Author Interview – RICHARD MABRY
On January 29 & 30, the second annual Weekend with the Writers Mini-Conference
ill take place here in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina which is my stomping grounds.
So, this month I’m featuring the guest speakers from the conference
in an Interview Blitz. Each week I will introduce you to
one of the speakers at the conference. (three of whom I met at last year’s conference)
ope you enjoy getting to know each of the fanTAStic authors!
WEEKEND WITH THE WRITERS CONFERENCE INTERVIEW BLITZ
“He doesn’t preach. He doesn’t teach. He is a master at Show and Tell.” -The Suspense Zone. “… there’s more to [Dr. Mabry] than “M.D.” covers.” His medical specialty was otolaryngology (fun word that means ear, nose, and throat doctor.) He received the Air force Commendation medal for saving a girl’s life in the Azores and he says his greatest reward in medicine is “seeing patients get better under [his] care.”
I owe a particular thanks to Dr. Mabry for being a great resource in my research for my latest novel; one of my characters suffers a tragic accident and I needed to know what injuries were plausible from such a fall. Many thanks to Dr. Mabry for his help.
And now, please give a big welcome to Dr. RICHARD MABRY.
rem: Thank you, Richard, for being on my blog this week. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Richard: I was born in northern Texas, went to college and medical school in this area, had a three year “vacation” with Uncle Sam serving at the 1605th Air Force Hospital in the Azores, then came back to the Dallas area to practice. After I retired from medicine, we moved to a northern suburb of Dallas.
rem: I have not served in the military, but I am a military brat—USAF as a matter of fact. Tell us three things about yourself.
- Along the way I’ve served as a music minister for three Baptist congregations
- I’ve played beach volleyball with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Hawaii
- I had a year playing semi-pro baseball, but although I could throw a curve ball, I couldn’t hit one.
rem: Vollyball, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Hawaii are not often seen together in the same sentence. LOL Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?
Richard: Coffee in the morning—a couple of cups. Iced tea with artificial sweetener when we eat out.
rem: I gotta have my morning coffee, then I’m a tea drinker all day long, unsweet. Vacation: beach or mountains?
Richard: The mountains are pretty, but in my heart of hearts I still prefer the beach.
rem: Both have much to offer to the soul. What is your greatest regret?
Richard: It wasn’t until late in my life that I realized that the pleasure was as much in the journey as in arriving at the destination. I wish I’d learned that sooner
rem: Powerful lesson. I think perhaps the journey of learning that is part of the lesson. What do you do as a hobby?
Richard: I’m not sure whether it’s a hobby or an obsession, but since I’ve been retired I play golf about once a week, weather and schedule permitting. My golf partner and I don’t keep score, preferring to enjoy being outdoors and marveling at our occasional good shots while not worrying about the bad ones.
rem: Good way to play! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?
Richard: A story has to hold my interest in the first few pages. I have to want to know what comes next. Otherwise, I file it under “life’s too short.” And my pet peeve—one I’ve held since my first class in writing—is the author who switches point of view in the middle of a scene. That’s just wrong.
rem: Not only is that “just wrong” but confusing, too. Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?
Richard: I’ve read mystery, suspense, action, and thrillers for many years, starting long before I had my first novel published. Although there are numerous authors whose work I admire, when I need to escape for a while I pull out and reread books by authors like Robert B. Parker, Michael Palmer, Ross Thomas. Incidentally, all these men are deceased, which may say something about my taste in books.
rem: Sounds like your taste runs to classic, time-honored prose. What would you do if you weren’t writing?
Richard: My initial response is “Probably drive my wife crazy.” But in actuality, if God hadn’t directed my path toward writing, I’d probably still be teaching doctors-in-training, trying to pass on what I’ve learned in my time in practice.
rem: And that shows up in your writing, does it not? What is your writing routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
Richard: After coffee and breakfast, I repair to my tiny office, which is where I write, using a Mac laptop with a peripheral keyboard and monitor. Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t set a daily or weekly goal for so many words or pages. A lot of it depends on the ideas buzzing around in my head, my schedule, and other things. But I always meet my deadlines.
rem: I’m so not a plotter/planner, and follow the buzzing in my head too, to a fault. That’s one of my goals for this year, to tighten that and be more productive. Tell us a little about your writing journey. How did you transition from doctor to author?
Richard: In 1999, my wife of forty years, Cynthia, suffered a sudden, terminal stroke. I started using journaling to help channel my grief. A friend read my raw journalings and insisted I write a book—something about which I had not the tiniest clue. But after attending a couple of writing retreats and studying numerous books on the craft, I began querying editors. (This was in the days before agents became the gatekeepers of publication). Several years passed, and like most authors I received a lot of rejections. But eventually Kregel Publications gave me a contract to publish The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse. I’m pleased to say that, after a decade in print, it’s still ministering to those who’ve suffered the loss of a loved one.
At the first writing conference I attended, a couple of writers (James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky) suggested I try my hand at writing a novel. I accepted the challenge. After four years and four novels that garnered forty rejections, I got my first contract. My last book, Miracle Drug, was my ninth published novel.
rem: I’m so sorry about the loss of your wife. But I also can’t think of a better way to “channel your grief” and then to minister to others. Thank you for sharing your story with others who have faced the same loss.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Richard: In Miracle Drug, a doctor is suddenly thrust into the role of personal physician to a former president of the US. Then that ex-president returns from a fact-finding trip from South America with an infection by a rare and universally fatal disease. The nurse who accompanied him is also infected…and she’s the doctor’s fiancé. When he learns of an experimental drug that may reverse the course of the infection, it turns out that there may only be enough to treat one patient.
I hope your readers will check out that book, and will enjoy it the numerous others I’ve written, as well.
rem: I know I can’t wait to get my hands on it! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?
Richard: When we look to God for help in our decisions, He’ll guide us in the right direction—but we have to be prepared to take the heat if what we do is unpopular or seems wrong.
rem: That’s a powerful message, Doctor. Thanks for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure having you on my blog!
Connect with Dr. Mabry at:
#richardmabry, #weekendwiththewriters, #authorinterview, #thetenderscar, #miracledrug