Monday, March 28, 2011
I feel like I’ve been on a fast ride. Diagnosis Death is my third novel published in the space of twelve months. The fourth, Lethal Remedy, will come out in September, and after that things should slow down. I’m working on proposals for a couple of novels, and waiting to see what doors God will open next.
Tell us a little about your family.
As you know, my first wife passed away in 1999 after forty years of marriage, and I was devastated. But God has blessed me once more with the love of a wonderful woman, and Kay and I have recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. She deserves a great deal of credit for keeping me on an even keel.
We have five grandchildren, three boys and two girls ranging from 12 to 2 years of age, and because they all live in the region, we stay busy with grand-parenting duties. But they keep us young.
I know what you mean. We have two grandsons, two granddaughters, from 25 to 15, and one great grandson, who is alomost 4. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Well, it’s taken away some of the time I used to spend reading for pleasure. And it definitely has changed the way I read. Alton Gansky, in one of the first workshops I attended, said, “If you start writing, you’ll never read the same way again.” And he was right. When I read a novel, I’m always aware of how an author draws me into the book and keeps my interest. Unfortunately, I’ve also become much more aware of slip-ups like shifting point of view and use of the passive voice.
What are you working on right now?
I have two projects, one of which is another medical thriller featuring a male protagonist, a physician, and a strong female character, an attorney. He wakes up from a head injury and finds himself accused of murder, but has no idea why. The other is a bit of a departure from my usual “medical suspense with heart,” in which I interweave the stories of three main characters: a female doctor whose marriage is crumbling, a male medical student who’s struggling with life decisions, and a nurse who’s fighting for her life.
They both sound interesting to me. What outside interests do you have?
Since the death of my first wife, a good friend and I have played golf every Wednesday. We’re heretics, because we don’t keep score and have no qualms hitting another ball after a bad shot. Kay and I are active in our church, Stonebriar Community Church, where we are involved in a home fellowship and help facilitate the new member class. And, of course, there’s grand-parenting.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
A novelist has to be able to drop clues into the work and at the end put them together, much like a doctor interpreting a history and looking over lab test results. I’d like to spend an evening with Sir William Osler, the father of modern medical diagnosis. I think it would be fascinating to hear some of the pearls he’d impart.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Wow, just one? I guess it would be that the craft of writing isn’t simple, and once you have mastered the fundamentals it’s going to require hours and hours and hours of writing before it eventually starts to come together. Maybe that would have kept me from being so impatient.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Every day can present a challenge or a reward, and I have to be prepared for either and accept them both with grace.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Learn the fundamentals from people who communicate them accurately.
Write, write, write. Then have the work critiqued by someone who’s knowledgeable, and revise it.
Be patient. Never submit a book until you’ve polished it as well as you can. You only have one chance with agents and editors.
Tell us about the featured book.
The whispers about Dr. Elena Gardner said “mercy killer.” It starts with her husband’s death in the ICU, continues when another patient under her care dies, and eventually drives her to another city. But a change of scenery doesn’t stop the rumors or the midnight phone calls. Why doesn’t she defend herself? What’s her secret?
Please give us the first page of the book.
She stood by his bedside and waited for him to die.
Outside the room, the machines and monitors of the ICU hummed and beeped, doctors and nurses went about their business, and the hospital smell—equal parts antiseptic and despair—hung heavy in the air.
With one decisive move she flipped the switch of the respirator and stilled the machine’s rhythmic chuffing. In the silence that followed, she imagined she could hear his heartbeat fade away.
She kissed him and exhaled what passed for a prayer, her lips barely moving as she asked for peace and forgiveness—for him and for her.
She stood for a moment with her head bowed, contemplating the enormity of her action. Then she pocketed the empty syringe from the bedside table and tiptoed out of the room.
I'm telling you, Readers, you won't want to miss this one. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://rmabry.com/. I blog twice a week at Random Jottings: http://rmabry.blogspot.com/. And I’m on Facebook and Twitter as RichardMabry.
Thanks for spending this time with us, Richard.
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