We're happy to have Richard Mabry with us today talking about his book Medical Judgment.
* Which books on writing have been the most helpful to you and why?
I really like James Scott Bell’s book on Plot and Structure, and still use its principles when I start a novel. Noah Lukeman’s A Dash Of Style helped me get the nuts and bolts of punctuation correct. And for a look inside writing, I like Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies For Fun And Profit.
* What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
I start out with a hook—a single sentence that gives the gist of the story. I formulate the opening, determine what “surprise” I can put in to avoid a sagging middle, and then come up with what Bell calls a “knockout ending.” I populate the story with the main characters before getting started, knowing I’ll add details of the secondary individuals as they pop up.
* Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Although I put together all the information noted above before getting started, after that it’s purely “seat of the pants” writing. But rather than “pantser,” I prefer Donald Westlake’s term: “push fiction.” His theory is that if he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, it’s unlikely the reader will, either.
*What's next for you?
My current release, Medical Judgment, is set for publication on May 17. It tells the story of a widowed physician who depends for help on her late husband’s best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective as she tries to determine the person who’s trying to kill her.
After that will come Cardiac Event, which is to be released this fall by a new publisher (whom I’m not yet at liberty to name—sorry).
* Tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you.
I was in medical practice for thirty-six years and in addition to my clinical work, teaching, and writing, I lectured both in the US and abroad. Kay and I spent our honeymoon in Singapore and Thailand (where I almost pushed her off her seat atop an elephant).
I’ve filled in as minister of music on a number of occasions, and have even preached a few times.
I love baseball, and have played alongside such greats as Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford (at fantasy camp, of course).
*How can readers get in contact with you?
I blog twice a week at a site called Random Jottings. My web page has a lot of information about me and about my books. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. And my email address is DrRLMabry@gmail.com.