RT reviewer Leslie McKeen attended the annual ACFW conference last fall in St. Louis, MO. While there she chatted with Dr. Richard L. Mabry, who specializes in medical thrillers and is also a licensed ENT and the former Vice President of ACFW. His latest, Fatal Trauma, is out this week. Here’s what he has to say about his new book, his career switch and
How much research is involved in your stories to be sure that you are staying up-to-date, as your stories are very realistic?
Well, a lot, actually. First of all, my specialty was ear, nose and throat, which means that almost nothing that I write about is going to be from that area. But I still speak the language, fortunately, and we now have this wonderful thing called Google. I have to constantly stay up on things. Every time I write a scenario, I check it out on two or three sources.
Do a lot of your former colleagues read your work?
Surprisingly, no. Very few doctors have the time or the attention span. They watch a little TV, and spend some time with their family, but very few doctors have time to read. Most of the people who read my work, the medical professionals, nurses and retired physicians, do enjoy them.
Do you ever see yourself returning to the field of medicine?
I pay every year to keep my medical license up. I do that so I can stay current. The other reason is a fallback position, so if I needed to go back to work, I could. But I don’t see it happening.
What do you think of the current trends in publishing, such as self-publishing?
The thing that is mainly going on now in Christian fiction, due to the ability to self-publish, is there are a lot of people who no longer have their work pass inspection, if you will, by an agent or an editor or so forth. There are some people who are good writers and will employ an independent editor and have everything done the right way, but there are a number of people who really aren’t ready for prime time and publication. This is going to dilute the pool. What’s going to happen is that people are going to read these bad books and get a bad taste in their mouth. They’re going to sayI’m not going to read this genre. I’m not going to read Christian fiction.” There are going to be some good books that are brought out and there are going to be some bad books that are brought out. I fear that there may be more bad books than good books.
Would you ever consider self-publishing?
It’s kind of like going back to medicine. It’s always a fallback option. I have a blog, because all writers are supposed to have blogs. Writers are supposed to have a presence on all social media. But when are writers supposed to write? I prefer writing to marketing.
[Leslie’s Note: Since our interview, Dr. Mabry has decided to venture into self-publishing. His book, RX Murder, is currently available on Amazon. It can be purchased as an ebook or in paperback.]
What can you tell me about your next project?
Fatal Trauma begins in the emergency room where a man, the doctor, looks up to see someone standing at the entrance. A nurse is pushing a wheelchair. He has a gun to her head. He says, “My brother has been shot. You will take care of him. If he dies, everyone in here dies.”
What tips do you have for new authors?
Basically, I’d tell them what I was told. Learn the craft. Read good stuff so you know what is good. Read bad stuff so you know what to avoid. Practice. Have your work reviewed by somebody other than your mother-in-law, someone who will give you honest feedback. Rewrite, rinse and repeat.
There you have it! Fatal Trauma is available this week, in stores and online. For more inspirational news you can use, be sure to visit our Everything Inspirational page.