Thursday, June 10, 2010

THE SIX-LITER CLUB - Harry Kraus - Free Book

I've really been looking forward to featuring you on my blog, ever since I heard you at the ACFW Conference in Denver. Welcome, Harry. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I am a surgeon, as are most of my protagonists. Most of my protagonists like the same food that I do (shrimp, steak, hushpuppies and diet Coke). The way my protagonists talk to their patients mimics conversations that I have had with mine.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I entered a pinewood derby a few years ago (and won!). I carved a “Fiction Theme” car. It had an open Bible for an engine (I lacquered the passage where Jesus answers his disciples’ question about why he talked in story so that it would be visible on the open page). The exhausts coming out on both sides ended in real scalpel blades (showing that the Bible is what “drives” a story that finds its expression through medical themes. It was cool. It was the second fastest car in its category and won an award for creativity.
My family disagrees with my answer. They say the way I raise and lower my eyebrows when I’m writing is quirky!

My husband tells me that writers "think weird." When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I didn’t start writing stories until I was in surgery residency. I started outlining my first novel on the back of an operative note at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Lexington, KY.

I'm really glad you kept at it. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love novels. My first real interest with inspirational fiction was stimulated by Frank Peretti’s early novels including This Present Darkness. Now, I read a variety of fiction (Steven King, Grisham, Jerry B. Jenkins) and non-fiction (John Piper, Francis Chan). I just finished A Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Excellent. Challenging. One of my favorites is a classic, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Smith. I bet I’ve read that book twenty times.
I also loved Peretti's early novels. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I wrote a contemporary series dealing with a surgery resident who finds out her father has Huntington’s Disease (an inherited problem) that began with Could I Have this Dance? (the “Dance” is the crazy dancelike movements seen in Huntington’s Disease patients). My first novels were more medical thrillers and included Lethal Mercy, Fated Genes, The Stain, and Stainless Steal Hearts. The Chairman tells the story of a quadriplegic man who sees life from his wheelchair and learns that human performance doesn’t determine human worth. Salty Like Blood was released last year. I’ve just completed a novel (seeking a contract) that grew out of my experience working as a surgeon in Africa (and deals with a surgeon starting an open heart program). I’ve named it Open Heart. We’ll see if that title sticks with the publisher.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Honestly, my wife is the detail person in our duo. I’m the visionary. There are days (and weeks) that I feel I’ve got a rocket strapped to my feet. My wife has her feet firmly planted on terra firma. She pays the bills and keeps my schedule straight.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I often use the names of friends (first name of one mixed with the last name of another). That makes it fun for them when they read it. I also put my son’s names (Joel, Evan, and Samuel) in all of my books.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

You know, I’m really stoked about my first non-fiction book, Breathing Grace: What You Need More Than Your Next Breath. The best thing about writing about grace is that you can’t stand up and pat yourself on the back about it….otherwise I just wouldn’t be getting the concept of grace, would I? I am also very happy (I can’t quite admit to pride, maybe I’m hung up over that, Christians shouldn’t be proud when they realize it’s all God, right?) about an ongoing medical and teaching work I helped establish in northern Somalia, working along side Muslim medical colleagues.

That sounds very interesting. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Silly question, but one I’ve actually thought about. I’d love to fly, so being an eagle would be cool, but I love diving and sushi, so maybe being a porpoise would be the bomb!

What is your favorite food?

Wow. There are so many. I really love a tender ribeye grilled with a hot pink center.

I'm with you on that one. Maybe we can find one together when we're at conference next time. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Writer’s block is every writer’s nemesis, but I just “back-burner” a plot problem and go about my work. Invariably, when I’ve got my hands in some patient’s warm, moist innards, the solution will present itself. (Actually, the answer comes at any odd time when I’ve taken the mental pressure off and am not really focusing on the plot problem).

I've gotten some of my best solutions in the shower. God often talks to me there. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Study the craft! Get your hands on writing books by Donald Maass, James Scott Bell, and Sol Stein and read about how the pros do it.

Tell us about the featured book?

The Six-Liter Club tells the story of an African-American female trauma surgeon fighting to find her place in a white man’s world. She faces prejudice, a crisis of personal faith, and elusive whispers of dark events from her childhood in the Congo. There is a strong suspense and romantic element to the storyline. Without giving away the ending, just let me say that my protagonist, Camille Weller, has spent many years trying to be one of “the boys.” Over the course of the novel, she undergoes significant emotional growth to the point where she sees that she brings something special to her role as a surgeon as a woman.

My copy just came. I can hardly wait to read it. Please give us the first page of the book.

Chapter 1

MY HEART BEAT with the exhilaration of knowing I hid in enemy territory—a woman in a men‟s bathroom. Moments before, I had blown in to make a poignant statement about this sexist university, but right now, I felt a bit short-winded, like I needed to recover an ounce of the passion that had fueled my daily survival in this hospital for the greater part of the past decade.

