Debut Author ~ Dr. Richard Mabry

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dr. Richard Mabry was in the private practice of medicine for twenty-six years, then served as a professor at Southwestern Medical School for ten more before his retirement in 2002. During that time, while building a world-wide reputation as a clinician, researcher, and teacher, he wrote or edited eight textbooks and had more than one hundred papers published in medical journals.

He entered the field of non-medical writing after the death of his first wife, with the publication of his book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse (Kregel, 2006).

His first novel of medical suspense, Code Blue, will be published by Abingdon Press in April of 2010, followed this fall by the second book in the Prescription For Trouble series, Medical Error. The third book in the series, Cause Of Death, is scheduled for publication next spring.

Dr. Mabry’s work has also appeared in Christian Communicator, In Touch Magazine, Upper Room Devotional Guide, and Grief Digest, as well as a number of online ezines.

He and his wife, Kay, live in North Texas where, in addition to his writing, he works at being the world’s greatest grandfather while trying to improve his golf game.

About Code Blue:

In the first book of the Prescription for Trouble series, Code Blue means more to Dr. Cathy Sewell than the cardiac emergency she has to face. It describes her mental state as she finds that coming back to her hometown hasn’t brought her the peace she so desperately needs. Instead, it’s clear that someone there wants her gone…or dead.

Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town…or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff Dr. Marcus Bell really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will’s father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? When one of Cathy’s prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It’s soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble.


Dr. Mabry has agreed to share his experience with publication. Below, in his own words, he shares a little bit about his personal journey.
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Writing is a tough business, and if you read the publishing blogs (such as the recent posts of my agent, Rachelle Gardner) you'll find that it takes real work and real talent to succeed. But, I guess that if it were easy everyone would be doing it. If you've ever sat down and drafted a novel of 80, 100, 120 thousand words, you know that writing isn't as easy as it may sound to the unitiated.

Just recently I signed a contract with Abingdon Press for the publication of my work of romantic medical suspense. They're just getting their fiction line started, and I'm thrilled at this opportunity, but there are bound to be some of my readers who are thinking, "Why him? Why not me?" Honestly, I've thought that many times as well. Let me offer an explanation and a word of encouragement.

First, the explanation. I've paid my dues and done my homework. I've been to conferences and been mentored by some of the best (and most giving) Christian writers around: Jim Bell, Gayle Roper, Alton Gansky, Randy Ingermanson, Karen Ball, and others. I've read book after book on writing--right now I'm looking at a bookshelf that contains more than twenty-five books on the craft, and there's no dust on any of them. I've practiced the art of what Anne Lamott calls keeping your rear end on the chair and your hands on the keyboard, even when I didn't want to.

That brings me to the second point. I persisted. Many writers of my acquaintance work for years to perfect a single novel. They revise, rewrite, agonize over words and scenes, getting them just right. I did that initially, as you'll see in a minute, but I've learned better. I just went over the chronology of my road to writing, and it might interest you that it's taken me a bit less than five years to become an "overnight success" and sign this contract.

I submitted the initial query for my first novel in the summer of 2004, just about the time I also submitted the proposal for what was to become my non-fiction book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse (which was accepted after seven rejections). That first novel garnered ten rejections. I revised it extensively, reworked it meticulously, and tried again. This time I garnered thirteen rejections. My second novel was rejected seven times, including a couple of revisions. My third novel was so bad that my (then) agent rejected it as not good enough to send out. My fourth novel was rejected ten times, and I figured that was enough. By that time I'd been writing for almost four years and, although I'd had a non-fiction book published and my work had appeared numerous times in periodicals, I felt like I wasn't cut out to be a novelist. So I ended my representation agreement with my agent and stopped writing.

Then editor-turned-agent Rachelle Gardner had a contest on her blog, offering a prize for the best first line for a novel. I dashed off one and was totally surprised when I saw that I'd won with my line. The prize was a critique of the first several pages of a work-in-progress, so I sent Rachelle the first scene of my latest novel--the one that had been rejected ten times. Her comment was, "Send me something that needs editing." One thing led to another, and I submitted a query about representation. She accepted me, and I got back to writing.

But the happy ending didn't come yet. There were three rejections before Rachelle pitched the work to Barbara Scott, the new chief fiction editor for Abingdon Press. Barbara liked the work, she and I met at the ACFW, and about six weeks later I got the call from Rachelle: "You've sold your first novel." It was wonderful, but the point of all this is that, before that call came, I'd written four novels (five counting totally reworking number one) over a period of over four years, been rejected more than forty times, and completely quit writing once!

So, to my colleagues who haven't received that phone call yet, my hope is that you won't give up. Just remember, "Nothing is impossible with God."
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Be sure to check out The Borrowed Book on Thursday, 04/08/10. I will be posting an excerpt from Dr. Mabry's debut novel, Code Blue.

2 comments:

David said...

As i gone through this blog m eager to read code blue.Medical Locum Work

Keli Gwyn said...

Richard, I like your line, "I've paid my dues and done my homework." I've interviewed a number of debut romance novelists on my blog Romance Writers on the Journey. One thing I've noted repeatedly is that they've done the same. Getting published takes persistence, a willingness to learn, and hard work. You persisted, studied craft, and worked hard. You sowed and now you're reaping the rewards, and I'm so happy for you.

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