Carol Shields once said, “Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find.” When does a writer’s story begin forming? How long does it take to write? What were the finishing touches? We’ve asked Richard Mabry, author of Stress Test, to tell us the story behind the story.
Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did your inspiration spark from?
This one was a direct result of something author Alton Gansky taught me at the onset of my road to writing: Always ask, “What if?” <click to tweet> In this case, the opening scene of the book sprang almost fully formed into my imagination when I was in the dark parking garage at our medical center one night and wondered, “What if a doctor were kidnapped here? And what if he didn’t even know why?”
How long did your book take you to write?
Other than my first novel, which took about a year to write and polish, the final manuscript of all my subsequent ones have been completed in about six months. Stress Test was no exception. (Of course, then there was the editing, which is another story).
How long was the editing/publishing process?
Longer and slower than anyone would ever wish. The completed manuscript was sent to the publisher in December 2011, all revisions (both macro edit and line edit) were completed by April 2012, and the book released in April 2013.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It all boils down to “do the work.” <click to tweet> I encounter so many people who say, “I want to write a book,” but most of them aren’t prepared for the years of study and practice needed to learn the craft and become familiar with the industry, much less to develop the tough skin necessary to take the rejections that always come.
What’s your next book or project?
My next book has already been written and edited and is awaiting publication in the fall of 2013. In that one, Heart Failure, a woman doctor discovers that the man she thought would fill the hole in her life left by the death of her husband is not really who he seems to be at all—in a most literal sense.
I’m in the process of writing the book scheduled to follow, in which a woman doctor tries to solve her own emotional problems while helping her recovering drug-addict sister, who is involved in not one but two murders, one of which happens in the doctor’s front yard.