There were trite metaphors to describe what I had just done. Threw down the gauntlet. Drew a line in the sand. Aunt Jeanine would have called it career suicide, but I never did give much for her opinion of my actions.
Thirty seconds before, I had thought my statement was precisely what this stodgy establishment needed. But at this moment, on the day I had become the first woman surgeon to join the prestigious Six-Liter Club, I cowered in a stall of the men’s bathroom, desperate to find the fire that had emboldened me to barge into this inner sanctum of testosterone. I peered through a crack looking into the doctors’ locker room, appreciating only a small vertical slice of the room at a time. It was much like the nurses’, except larger, and it smelled a bit like my sweat socks after a run in the Virginia heat. I leaned forward until my forehead touched the cool surface of the metal door, tuning my ear to the voice of Dr. Bransford, my mentor and the chief of general surgery.

I closed my eyes and began to gloat in near euphoria. The Six-Liter Club! It wasn‟t exactly where I had expected to be on this first day as a surgery attending, but a coveted milestone nonetheless. I knew graying surgeons who, respected and dignified as they were, would never know the thrill of successfully pulling a patient back from so far over the precipice during his plunge into the next world. Oh, they’d often snatched patients back from the edge, made some “good saves,” but rarely from six liters of blood loss—a hemorrhage of more than the circulating blood volume of medicine’s prototypical normal human. “Normal” in the medical literature meant male, probably white, seventy kilograms, three-fourths fluid, five liters blood, one brain, one heart, and two testicles.

What emotion! Really pulled us in. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Harry, for this visit.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using the link when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


TNprincess said...


Casey said...

Looks like a great book, please enter me. Thanks!

Sue said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book.

Mark said...

I'd love to read it. Enter me, please

Sheila Deeth said...

Cool! I think I'll be looking for this and others of your books.

A J Hawke said...

I appreciate this introduction to Harry Kraus. I am unfamiliar with your work but after reading the interview I plan to get some of your books.

I'd like to start by winning THE SIX-LITER CLUB.

A J Hawke

MoziEsmé said...

I love medical fiction and would love to read this!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Charity said...

Please enter me:) Thanks!!


Donna K. said...

Looks like an awesome book! Please enter me.

Carrie Turansky said...

I admire Harry for his wonderful writing and also his work in Africa. This new book sounds terrific!
carrie (at) turansky (dot) com

Carly Kendall said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter my name. Thank you.

grannyvon said...

I would love to win this one. I love to read books about the early medical days for women. This should be a great book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

Marla said...

I've not yet read any of Harry's books, but have considered in the past based on other reviews. Would love to win. thank you.

Cindy W. said...

As a former Surgical Tech I love medical fiction and would love to read The Six-Liter Club. Please enter me. Thank you.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Trinity Rose said...

Love these medical drama books. Thanks for the giveaway.
Many blessings,
Trinity Rose

Linda Kish said...

Being a nurse, I love anything medical I can read.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Harry Kraus said...

So grateful for the chance to be introduced to new readers! Thanks. I wrote this book during the first year I spent in Africa, so it is dear to me in several ways. Grace to you, sis! Harry

Harry Kraus said...

So grateful for being introduced to new readers! Thanks. I wrote this book during the first year I spent as a surgeon in Africa, so it is special to me on several levels. Grace to you, sis! Harry

Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


Robyn said...

Looks like a great book. Harry, how about I grill some ribeyes with nice pink centers and we'll eat & read together. :-)

coolstmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

I enjoy Harry's books. Thanks for offering it.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Julie The Surrendered Scribe said...

What rock have I been under? Harry Kraus is a new name to me, but I love medical fiction. I have to check his work out!


Sara said...

Great interview, I have read and enjoyed the Claire McCall series.
Thanks for the opportunity !

artist4christ at cyberhaus dot us

Anonymous said...

i have enjoyed ALL of the books written by Dr Kraus...

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Carole said...

I loved Harry's Could I Have This Dance series and want to read more of his books. Now I feel I know the man behind these books a little better and greatly respect the work he is doing. This was a very interesting interview and I'd love to win The Six-Liter Club.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Anonymous said...

Harry is one of my favorite authors; I have read all of his books and really loved each one! Please enter me for this one.

Jan Marie said...

I can still remember the day at the local library that I came across the first book I ever read by Harry Kraus. It was a real exciting find for me and since that day I have read everything that he has written (multiple times) - he can't write fast enough to suit me!

I would love to be the lucky winner of this book!


Maureen said...

This sounds like a really interesting book! Would love to read it!
Thank You

earlymorn23 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
earlymorn23 said...

Read the Claire McCall series and loved it. Since I am from Harry's part of Virginia, I even recognized the names of the doctors he used in the novels, which was a hoot. Would love to win a copy of this new book. Thanks for the opportunity.

Edna said...

I have read the book and have a review on my blog, just wanted to say that this is really a great book, didn't think I would like it until I got started reading it.


Brenda said...

Would love to read the book, the cover art is great!

dancealert at aol dot com

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Great interview! I would love to win his latest novel. His book, "Breathing Grace" is wonderful!

Harry Kraus -- God bless you abundantly!

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Hi, Lena.

Count me in, OK?


Thanks a lot!


Megan (Inspired by Fiction) said...

I just finished this don't enter me...It was really good!

and We posted about it at Winning Readings.

Naasom A. Sousa said...

Hi, Great interview. Please enter me in this giveaway. Thanks for this chance!


Nancye said...

This book sounds like a very interesting book. I would very much like to win.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

lotus82 said...

This is definately my kind of book!!