Saturday, July 17, 2010

MEDICAL SUSPENSE WITH DR. MABRY



Dr. Richard L. Mabry
MEDICAL SUSPENSE WITH HEART
A retired physician and author of fiction and non-fiction,
Dr. Mabry is with us today to discuss his debut novel,
Code Blue and the second in his Prescription for
Trouble series, Medical Error.


Dr. Mabry, welcome to Suspense Sealed with a Kiss. From the first words of Code Blue, it sounds like you’re a perfect fit for my suspense site. I can’t wait to have a read of this novel and the next. What makes a man retired from the medical community decide to write such a suspenseful novel?

I sort of backed into writing fiction. After the death of my first wife, I wanted to use my journal entries as the basis for a book about grief and the loss of a spouse. That’s when I discovered that one doesn’t just “write a book.” I attended a writer’s conference, and not only began to learn the fundamentals that helped me put together what ultimately became The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse (Kregel, 2006), but was encouraged by some excellent authors, including James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky, to try my hand at writing fiction. It wasn’t until I’d completed three novels that didn’t sell that I discovered my true writing voice: medical suspense with heart.

And that leads us to the fact you’ve also tweaked your novel with a bit of romance. I was surprised reading your site about the twist of romance. Not generally the man’s genre. What piqued your interest to want to add the romance angle?

I discovered that the vast majority of Christian fiction readers are women, and that they appreciated both a female protagonist and a bit of romance. I hadn’t done a very good job of including these in my first three (unsuccessful) books, and decided to remedy that. With the help of my wife, Kay, who is my first reader, I took off in that direction, and apparently I succeeded.

I couldn’t help noticing the huge smile on your face when you held the first copy of Medical Error. Which was more exciting, the first release, Code Blue, or the second, knowing that people loved your work enough that the publisher believed in you for a second book?

Oh, that’s like asking which child is your favorite. The answer is generally the one you’re holding at the moment. I got a tremendous thrill from seeing my hopes and dreams come to fruition with the publication of Code Blue. The way in which that one-book contract became a three-book commitment from Abingdon Press is sort of a God thing, so holding the first copy of Medical Error was special as well.

Medical thrillers have so much to offer the reader, both men and women. What makes yours stand out? If I go to the bookstore and put down my money, what would make me pick your novel instead of, say, Robin Cook? (just as an example)

I read a lot of medical fiction, both Christian and secular. I enjoy the writing of Robin Cook, Tess Gerrittsen, and my friend, Michael Palmer, and am flattered when a reviewer (in this case, Colleen Coble) says, “Move over, Robin Cook.” Other than the Christian worldview, which I try to incorporate without hitting my readers over the head with it, I suppose the difference is that I try to offer what I call an easy read: Enough medical details to be interesting without being gory. Enough romance to be realistic without being mushy. Enough suspense to keep a reader’s interest without making them sleep with the lights on.

Do you have any advice you’d like to pass along to new authors that might offer them a word of encouragement in this crazy career called writing?

I wrote three books (four if you count the one that I completely broke down and rewrote), received forty rejections, and quit writing once before I signed with my current agent (Rachelle Gardner) who sold my novel to Barbara Scott of Abingdon Press. I look on that period before I was published as a training course, something to prepare me for the eventuality of publication. God’s timing isn’t the same as ours, but His is perfect. As you wait, keep on improving your craft. And remember that if no one except you reads your work, it’s still affected one person.

Dr. Mabry, thank you for stopping by and sharing with us.
Please join Dr. Mabry on his blog and at his website where links to purchase his books are available.
http://www.rmabry.com and http://www.rmabry.blogspot.com/

11 comments:

  1. I LOVE medical suspense novels! GREAT interview, Linda!

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  2. Thanks,Karla. I love them too. I'm anxious to dig into these. I read a couple exerpts and they sound wonderful. His writing is terrific and I can't wait to find out how he weaves a story. His background will make for great details, and you know how I love details in a story.

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  3. I am not sure I've ever read a medical suspense, but I have just added this one to my list.

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  4. Coma, Virus, Outbreak, all books of Robin Cook, bestselling author. Many of his books have been made into tv movies and are spectacular. The diff here, I believe, is the inpsy slant and the romance slant. Can't beat a great thriller when there's a kiss in it and credit to God. Woohoo. Good readin'

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  5. Linda, Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. I hope you and your readers enjoy Code Blue and Medical Error.

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  6. Thanks so much for coming along. Maybe we've turned a few more people onto medical suspense.

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  7. Awesome interview! I've seen Mabry around Rachelle's blog quite a bit and hope I get a chance to read one of his books! Thanks so much for sharing, and for the encouragement. Oh, btw, I read quite a bit of Robin Cook when I was a teen. This makes me want to get one of his books again. I think medical thrillers are fascinating, and I'm SO glad you added romance. That makes it even more thrilling. *grin*

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  8. I've heard a lot about this book and have tucked it onto my list to read since I love medical thrillers--I think I've read all of Robin Cook's :)) Thank you for interviewing him today.

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  9. I thought his name looked familiar! I read Dr. Mabry's book about the death of his spouse for my college Gerontology course! The whole class started reading his books.And Robin Cook was one of my favorite when he first came out.

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  10. Now that we know we all love medical thrillers, we'll have to discover what Dr. Mabry has to offer. Move over C-mas list, here come a bunch of books.

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  11. I finally found where to communicate with you...!(I'm challenged when it comes to communicating thru fb, etc.) My friend received one of your books for Christmas - she'd already read it. I borrowed it ...AWESOME - about a Dr. Gardner suspected of pulling plug on her comatose husband.(and I don't even like the medical field!)My friend said she's got another one of yours..I'll have something to read!

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