Greetings from the Sunny South, where the heat and humidity zap your strength and make you so thankful for air conditioning! I’m C. Kevin Thompson, and I want to welcome Dr. Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to the Christian Authors Network’s front porch! We are so glad you make house calls, Dr. Mabry. Thanks for stopping by.
So, what’s been happening in your writing world? Tell us about your latest book, Doctor’s Dilemma.
Young surgeon Tyler Gentry thought the offer to join the Hall Group of surgeons offered the answer to his problems, but things changed when he received a 3 AM phone call that told him such a move would be hazardous to his health.
I hate getting those phone calls. Don’t you? What inspired you to write this book?
It was a continuing sequence of “what ifs” that began with something I read on the Internet. I was surprised when I learned the amount of debt a medical student accrues during his education nowadays. From that point, I began to wonder what would happen if plans for entering practice blow up in a young doctor’s face so that he finds himself scrambling for a place where he can earn enough to get himself out of debt. Then I decided to have him fall for a beautiful nurse who has no intention of ever making herself vulnerable to another man again. Stir well, and you have Doctor’s Dilemma.
Sounding a little James Bond-ish, there, Doc. Stirred, not shaken. So, why did you write this particular book?
There are two answers here. One is because I wanted to show readers that doctors are humans with problems, such as med school loans and the problem of finding a place they can put into practice what they’ve learned. They, like so many of us, let their relationship with God slide because of the pressures of life—but others can help set them back on the path, and God is right there where they left Him.
The other reason is because I, like some of my colleagues, got caught up in the changes in publishing so that my next novel didn’t get released as anticipated…and I got tired of people asking when they’d see my next book. So I released this self-published novella.
What’s your favorite scene and/or section in this book?
Honestly, it’s hard to pick just one (sort of like a parent naming a favorite child), but I particularly like the first scene. Dr. Tyler Gentry thought that, despite all the obstacles in his path, perhaps this opportunity for practice would be a dream position. Then suddenly, an anonymous phone call at 3 AM makes him think perhaps it’s going to be a nightmare.
Three-in-the-morning phone calls never start or end well, do they? So, when crafting your stories, how do you share Christ in your writing? What themes do you return to again and again?
I don’t recall that in any of my books I’ve included an altar call or laid out the plan of salvation. Instead, I show that God is always there in our everyday life. What I’ve tried to do is demonstrate that Christians aren’t immune from trouble—quite the opposite—but they are able to work through it with His help.
What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
I read about colleagues who like to take their laptop into Starbucks or find a cozy spot on the back porch. That won’t work for me. I sort of like what I have. My office is so small you have to step outside to change your mind, but once I walk inside I know it’s time to write. I use a laptop, connected to an external keyboard and monitor for that. And I stop working when my wife shows up at the office’s open door. I may be a writer, but some things are more important to me than getting the words down right.
Very interesting. My set up (laptop, wireless keyboard, monitor) is the same. So is my “wife in the doorway” policy. Maybe your “wide in the doorway policy” is one of them, but what is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Non-writers want to know how to get published, thinking apparently there’s some kind of secret I’ve discovered. The only secret I know is to learn the craft, write, revise, write some more, and keep at it. I’m also asked, “When will your next book come out?” That depends on the publisher and a lot of other factors. Indie-publishing has made this go faster, but the fact is that it still takes an author a lot longer to write and edit a book than it does a reader to go through it.
Amen to that. I saw a Facebook post recently that said, “Someone can spend $5.00 on a cup of coffee that’s produced in three minutes, and feel obligated to tip the barista, while at the same time, smile and be appreciative. Yet, while holding that same cup of coffee, they’ll read a book (in the same coffee shop, I might add) and complain that the author is asking for $3.99 for an electronic version or $10.99 for a paperback version of a novel that took six months to create. #allaboutperspective
But I digress. Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
I’ve had several occasions when I was about ready to give up, only to receive a message from a reader telling me how much one of my novels has meant to them. Probably the most meaningful was the email that said, in essence, “I never liked Christian fiction…until I read your books.” That kept me writing for a while.
I’ll bet it did! On that note, what talents do you have aside from storytelling that changes the minds of readers toward Christian fiction?
When it comes to languages, I’m the epitome of the expression, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I speak some Spanish, a bit of French and Italian, used to be fluent in German, and even learned some Portuguese when I was serving in the Azores, but I still have to look up certain words in English.
I’ve attended church for many decades, and have served a couple of times as interim music minister. I’ve read the Bible many times over, have taught High School Bible Credit years ago, yet I still learn things every time I hear my pastor preach.
Then there’s my athletic prowess. When I played baseball, I could throw a curve but couldn’t hit one. As a golfer—well, it’s nice to get out in the open air, and I occasionally hit a shot worth remembering.
That is a lot of “trades.” What do you read for pleasure, and what are you reading right now?
Most of the reading I do is fiction. I just finished Rick Acker’s latest, The Enoch Effect (great book). Currently on my nightstand is the first volume of the Harbingers cycle, written by Bill Meyers, Frank Peretti, Angie Hunt, and Alton Gansky.
Dr. Mabry, thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us! But before you go, tell us about your next project.
My next full-length novel is Cardiac Event. The publisher and time of release haven’t been settled, but here’s a bit about it:
Cardiologist Dr. Kirk Martin continually crosses swords with Dr. Cliff Hamilton, so he is surprised when Hamilton asks him to care for him after a heart attack. When he is ready for discharge, Hamilton is found dead in his hospital bed, and Martin is suspected of murdering him.
When another doctor is found shot to death, nurse Janet Rush reminds Martin to be careful because he may be next. Can he save his own life while searching for the identity of the real murderer?
That sounds very interesting…
Thanks again for sharing with us!
Until next time,
May God bless you, and may you bless God.