Welcome back, Richard. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I read a novel by my friend and colleague, the late Dr. Michael Palmer, about the physician for the
US President. Since there’s an
ex-president residing in the area where I live, I thought it might be fun to
write about a doctor who, because of the sudden death of a colleague, is called
upon to be personal physician to a former president. I toyed with the idea, and
pretty soon I had the skeleton of a novel. It turned out to be a lot more
difficult than I imagined, by the way.
If you were planning a party with authors of Christian fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Only six? I’d need a ballroom, not a dining table, to include everyone who comes to mind. But here are a half dozen of them.
We could start with my friend and mentor, James Scott Bell. Jim is full of stories about movies,
Angeles, and his experiences as an attorney. Then I
think I’d invite fellow medical author Candace Calvert, so we could trade tales
about the things we’ve encountered in our medical careers. I’d ask Brandilyn
Collins to be unofficial hostess and keep the party moving. Randy Ingermanson’s
presence would raise the collective IQ of the group and add a slightly
off-kilter slant to the proceedings. Author, teacher, mentor, former pastor Alton
Gansky would see to it that the conversation never flagged. And if he fell down
on the job, you—Lena Nelson Dooley—could reach back into your experiences and
tell us how the publishing world has changed in the years since you first
It certainly has changed a lot in those decades. Thanks for including me. I’d love to be at a party with all those other authors. I know all of them personally, except
Gansky, but I know
him by reputation. Now let’s do that for a party for non-authors; what six
people would you invite and why? Alton
This is where you may wonder about my sanity. All my guests have passed on. I’d start with one of the finest clean comedians ever known, Red Skelton. He’d have us all laughing throughout the evening. I’d invite the late Bobby Bragan, who spent decades in baseball and has a story for every week of those years. The entertainment world recently lost a fine gentleman, and I’d really like an opportunity to have an evening with James Garner. One of the pioneers of medicine was Dr. Will Mayo, and I’d want to invite him because I’d have so many questions for him. There are lots of authors I admire, both of Christian and secular works, but the one I think I’d choose is William Faulkner, who pioneered in saying that experience, not technique, makes a good writer. The last invitee? I’d ask Kate Smith to sing “God Bless
America” to close the evening. (I
get chill bumps just thinking of it).
Red Skelton has been a favorite for James and me for decades, too. And this week we’ve enjoyed hearing Kate Smith sing that song at the
Rangers games. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made
with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing
at this time in your career? Texas
Fatal Trauma is my eighth published novel, which ranks far below the work product of many of my colleagues (including the five pages I found of your books on Amazon). With each book, I start out with an idea I think might make a good book. And each time I begin to write, I descend into my imposter syndrome—that little voice whispering in my ear that this will be the one that shows everyone I’m a fake and can’t really write. Technically, the hardest part of each book is the first ten thousand words. The next hardest is the last five thousand. Oh, and in between isn’t easy sometimes.
Richard, I think all of us hear that little voice somewhere in the writing of each book. Tell us about Fatal Trauma.
It began with Dr. Mark Baker facing a gunman who had nothing to lose. It could end with him behind bars.
In the Emergency Room, Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Kelly Atkinson stand at the mercy of a gunman who declares, “If he dies, everyone here dies.” At the end of the evening three men lie dead. One of them is a police officer Mark and a surgeon, Dr. Anna King, couldn’t save. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel, and their threat of revenge puts the lives of Mark, Kelly, and others at risk.
It isn’t long before the shootings begin, and Mark finds himself under suspicion as a killer, yet still a potential victim. Because of Kelly’s growing love for Mark, she is hurt when he turns to his high school sweetheart, now an attorney, for help.
Who is the shooter? And can Mark find out before he becomes the next victim?
I’m very intrigued. Please give us the first page of the book.
Dr. Mark Baker swept his straw-colored hair away from his eyes, then wiped his forearm across his brow. He wished the air-conditioning in the emergency room were better. Patients might complain that it was cool, but if you were hurrying from case to case for eight hours or more, it was easy to work up a sweat.
Mark spun toward the doors leading to the ER, where a wild-eyed man pressed a pistol against a nurse’s head. She pushed a wheelchair in which another man sat slumped forward, his eyes closed, his arms crossed against his bloody chest. Dark blood oozed from beneath his splayed fingers and dropped in a slow stream, leaving a trail of red droplets on the cream-colored tile.
Behind them, Mark could see a hospital security guard sprawled facedown and motionless on the floor, his gun still in its holster, a crimson worm of blood oozing from his head. Mark’s doctor’s mind automatically catalogued the injury as a basilar skull fracture. Probably hit him behind the ear with the gun barrel.
The gunman was in his late twenties. His caramel-colored skin was dotted with sweat. A scraggly moustache and beard framed lips compressed almost to invisibility. Straight, black hair, parted in the middle, topped a face that displayed both fear and distrust. Every few seconds he moved the barrel of the gun away from his hostage’s temple long enough to wave it around, almost daring anyone to come near him.
I can’t wait until my copy gets here, so I can find out what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?
In addition to my web page, you can find me on my blog, on Twitter, and my Facebook fan page. I’m also on GoodReads and Pinterest, but I don’t spend a lot of time there.
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Fatal Trauma - Christianbook.com
Fatal Trauma - Amazon
Fatal Trauma - Kindle
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