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Interview with Author Richard Mabry and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I am so happy to have returning to us Dr. Richard Mabry. I’ve met Dr. Mabry several times over the last couple of years, and had the privilege of attending a class he taught on writing medical dramas. I’m so thrilled he’s back with us with his new release. AND – he is giving away a copy of his latest release to one incredibly lucky winner — so read on below to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m a retired physician, now writing what I call “medical suspense with heart”. I got into writing after the death of my first wife. I turned my journaling into a book that Kregel published, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse. At the writers’ conference where I began to learn about the craft of writing, I was challenged to try my hand at fiction. After four years, four richard mabrynovels, and forty rejections, I got my first contract. I’ve won a few awards and gotten nice reviews along the way. My latest novel, Miracle Drug, is my ninth.

Tell us about your current release: The story involves a doctor who, by a strange twist, becomes personal physician to a former President of the US. Both the ex-President and the nurse with whom the doctor is in love return from a trip overseas with a rare and universally fatal infection. There’s a chance that an experimental drug might help, but there might only be enough to treat one patient. And the tension builds from there. (And, mind you, this was written and edited before Ebola became a household word, so I’m proud of the job I did anticipating some of the actions such an infection would make necessary).

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I’ve been a Christian since my teens, and since I have a Christian worldview, I write that way. I’ve always felt that writers who incorporate sex, profanity, and similar things into their writing were merely using these as gimmicks. I’ve never felt pressured to descend to that level with my own writing.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? Like most authors, I’m a poster boy for the Imposter Syndrome. We don’t like to blow our own horns (which makes handling publicity tough), and wonder when someone is going to tell the world we’re untalented frauds. I had to learn early on to get past this by sheer willpower. But my private persona is that of an introvert who’d rather be sitting alone in his office writing instead of posting on social media, meeting with editors and agents, andrmmiracledrug interacting with the public. Nevertheless, all authors do those things, because that goes along with the job description.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? In my thirty-six years practicing medicine, the last ten as a professor at a prestigious medical center, I wrote or edited eight textbooks but I never dreamed of writing anything non-medical. After the death of my first wife, my journaling became a book still read by thousands who have lost a loved one. Since I was retired, I tried my hand at fiction, but I have to confess it wasn’t due to any long-held dream. Rather, it was a reaction to a challenge (and you know what happens when you challenge a man).

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I started writing, self-publishing was basically ‘vanity publishing’, where someone paid to have his/her book published. Now, self-publishing is not only respectable, many authors are turning to it for a number of reasons, some of them financial. I started with a traditional publisher because they offered me a contract- that’s it. I decided that if someone wanted to pay me to write, while handling the editing, cover design, and much of the marketing, I was happy to let them. And I still am, although I have self-published one novella and have another ready to go. Authors who have a foot in both worlds are called ‘hybrid’, I don’t know if we get better mileage than others, though.

Do you have your plot line and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I start with a ‘hook’-a single sentence that tells me what the book will be about. Then I populate the book, figure out the arc, and rough in what Jim Bell calls the ‘knockout ending’. I often get 10,000 words in, only to find that things have changed, both in the plot and the characters, since I started. I’ve even been known to start over at that point. I don’t know who the villain will be until I’m writing the last few chapters, and often the person I had in mind won’t be the bad guy. Donald Westlake calls this ‘push fiction,’ and says that if he doesn’t know how a book will end, the reader can’t guess. Makes sense to me.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Opinions vary as to whether there’s even such a thing as “writer’s block”. If I hit a point where I don’t know what to write, I may take a day off and let what Stephen King calls “the boys in the basement” work on the problem. Usually, I wake up the next day with an idea of how to proceed. Sometimes the inspiration comes on my morning walk, even on the golf course. But I’ve never been totally stuck for a prolonged period.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? I’m often asked if one of the male doctors in my book reflects me. The answer is no. Although lead characters should have a flaw (preferably one that improves as the book progresses), I have not just one but too many to count. What most of my male and female protagonists reflect are the traits I wish I had. But they’re not real. Sometimes I wish they were. I’d like to have coffee with them sometime and find out the secret of their success.

Find Richard online: Facebook, Twitter, blog, and webpage.



