by C.J. Darlington
Richard Mabry Interview
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"I wish the average person knew more about the stresses a doctor faces..." -- Richard Mabry
After his retirement from a distinguished career as a physician and medical educator, Richard turned his talents to non-medical writing. Lethal Remedy is his fourth novel in the Prescription For Trouble series, featuring medical suspense. Richard and his wife, Kay, make their home in North Texas, where he continues his struggles to master golf and be the world’s most perfect grandfather.
What is the number one reason why you write fiction?
Honestly, I sort of backed into writing fiction. After the death of my first wife, I wanted to turn my journaling into a book to help others going through a similar loss, but had no idea how to do it. I attended a Christian writer’s conference, where not only did I begin learning what I needed to know to produce what eventually was published as The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, but James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was a great way to occupy my mind so I persisted.
You’ve experienced many highs and lows in your writing journey. What has kept you writing, even during the tougher times?
What kept me writing?
At first, a perceived call—after that, pure
stubbornness. At that writer’s conference, I definitely felt God leading
me to write. But multiple rejections piled up, and I decided I was misinterpreting
God’s call, so I quit writing. Then, in what can only be considered
a “God thing,” a door opened for me and I got an offer of representation
by my current agent, followed by my first fiction contract.
Where did you get the idea for Lethal Remedy?
My thirty-six years of medical practice, ten of them as a medical school professor, included participation in several research projects. In addition, I served as a consultant to several pharmaceutical firms. Although I never observed any of this, I sometimes read in newspapers or professional journals of research that had been fabricated for various reasons. I began wondering what some of the consequences might be if “doctored” research results were used to push a sorely needed drug onto the market without adequate safeguards. That was the beginning of Lethal Remedy.
Is Staph luciferus an infection you ever dealt with personally in your medical profession? If so, when and how? If not, what sort of research did you have to conduct to write about it?
Staph luciferus, the devil’s staph, is something I concocted for this story. I wanted to move beyond the current group of resistant bacteria to something against which there would only be one possible answer, a drug with potential side effects that have been hidden along the way. Since, like most doctors, I was familiar with the resistant strains of bacteria, all I had to do was choose an evil-sounding name and give it even worse characteristics. Glad you bought the concept.
What do you wish the average person knew about being a doctor?
I wish the average person knew more about the stresses a doctor faces—not just the stresses of dealing day after day with illness and knowing there’s precious little room for error in diagnosis and treatment, but also the hassle of paperwork, regulations, competition among specialties, and the other things that make physicians burn out so quickly.
On the other hand, I wish the average doctor knew more about the fears patients have when they’re sitting in that office, totally unsure of what the doctor might find and its consequences in their lives. I tried to be sensitive to such concerns, and I hope I succeeded.
What surprised you most during the writing of this novel?
It was surprising to reacquaint myself with the safeguards in place to assure that the medications given our patients are safe, yet see that in extreme cases, given enough money, greed, and motivation, they may be circumvented. I’m thankful for the fact that pharmaceutical companies and doctors don’t behave the way their fictional counterparts do in this story.
Did it surprise you at all to have the chance to write a fourth book in your Prescription for Trouble series? How did its publication come about?
I had a series of contracts
with Abingdon Press. The first was for one book, which made sense, since
I was unknown to them and they were just
getting their fiction line started. I had my second book already written
by the time I got that first contract, and when my agent pitched it, Abingdon
offered a two-book contract. Because I thought I was getting the hang of
things, I developed another book, and before my agent could pitch it elsewhere,
Barbara Scott at Abingdon had looked at it, called and said, in effect, “You
know what? Let’s make it four books.” That was a pleasant surprise.
What’s the number one thing you want readers to take away from Lethal Remedy?
I want my readers to see how the various characters handle adversity, and the effect of dependence on their Christian faith.
What’s next for you in the fiction department?
I’m about halfway into the first draft of a book about a doctor who leaves the ER after midnight and is kidnapped, thrown in the trunk of his car, and driven away to be killed. He manages to escape, at the price of a head injury that requires emergency surgery. He awakens in the ICU to discover that he’s suspected of murder. As things go from bad to worse, he finds that his only hope lies in a red-haired attorney who has just declared she wants nothing to do with doctors in the future.
Watch the trailer for LETHAL REMEDY:
C.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.