Welcome Doc Mabry, we are so thrilled to have you here with us today. I hope you don't mind that I used a photo of your book signing with a different book. I felt our readers need to know you have published many books.
And now we want to know more about your novel Critical Condition.
What can you tell us about the story behind this book?
Most of my books are suggested by a “what if” coupled with a situation, news story, or something that made me think. In this case, an incident I encountered started me wondering what would happen if an event in a surgeon’s past affected the way she handled similar problems in the future. After that, the characters told me where to go with the story.
Question: Ah … the characters! Who is the most fun character you ever created?
I think the character of Deputy Sheriff Frank Perrin in my third book, Diagnosis Death, qualifies for that honor. The reason I say that is that when the book ends, you still don’t know if Frank wears a white hat or a black one. Incidentally, I saw my friend, the real Frank Perrin, recently and he was quite happy with the character bearing his name.
Question: And then, who is the most annoying character you ever created?
That honor has to go to Dr. Phil Rushton, the chief of staff at the clinic featured in my last book, Heart Failure. The heroine of that book, Dr. Carrie Markham, has her hands full with all the problems she encounters after she finds that her fiancé isn’t really the man she thinks he is, but despite that she spends a lot of time wondering what Phil is up to.
Question: Even as a writer myself, I still find it fascinating how our characters rule the making of story. And the surprises the characters bring to the author.
What’s the most unusual plot twist you ever wrote?
That one is in a book that hasn’t been published. In my first novel, More Than A Game, I had nurtured the second lead through the whole story, making him a friend and mentor to my protagonist, and about two-thirds of the way through the book I realized that this man had to die. It was like the death of a family member when I wrote it.
Question: Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Oh, yes. Every time I write a scene and decide to delete it (and that happens a lot during my first draft), I put it in a folder I name “holding.” Sometimes I use it in the same book, sometimes in another, and sometimes it simply languishes there. But I never totally discard anything.
Question: I hear you!
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Just one? I can name several: science fiction, dystopian, young adult, historical, gothic romance, and the list goes on. I’m pretty happy with romantic medical suspense right now, and, as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke…”
Question: So … how many writing projects are you working on right now?
I have a number of potential projects, but I can only work on one at a time. I’m not good at multitasking.
Currently, I’m working on my next book, Dead On Arrival, which begins when a man bursts into an Emergency Room, brandishing a gun and threatening to kill everyone if the doctor doesn’t save his wounded brother’s life. After the brother dies and the gunman is killed, the doctor learns that they were members of the Zeta drug cartel, a fact that puts his life in jeopardy.
Question: Now that sounds intriguing. I can’t wait until that one releases!
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I’m sort of a grammar Nazi, having minored in English in college, and I hate to see mistakes, even in a first draft. Sometimes I even have to fight with autocorrect when it doesn’t know what I’m trying to say.
Question: Does music help you write?
Unlike many authors, I like peace and quiet as I write. I have Pandora on my computer, and sometimes listen to music when I’m doing other things in my office, but not when I’m writing.
Question: How do people react when they find out you are a novel writer?
I’m not a local celebrity, nor do I aspire to be one, but it’s always fun to interact with people when they find out what I do. After they discover that I’m neither rich nor famous, their first question is generally, “Where do you get your ideas?” Although I am happy to answer, I’m always tempted to tell them in hushed tones about a site known only to writers: “plotideas.com.”
Question: What or who is the biggest influence on your writing?
I think John Grisham writes excellent Christian fiction, although he’s generally thought of as a “secular” writer. I try to write from a Christian worldview, and Grisham does a great job of doing just that without hitting the reader over the head with his viewpoint.
Beyond that, I’ve been influenced by the work of two recently deceased writers, Robert B. Parker and Dr. Michael Palmer. Reading Parker’s novels (and I’ve read all of them) taught me to write simple declarative sentences and keep the plot moving. Palmer showed me how to make medical suspense carry other messages—in his case, social injustice or political inequalities.
Question: I love to read John Grisham. Not being a lawyer I don’t try to comptet but …
Do you have a mentor, other than the books you read?
I don’t have one particular person to whom I talk with about my writing. However, I do owe a great deal to the people who have helped me (and continue to do so) along this road, beginning with James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky who got me started and have kept me on track, and continuing with Gayle Roper, Karen Ball, Jeff Gerke, DiAnn Mills, Rachelle Gardner, and a host of others.
Question: When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I don’t have a lot of information yet about publication of that book. I’ve already mentioned the premise behind Dead On Arrival. It, like all my other books, is what my readers have come to expect from me: Medical Suspense With Heart. I hope they’ll enjoy it.
My special thanks goes out to all the ladies here at the Barn Door Book Loft for this opportunity to connect with your blog readers. I appreciate it.
Thank you for joining us and telling us a bit about your life as a writer! The pleasure is all ours.
Readers, you may purchase my friend, Doc Mabry’s book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!
Richard L. Mabry is giving away a copy of Critical Condition The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on the previous post)