I’ve been in Texas since birth with the exception of three years overseas in the Air Force. I was in solo practice of ENT (ear, nose, throat) for 26 years, a professor at the UT Southwestern Medical Center for 10 years, and have been retired for 11 now. I started writing after the death of my first wife in 1999, eventually writing a book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, published by Kregel in 2006 and still in print. While I was trying to write my non-fiction book, several writers encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. After four years, four novels, and forty rejections I got my first fiction contract.
How many books have you written/published and which one was the toughest to write?
I’ve had six (soon to be seven) novels of medical suspense published. But the hardest book to write wasn’t one of my novels. It was The Tender Scar. Even now, when I read some of the chapters I cry.
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?
Some years back, I played beach volleyball with Franco Harris and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Hawaii. And even though I was younger then, when we finished, Franco shook my hand and said, “Thank you, sir.” That’s when I knew I was getting old.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Unlike the “plotters” among authors, when I start writing a novel, I have no idea who the bad person will turn out to be. As Donald Westlake, who called this “push fiction,” said: “If I don’t know what comes next, how can the reader guess it?”
Where do you like to write?
I have a small (I mean, really small) office at home. After coffee and the news, I go in and check email, read blogs, and then try to get to work. And in case anyone is curious, no, I don’t have a word quota. Sometimes life gets in the way. But I always seem to make my deadlines.
When you are writing a book, do you just write as you go or do you have a set outline for the novel?
When I start a novel, I begin with a “hook,” then I populate the novel with the main characters. I decide on the opening and ending scenes, figure out what kind of twist(s) I can put in to avoid a “sagging middle,” and then see where the characters lead me. I’ve usually written about a fourth of the book before things solidify.
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
I think it’s true—writers don’t enjoy writing, they enjoy having written. I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish each stage of the novel. But I hate wondering why I got to a particular tough spot and how my character is going to get out of it.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Kay and I have four grandchildren, three of whom are within reasonable driving distance, and they keep us busy. We’re active in our church. I play golf every Wednesday, weather permitting. And we both enjoy reading (when we have time). Retired or not, we never seem to have much free time.
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
We’ve been to so many great places I’d like to visit again, we don’t do a lot of planning to try new places. First, we want to go back to Maui, Germany (the Black Forest), western Canada, and several others.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
When Cynthia died, I clung to Romans 8:38-39. Recently I’ve begun to add Psalm 139:1-5 below my signature on my novels. Beyond that, my favorite verse can change according to circumstances. And, for writers, there’s always Ecclesiastes 12:12.
Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
To show my age (and predilection for good movies—what ever happened to them?), I like Kismet and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.
What's your favorite season and why is it your fav?
I enjoy spring, because it marks baseball spring training. Second best is the fall…football season.
What's your favorite party food?
No contest—fried shrimp, with plenty of red sauce for dipping.
Some this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?
Love snow, if I can enjoy it through a window, near a fireplace.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee to about 10 AM, iced tea with lunch and sometimes dinner. Hot tea? The English know how to serve it: with milk and sugar.
Call or Text?
I’m old-fashioned…call, definitely.
Cats or Dogs?
Dogs, but my preference is that they stay outside and someone else takes care of them. (Actually, there may have been times I could say that about my children, too.)
Early-bird or Night-owl?
Early-bird, probably a hangover from so many years of rising early to get to the operating room.
Introvert or Extrovert?
No matter what you see on the outside, beneath it all, I’m an introvert.
Facebook or Twitter?
I engage in both, but prefer Twitter. If you can’t say it in 140 characters, send me an email.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, would you give us a hint?
As you know, the publishing world works waaaaay ahead. My next novel, Critical Condition, scheduled to release April 15 from Thomas Nelson, is already done—edited and ready to print. Now I’m working on a novel, Surgical Judgment. Here’s the tag line and tease:
It began with Dr. Mark Baker facing a gunman who had nothing to lose. It could end with Mark behind bars.
In the Emergency Room, Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Linda Atkinson stand at the mercy of a gunman who declares, “If he dies, everyone here dies.” Mark’s quick thinking saves their lives, but at the end of the evening three men lie dead. One of them is a police officer whom Mark and a surgeon, Dr. Anna King, couldn’t save. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel, subsequenly putting at risk the lives of Mark, Linda, and others.
Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of six (soon to be seven) 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 novel, Lethal Remedy, won a 2012 Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. His medical thriller, Stress Test (Thomas Nelson), garnered rave reviews from Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Richard’s latest novel, Heart Failure, released on October 15.
You can learn more about Richard at his website: rmabry.com. He can be found on GoodReads, Twitter, and his Facebook fan page is “rmabrybooks.”
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