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Interview with Medical Thriller Author Richard Mabry and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Richard Mabry, author of Christian medical thrillers.

I am a LONG time fan of medical thrillers. I think I am fascinated by the science as well as the thriller part of the story.  Richard is a retired physician and medical professor, which means that his science is going to be scary accurate – as only the best medical thrillers are.

(An aside: My main character in A Carol for Kent is named Carol Mabry! How cool is that? It’s not a common last name.)

Please welcome Richard Mabry.  I hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did. And — His publisher, Harper Collins Christian Fiction, is giving away a paperback copy of Critical Condition!  See the Rafflecopter below for details.

Mabry headshotTell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a physician, retired after 36 years of practice, the last ten as a professor at a prestigious medical center in Dallas. I’m not a writer by temperament, and still am amazed to find myself preparing for the publication of my seventh novel of medical suspense.

Tell us about your current release.

Critical Condition deals with the struggles of a female physician struggling to overcome an incident in her past that still haunts her while dealing with problem after problem in her life in sister who’s a recovering (she hopes) addict, a father who has just been diagnosed with leukemia, and an almost fiancé to whom she can’t quite commit. Then, when a stranger is shot dead on her front lawn, the phone calls begin, saying, “Tell me what he said before he died, or you’ll be sorry.”

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful?

When I first began writing fiction, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be from a Christian worldview. After my first few published novels, I’ll admit I had ideas of “crossing over” to the general market, but each time I tried to craft a story that would sell there, I found that I couldn’t do it. This wasn’t necessarily because it would compromise my standards. John Grisham is a great example of a Christian author who is popular in the general market but because I felt more comfortable being a bit more overt in my Christian message than most of those writers.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher?

I’ve found that I’m not alone among writers in suffering from what I call the “imposter syndrome.” From day one, every success has brought me visions of someone popping up to say, “You’re not that good.” I think we’re all afraid of being average, but the only way around that is to continue working to make each work better than the last and accepting any success as God’s gift for our lives.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?

I’m a believer in what Stephen King calls turning loose ‘the boys in the basement.’ When I’m stumped about where a scene should go, I put it aside and let my subconscious work on it. I go for a walk, read a novel, watch a TV program. Almost always, I get an idea of what to do next. I’ve found that, like trying to remember a name or date, the harder I try the more it seems to slip away, so I work to put the problem out of my mind until the solution comes to me.

Critical Condition cover revisedHow did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?

When I started in writing, ‘self publication’ was a dirty word, often called ‘vanity publication.’ The only legitimate way to seek publication was via a traditional, royalty-paying publisher. Of course, all that has changed over the past few years, and many writers whose works had previously been released by traditional publishers have chosen to self-publish some of their work. I still like the idea of the developmental and marketing assistance a publisher offers, even if the process is slow and the monetary rewards may be less.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it?

When I was in medical practice, although I wrote or edited eight textbooks and had more than one hundred papers published in professional journals, I never aspired to non-medical writing. Then, when my wife of forty years died suddenly, I felt a desire to share my journaling with others who were hurting. I had no idea how one wrote a book, much less got it published, but I attended a writer’s conference to gain such an understanding. That’s where I not only learned enough to get started on what ultimately became The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, but was challenged by James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky to try my hand at writing fiction. Four years, four unsuccessful novels, and forty rejections later, I got my first contract for the book, Code Blue.

Where ’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?

On a visit back to Southwestern Medical Center where I was a professor for ten years, I entered the faculty parking garage, looked around me, and thought, “This would be a great place for a kidnapping late at night.” From that idea came the initial scene of my novel, Stress Test.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality?

I put a little of myself into each story, but I probably identify most closely with Dr. Shannon Frasier, the protagonist of Critical Condition, for one reason, she has to face a lot of problems –  personal and professional – and sometimes feels overwhelmed. I can’t get into specifics without spoiling the plot for readers, but let’s just say that I understand some of those situations.

***
Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award. His latest, Critical Condition, is his seventh published novel.

Links to buying his novels from all major booksellers are found on his website . You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter , and his Facebook fan page.

Find Critical Condition at the following locations:

Richard’s publisher, Harper Collins Christian Fiction, is giving away a copy of Critical Condition to one lucky reader!  See the Rafflecopter for all of the ways you can enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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