DA Kentner writes the column THE READERS' WRITERS for the (Freeport) Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service. My alter ego KevaD lives under a stairway of dreams where he writes stories and grumbles about everything. Click the pic to visit KevaD's blog.
Drop me a line at dakentner@yahoo.com

I invite you to read my award-winning short story posted on Calliope Magazine's web site.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Award-Winning Suspense/Thriller Author Dr. Richard L. Mabry, MD

Dr. Mabry is the real deal in medical suspense novels with a thriller edge. His stories have enthralled readers, resulting in awards and accolades, including the Selah Award at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. During his thirty-six years in medicine, Dr. Mabry wrote or edited eight textbooks, authored over a hundred professional papers, and was a world-wide sought after speaker. But there’s much more behind the man. 

Captain Mabry served with distinction in the U.S. Air Force. He’s also been a Christian for more than sixty years and believes that thriller novels do not require profanity to be well-written. Judging by Mabry’s popularity with readers, he’s right. 

Author Richard Mabry roared onto the writing scene with “Code Blue,” an intense tale featuring Cathy Sewell, a fallible physician in need of her own healing, and a killer who’d just as soon give her last rites. This book became the first novel in what is known as the ‘Prescription for Trouble’ series. “Medical Error” followed, and, due to exemplary writing and an insider’s knowledge of the medical world behind the scenes, Mabry’s place as a respected thriller author was solidified. In fact, all four of the author’s initial novels were awards finalists; a true credit to Mabry’s skill. 

Dr. Mabry’s latest offering is “Heart Failure,” another suspenseful tale surrounding a doctor seeking a respite from the darkness life has thrown at her. Unfortunately for her, the man she thinks she’s falling in love with turns out to be a moving target for some gunmen with an agenda of death. Of course, it doesn’t make things any easier when the doctor learns her new love isn’t who she thought he was at all. 

That all said, I have to mention Dr. Mabry’s nonfiction book “The Tender Scar.” After Dr. Mabry’s
first wife passed away, he began keeping a journal. He was lost and needed guidance. As he wrote, he realized the power of a healing God, and ultimately decided to share his personal journey as the book “The Tender Scar.” This isn’t a book about death, but about life, and is a must read for anyone who has suffered loss. No joke – add this book to your library, both your community library and the one in your home.

Q) The obvious question: What inspired you to write thriller novels and stay true to your Christian beliefs? 

A) I have to give you a two-part answer. My first book was The Tender Scar, but it didn’t just happen. I had a thick stack of journaling but no idea how to turn it into a book. Finally, an editor took pity on me and pointed me toward a Christian writers conference. There’s where I not only learned the rudiments of writing a book (with more…much more to come) but encountered Alton Gansky and James Scott Bell who encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. After lots of false starts (four books written over four years garnering forty rejections) I found my “voice” in medical suspense fiction, and that’s been my style since. 

As for staying true to my Christian beliefs, I have to confess that I never gave it any conscious thought. I was going to write from a Christian worldview because I’d been a follower of Jesus for six decades and wasn’t about to change. Apparently my readers agree with my choice, even the non-Christians among them.  

Q) Generally, your protagonists tend to be women doctors instead of men. Why? 

A) This goes back to my unsuccessful attempts to write novels. After lots of rejections, someone pointed out that the vast majority of readers of Christian fiction are women, and they like female protagonists. As one of my medical school professors said, “You can teach a white mouse in three times.” So I made the change.  

Two years after the death of my first wife, God blessed me yet again with the love of a wonderful woman, and it’s her input that’s allowed me to write from the perspective of a female protagonist. For my last couple of novels, I’ve stepped out and had co-protagonists, one man and one woman, but it’s taken me years to get that far. 

Q) A question for my own curiosity. Have any of your former colleagues commented on how you portray behind the scenes medicine? 

A) I’ve had several physicians, including Drs. Harry Kraus, Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen, read my work and endorse it. One did point out an error in a protocol I had cited, and I appreciate that. Medicine is constantly changing, and sometimes it’s tough to keep up. But by and large I think I’ve managed to stay pretty true to actual fact. 

Q) You combine your personal knowledge and experiences with today’s headlines. How do you decide what backdrop/drama to set your characters in? 

A) The novels will always feature a physician and/or nurse as major figures. I’ve set them variously
in a small town, a mid-size town, and a large teaching center/hospital/medical school. A lot of times the location depends on the plot I develop. If I choose a fictitious setting, it’s as close as possible to one I know.  

As for the drama, most of the time my plot line comes from reading something in a newspaper, hearing a TV report, or in the case of Stress Test, walking into a parking garage at the medical center and wondering if it wouldn’t be a good setting for a kidnapping. After that, it’s just a matter of populating the story, getting to know the characters, and seeing where they take me. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for fans and readers new to your stories? 

A) When I first read Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, I stayed up all night to finish it because I didn’t want to turn off the lights. That doesn’t happen with my brand of “medical suspense with heart.” However, I have had people complain that the books are hard to put down. I don’t mind those kinds of complaints. 

My books are available via your favorite bookseller (both online and brick-and-mortar). And if you want to read my thoughts on writing and life in general, they are posted twice a week on my blog: http://rmabry.blogspot.com.
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net


  1. Wonderful interview! I really appreciate the manner in which the questions were posed. It's one of the best interviews I've read.

  2. Thank you, Ms. Mulligan, for your very generous comment.

  3. Great interview! Love Dr. Mabry's books.

  4. David, I appreciate this opportunity. I must say that your interview questions are head and shoulders above many I've been asked. Thanks for having me here.

  5. A wonderful interview, Doc. I loved reading it

  6. The pleasure was mine, Dr. Mabry.

    Thanks for the comment and for dropping by, Ms. Dooley.