Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of five published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. His last novel, Lethal Remedy, won a 2012 Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. His most recent medical thriller, Stress Test (Thomas Nelson), will release in April, to be followed by Heart Failure in October.
Richard, what's your newest book called and what's it about?
Stress Test is scheduled for release in early April, but is already available through every major bookseller. There’s a preview posted on my website, and here’s the back cover copy.
-Which of your characters is most like you and why?
That would be Dr. Ben Merrick, and before your readers start thumbing through my books, he hasn’t seen the light of day yet. Ben is the protagonist in my very first (unpublished) novel, working title More Than A Game, playing a failed baseball player who goes on to medical school, but gets discouraged with his practice and looks for a way back into baseball.
Not only is my background similar (played semi-pro ball, could throw the curve but not hit it), but like Ben I’ve wondered at times if it was too late to find another profession. Now, after retirement, it appears that I have. Carrie's note: I've had the privilege of reading the opening of More Than A Game and I love it! It's the story that made me Richard's fan before he was published.
-How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
Unfortunately, it always seems that when I finish a book I’m also involved in marketing the last one and thinking up an idea for the next one. However, we sometimes celebrate with a dinner at some purveyor of comfort food, like Gazebo Hamburgers or El Fenix Mexican Restaurant. (What, you were expecting fine dining featuring champagne and caviar? Let me explain to you about royalties sometime).
-What's your favorite part of the writing process?
Once I have the first draft finished, I get to go through the book page by page and make it better without having to wonder where the action is going or how the plot will devolve. That’s fun.
On the other hand, I don’t particularly like responding to line edits, when it can seem as though someone is leaning over my shoulder, whispering in my ear. Go figure!
-What's your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
I can distill what I’ve learned into three phrases: 1) Learn the craft, 2) attend at least one writer’s conference, and 3) write, get your work critiqued by someone who knows what they’re doing, revise, repeat the process again and again and again. I think it takes all three to become a successful writer.
-When you read for pleasure, what's your favorite genre?
I enjoy suspense and thrillers, often with a touch of humor. Unfortunately, many of the authors whose work I love to read are now dead—Dorothy Sayers, Ross Thomas, Donald Westlake, Robert B. Parker—but their work is so good I keep re-reading it. Some of the work of James Scott Bell’s has a similar feel, and I enjoy it. And I’m sure I’ll think of other names as soon as this is over.
-Any last words?
Did the Governor call? Oh, wait. You don’t mean that kind of last words.
To the writers out there: If you find that, even after deciding to quit writing, you keep coming back to your computer, turning over ideas, trying out scenarios in your mind—don’t stop. You’re a writer, whether you’re ever published. You can’t “not” write. It’s your calling.
To the readers: Thanks for inviting me into your home. I hope I can entertain you and glorify God. If I accomplish those two things, I’ll feel I have succeeded.
To my host: Carrie, Gayle Roper’s class at Mount Hermon was a great place to start my road to writing. It was a pleasure to share it with you, and I continue to value your friendship. Thanks for having me here.
Richard, it was my pleasure. I've enjoyed your writing since that group and you've only gotten better! Thank you for letting me turn the spotlight on you.