look like? And how long does it take you to craft a book?
Richard — Unlike some of my author colleagues, I have to admit that I don’t write every day. Yet I seem to always meet my deadlines. I use Jim Bell’s LOCK system when I’m starting to consider a book: lead, opposition, conflict, and knockout ending. I first decide on the thrust of the story, reducing it to one line (the high concept). Then I populate the story with the main characters. I decide on the ending and formulate the twists to maintain the reader’s interest throughout the book. Ideally, I’d like to take a year to write each book, but — for some reason — my contracts keep calling for one every six months, so that’s how long I take.
BTB — Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel, Medical Judgment?
Richard — I wanted to feature a single parent (since two members of my extended family fit that description). After that, my curiosity about what problems a widowed physician might encounter was the impetus for this novel, which begins when Dr. Sarah Gordon is awakened by the smell of smoke. Her first thought is to yell for her husband and grab her daughter. Then she rouses enough to realize both have been dead for months. She’s alone. And the house is on fire.
BTB — Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?
Richard — My next novel is Cardiac Event, and although I can’t yet share the name of the publisher (sorry), I can assure my readers that it and my next two books after that will have a home. We look for Cardiac Event to be published this fall. In it, Dr. Kirk Martin, a cardiologist, crosses swords with an older internist, Dr. Cliff Hamilton, who tends to exceed his privileges because he’s had a bit of cardiology training. Then, when Dr. Hamilton himself has a heart attack, he asks Dr. Martin to care for him. The cardiologist pulls the older doctor through, but Hamilton dies while still in the hospital — and Martin is a suspect.
BTB — If you would like, please share a little about your personal life.
Richard — I had a full career as a physician (specialist in nasal and sinus disorders and related allergy), but retired from that more than a decade ago. As most retired individuals will tell you, I’m busier now than I ever was when working. God has blessed me once more with the love of a wonderful woman, so now I have two families — which means twice as many Girl Scout cookie sales, school field days, soccer practices, and everything else that seems to fill my days to overflowing. In addition to writing (which includes marketing, and don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t), I enjoy an occasional golf game, watching the local baseball team on TV, and spending some time reading my favorite books — mysteries and crime novels, of course.
Thanks so much, Richard, for sharing with my readers!
Dont’t forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for Medical Judgment.