Monday, May 23, 2016

Richard Mabry's "Medical Judgment"

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

 Click on the image below to be directed to Amazon for purchase:


  1. Thanks for having me. I hope your blog readers will enjoy getting to know me a bit better...and one of them will receive a complimentary copy of Medical Judgment.

  2. I have been reading about your books other places. I haven't read one yet but they sound interesting--like they will hold my interest through the book. :). I enjoyed learning more about your writing process.

  3. Your books are great. Thanks for the contest. rose blackard @ gmail dot com

  4. It sounds like you've had a very interesting life so far. The oops with the elephant sounds a bit scary.

  5. Your medical related suspense novels will be all the more richer from your writing with experience in the medical field. Your 'Medical Judgement' novel sounds thrilling! What a nice change in careers! I wish you great success! Phyllis

  6. We have all of Dr. Mabry's books in the church library except for this one. Our library readers are anxiously waiting .....
    Janet E.

  7. Thanks to all of you who commented. Janet E's comment has been randomly chosen to receive the book.