By John Raab
Richard Mabry, MD has authored several medical thrillers, many of them having been nominated for various literary awards. He’s created a new genre within the genre by writing, what he calls, medical suspense—with a heart. Now, he’s back with his latest book FATAL TRAUMA.
Mabry has practiced medicine for thirty-six years, written more than a hundred papers, spoken around the world, penned several textbooks, served in the Armed Forces, and still has energy to write fantastic suspense books. His latest brings the same passion as his previous novels, giving fans exactly what they’ve come to expect.
In an exclusive interview with The Big Thrill, Mabry talks about the inspiration behind FATAL TRAUMA, the writing process, and what’s next for him.
Give us an inside look into your latest release, FATAL TRAUMA.
In the opening scene, a gun-wielding man bursts into the ER with a wounded patient in a wheelchair, saying that if the man dies, he’ll kill everyone in the room. The stakes get even higher for the ER doctor when he recognizes that the nurse pushing the wheelchair, a gun at her head, is the woman he’s been dating.
Can you tell us about Dr. Mark Baker—why was he the perfect person for this story?
Dr. Baker represents so many of us in the profession at some stage in our practice of medicine—we’re beset by self-doubt, we second guess our decisions and motivations, and it often takes someone like nurse Kelly Atkinson to shore us up and help us through these tough times.
When writing a medical thriller as a doctor, how difficult is it for you to write for people that don’t know a lot about medicine?
This is a tough task, but one at which I work very hard. I slip in explanations as necessary, trying not to be obvious about it. Here’s an example from FATAL TRAUMA, in which I try to accurately describe emergency surgery for a gunshot wound without losing the reader in technical jargon:
“In the operating room, a germicidal solution splashed on Ed Purvis’s abdomen by the circulating nurse turned the pale skin bronze. The scrub nurse hurriedly placed sterile green sheets around the operative area. While the anesthesiologist was still injecting medication into the patient’s IV line to relax him, Mark, now clad in a sterile gown, reached out a gloved hand for the scalpel and made a vertical incision that opened Purvis’s abdominal cavity wide.”
What was the hardest part for you in writing the book?
One of the most difficult things for me in any book is to keep the action moving. I try to follow the advice of agent Donald Maass: “Imagine the worst thing that can happen to your hero. Then make it worse.” In FATAL TRAUMA, Dr. Mark Baker is already ashamed of the emotions he demonstrates when at gunpoint. Then he finds he’s both the target of a revenge killing and a suspected murderer.
What can fans expect to see from you in the future?
I actually already have three novels written and edited, ready for release soon. After FATAL TRAUMA comes Miracle Drug, due for release this fall. I wrote it before Ebola hit the front pages, so I had to do a lot of research on my own for this one. In it, an ex-president of the US is infected with an illness that is untreatable and generally fatal. The doctor called on to treat him finds that his almost-fiancé, who accompanied the ex-president on the fact-finding trip, has the same illness. There’s an experimental drug that may work—but there is not enough available to treat two patients.
Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now the author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel; finalists for the Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award; and winner of the Selah Award. Fatal Trauma is his eighth published medical thriller.
To learn more about Richard, please visit his website.