Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meet Lawrence W. Gold, MD--Author Extraordinaire of Medical Thrillers/Mysteries

I met Larry when I was assigned to be his editor at Moongypsy Press. That first manuscript had me hooked. I've read several of Larry's books and they just keep getting better. Meet Larry here, read about his latest release, State of Mind (Brier Hospital Series Book 8), and some words of wisdom about writing.

About Larry:

I was born in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, moved to Queens, and then, as New Yorkers say, my family 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 medical 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 and served as Chief of Internal Medicine and Family Practice. For many years, I was an active member of the quality assurance committee.

We retired in October 1995 before fate could intervene. We 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 trawler. We motored around Florida, the Bahamas, and the entire East Coast and Canada.

 I’ve written thirteen novels, nine in the Brier Hospital Series, and one non-fiction book, I Love My Doctor, But…, a lighthearted look at the patient/doctor relationship.

I write primarily to entertain, but I can’t help but pass on to readers observations and beliefs culled from years of practice, and yes, my biases, too. I strive for realism in portraying the medical scene that is gripping enough without melodrama or gimmicks.

With even a minor degree of success in writing novels, comes responsibility to readers. I attempt to produce honest material that reflects my beliefs. Exposing these beliefs to the public through my writing requires courage, stupidity, or both. My fans have been generous, and although nobody enjoys criticism, I’ve learned much from that, too.

The novel that expresses most clearly my candor, and my bias, is For the Love of God. The novel reflects my attitudes toward those who are willing to sacrifice the lives of their children for their personal religious beliefs.

We live in beautiful Grass Valley with 11 year old Bennie, a Yorkie who just looks like he’s on steroids and Wesley, a 1-year-old old rescue, a terrier of some sort.
FROM FIVE STAR REVIEW: This is the brand new (just published 1/21/15) novel by my favorite author of medical mysteries/drama. Lawrence W. Gold. MD now author extraordinaire will keep you captivated with the story lines in all his novels. I have read every one of his novels so far. You don't have to worry about reading this series in order--they are all stand alone. Dr. Gold, with his vast knowledge of the medical profession writes about timely topics within a fictional setting. State of Mind is about research and the ethical problems that can arise--especially when dealing with psychiatric problems.
Dr. Kimberly Powell, a Ph.D. in neuropsychology, works in a research lab trying to understand the roots of violence by stimulating the brains of aggressive rats to reduce their savagery.
Her successes lead to phase I safety trials in volunteers and prisoners, and then to phase II and III studies in patients.
Soon it becomes clear that Kim’s brain stimulating techniques, besides controlling aggression, offer the potential to cure a number of medical problems including Parkinson’s disease, depression, PTSD, and many others.
When the court instructs her to treat a psychopathic killer, she’s appalled. What would such a killer, if cured, still owe to his victims and to society?
The ethical implications of the research and especially its application on humans are substantial, but so, too, is her altruistic desire to help.
Where is the balance and how far and how fast should these trials proceed—and, at what cost?
Larry, on Writing:
It’s part of the national pastime to wonder “what if” and to envy those who have taken another pathway, but all occupations, to one degree or another, become mundane. So, too, it is with my time as a physician. My practice did have its exciting moments in ICU or in emergency, but perhaps not enough as I chose, in retirement, a life at sea that I can best describe as an aesthetic paradise with long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of pure terror as the sea and wind sought to have their way with us.
Writing a novel and sailing have elements in common, imagination, discipline, tolerance for frustration, the ability to delay gratification, and the optimism that tiny increments will lead, eventually, to a far destination or a four-hundred-page novel.
Readers express amazement at the ability to write a novel, but, in reality, a novel is the manifestation of many small steps and one all-encompassing idea. I like the brick wall metaphor the best. Each brick is a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or a page depending on the writer’s skill set. Each section should reflect a complete thought and end with a teaser that encourages the reader to move on to the next paragraph, page or chapter.
Of all the techniques recommended to make a novel appealing, I prefer humor the most. I especially like humor in the context of conversation—it’s the secret to bringing people together, and showing the reader the writer’s humanity at the same time. If I laugh at a line of dialogue, I know that I’ve gotten it right and that the reader is likely to share in the humor.
The writer must strike a reasonable balance between bravery and arrogance and assume that you have something to say of interest and the skill set to make it work. You either achieve that balance successfully or the readers will let you know otherwise.
For those who hate editing (content, not line editing), I believe you’re missing an opportunity. Many of my best ideas come to me in the editing process; a new plotline, a better way of saying something, and the opportunity to discover allusions and metaphors—difficult for me during the initial write. In addition, editing provides the opportunity to assess your own work. Don’t be lazy with this process for if you have questions about its quality, the reader won’t and you’ll hear about it.
A significant part about what I read about the craft of writing is crap. Popular authors, even the few excellent ones break the rules with alacrity or a keyboard. Can they break the rules because they’re successful or are they successful by breaking the rules? I really don’t know.

Clich├ęs: bad when they come out of your mouth, but perfectly fine out of the mouths of your characters, unless they are professors of English.

Passive Voice: don’t use it, if possible, but don’t write contorted prose to avoid it.

When in a character’s POV, try to avoid announcing the sense: hearing, smelling, seeing, tasting etc. The foul smell made me sick. Rather: I gagged at the foul aroma.
I heard the knock on the door. Rather: The knock on the door startled me.

Don’t lose track of your pronouns. If you lose track, your reader doesn’’t have a chance.

The writer has to be particularly talented to write long narrative passages that engage the reader. As Elmore Leonard said, “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”

If the writer isn’t moved by the novel, nobody else will be.
(Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.) 

Visit Larry's Website




1 comment:

  1. Dr. Gold is one of my favorite authors! I have also read all of his books and loved every one of them!