Thursday, February 7, 2013

AN INTERVIEW WITH LAWRENCE W. GOLD, M.D., AUTHOR OF MEDICAL FICTION & ACTION THRILLERS


Today I’m hosting Lawrence W. Gold, M.D., author of several medical action thrillers which have been enjoying phenomenal sales. RAGE is his latest title. Below is Larry’s bio and my interview with him.
 

 
 
 I was born in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, moved to Queens, and then, as New Yorkers say, we ascended to the Island.
After graduating from Valley Stream Central High School, I went to Adelphi, a college then, a university now, and then to medical school in Chicago.
The war in Vietnam interrupted my postgraduate training with a year in Colorado Springs and another as a Battalion Surgeon in Vietnam. I spent seven months in the Central Highlands with the 4th Infantry and five months in an evacuation hospital in Long Binh outside Saigon where I ran the emergency room.

I returned intact in 1968 to complete my training in internal medicine and diseases of the kidney, nephrology.

I worked for twenty-three years in Berkeley, California in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses often in ICU and served as Chief of Medicine.

My wife Dorlis and I retired in October 1995 and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for a life at sea in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Four years later, exhausted from repairing everything on board, (often many times) we sold the sailboat and within a year took the lazy man’s out; we bought a Nordic Tug, a trawler. We motored around Florida, the Bahamas, the entire East Coast and completed two ‘Circle trips’ to Canada and back, eight months, the first time, five months, the second.

I wrote professionally as a physician to inform but rarely to entertain, at least not on purpose.

The original FIRST, DO NO HARM was published in April 2007. NO CURE FOR MURDER, August 2011. THE SIXTH SENSE, 2012, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, 2012, and RAGE, 2012.

In the last few years, I’ve written three screenplays based on my novels and hope to see one or more produced for the screen. I submitted my screenplay, Rage to the 80th Annual Writers Digest contest and won honorable mention (57 out of 11,000). Freud’s Law, a proposal for a TV drama series is based on RAGE.

We live in beautiful Grass Valley with 15-year-old Mike, a terrier mix and Bennie, a 7-year- old purebred Yorkie who looks like he’s on steroids, but he’s not.

How do you relax?
      After writing most of the day, I need to veg. TV or a good book before the fireplace.

      What kind of books do you love to read? Why? 
      Mostly, I read the book types that I write. Adventure, thrillers, mysteries, interspersed with non-fiction on subjects that catch my attention.

      What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to?
      Classical and oldies.

      What is your stress buster?
      When depressed I watch Dave or The American President or anything that Aaron Sorkin has written, or play the piano. 

      What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you’re sad, sort of a comfort food?
      Anyone who says they don’t like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is lying.

      Describe yourself in one word.
      Determined.

      If a fairy grants you one wish and one wish only, what would it be? Why?
            A peaceful world free of political strife.

            What’s your biggest regret in life?
            Starting too slow and working hard to catch up.

      What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
      Retired early and left a lucrative practice for a life at sea.

      What makes you happy/sad/disappointed/frustrated/hopeful/angry? (Pick one)
      Humanity can do much better, but it doesn’t.

      What are your wildest dreams/fantasies/kinks/quirks?
      I wish I had the talent to be a great musician.

      How would readers find out more about you?
     Visit my website: www.lawrencewgoldmd.com

            Your writing: 

      When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it?
      My first novel was FIRST, DO NO HARM. It’s based on my experience as a physician in a community hospital.

      Did you encounter any obstacles in writing? What are they? How did you overcome them?
      I knew little or nothing about the craft of writing. Had good ideas, but no effective way to have them come through. I met my agent is a fiction critique group. She encouraged me and demanded excellence.

      How did you feel when you receive your first contract? What did you do? Any celebratory dinner, dance, event, etc to commemorate the occasion?
      Felt great. Although less important today, the contract labeled me as a “published author.”  

      Any writing peeves, things you wish you could improve on, things you do with exceptional talent?
      Although I enjoy writing, it’s work. It takes energy and determination. I wish I could bottle those days when the writing and the ideas just flow.
      While many writers hate editing, I enjoy it (except for line editing) as I always find something to improve.

      What kind of books do you love/hate to write? Why?
      I won’t write anything I don’t like. I’ve started several novels of value, but have abandoned them because they weren’t “commercial enough”. If I was famous, I could write anything I liked without such considerations.

      Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason?
      We live in a forest in the Sierra foothills. My desk sits before a window and I can watch as wildlife passes by, esp. deer. I’m a morning person.

      How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books.
      Either the plot of the characters come to me first, but either way, I keep a firm grip on the ultimate plot line goal. I agree with Stephen King that characters will show you the way.

      What books can you recommend to aspiring writers to improve on style, character development, plot, structure, dialogue, etc?
      Sol Stein’s books on writing are a great start. Too many other great ones, but I’d recommend trying to write a movie or TV script. Scripts never let you tell anything. You can only show.

      What is your must-have book for writing?
      Too many books.
      Software: Thesaurus.com and Masterwriter.

      What is your advice to aspiring writers?
      If you have a creative mind, the rest is craft. Learning the craft isn’t easy and takes time.

            Your books:

      What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
      Medical fiction and action thrillers.  I see the need for medical fiction that can be compelling and yet, reflect reality.

      Among those that you’ve written, which is your favorite book and why?
      That’s like asking which of your children do you like best.
      I love The Sixth Sense for the best combination of medical drama, humor, and its potential to teach painlessly.

      Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook, in case you forgot?
      Who knows? Often they come from some event, circumstance etc. that annoys me enough to write a letter to the editor or write a novel.
      I jot notes in my iPhone. If you have a good idea and don’t write it down somewhere, it’s likely to disappear.

      Which book is the closest to your heart? Why?
      WATER FOR ELEPHANTS: great characterizations and emotional depth.
      My novel FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, about the persistent practices of faith healers that kill and injure children.
 
      Which of your books feature your family/friends, etc? What characters are modeled after them? Why?
      All of my characters are composites. Jacob Weizman in NO CURE FOR MURDER is based on several elderly physicians I met in practice.

      Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you? Why?
      None, really. Many have characteristics I’d love to claim or at least inspire to.

      Who is your strongest/sexiest/most lovable/hottest hero/heroine? Why?
      No sexy or hot in my work, but many lovable characters (I hope).

      Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?
      Yes, like Stephen King, I let my characters go where they may, trying to keep them as close as possible to the plot line.

      Tell us more about your latest release:
      RAGE: When normal people suddenly become violent, it’s up to Michael Rose, a forensic psychiatrist to understand what happened and why.

      Any new projects, work in progress?
      TORTURED MEMORY should be out soon. Abbie Adler is a child psychiatrist who specializes in abused children. As a victim of abuse herself, she brings a special understanding to her patients. The police find Abbie one morning in a catatonic state. She’s been traumatized, but remembers nothing. The novel: what happened? Why did it happen? What lies ahead? 

Click below for the slideshow for Larry’s novels:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX7sb_QK2dc

You can contact Larry on FB, his blog, website, Email and Twitter: 

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