Code Blue, Prescription for Trouble Series #1Code Blue, Prescription for Trouble Series #1
Richard L. Mabry M.D.
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After a broken relationship, all Dr. Cathy Sewall wants is to find healing. But it's clear that returning to her hometown is a prescription for trouble. When one of Cathy's medications almost kills the local banker, she's charged with malpractice! She knows she's innocent, but who would want to end her career---and possibly her life? 288 pages, softcover from Abingdon.

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Richard L. MabryRichard L. Mabry, M.D. is a retired physician and medical school professor who achieved worldwide recognition as a writer, speaker, and teacher before turning his talents to non-medical writing after his retirement.  His inspirational pieces have appeared in numerous periodicals.  He and his wife, Kay, live in North Texas.

Favorite Verse:  Romans 8:28-29 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Tough times also bring me around to Psalm 115:3. Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.


 Our Interview with Richard L. Mabry M.D.


Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a retired physician. I was in solo private practice for 26 years and ended my career with 10 years as a professor at UT Southwestern Medical School (my alma mater) where I trained others in my specialty of ear, nose, and throat.

When I’m not writing, my favorite activities are reading, golf and playing with my grandchildren.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

For many years now, I’ve relied on Romans 8:28-29. Tough times also bring me around to Psalm 115:3.


How did you get started writing Christian fiction?

I got there in a roundabout way. My first wife died suddenly in 1999. For two years afterward, I journaled, and I wanted to do something with that material to help others who’d suffered a loss. At a writer’s conference, I not only got the help I needed to use that material as the focal point for what became my non-fiction book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, but two writers—James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky—encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. I tried it and liked it, although it took me quite a while to achieve any degree of success at it.

What inspired your interest and passion for fiction?

I’ve always enjoyed reading fiction, especially thrillers and mysteries, so it would seem natural that, when I decided to write, I’d lean toward that genre. However, it took me a number of false starts before I discovered my “voice,” which turned out to be what I term “medical suspense with heart.”

How did you come up with the concept for Code Blue?

As a physician, I’m familiar with the occasional turf battles between specialties and among physicians that an outsider might not see. I decided to escalate those, add in the conflicts that might be encountered by a physician going back to her hometown to start over, give it a stir, and see what happened. The result was Code Blue.



Is there anything significant about the title?

Actually, the original working title was Run Away Home, but my publisher pointed out that it didn’t suggest the medical nature of the book. So they came up with Code Blue.

Code Blue is a medical term generally applied to a cardiac emergency. It’s a way of paging doctors to rally around and help in such a situation. Dr. Cathy Sewell, the protagonist of my story, has to deal with a cardiac emergency early in the book, but as the work progresses we can see that not everyone in town among her colleagues and her previous friends comes to her aid.
How did you choose the location for the setting?

I grew up in a small Texas town, went to college in a mid-size one, and for the past several decades have lived in a small suburban city. I combined their characteristics (and added some of my own invention) to create the fictional town that’s the setting for this book.


How long did Code Blue take you to complete?

The first draft probably took six months, but I edited and rewrote it over a period of several more months before it was ready to submit to an editor. My subsequent novels have been written and polished in about six months each.

Do you have a favorite character in Code Blue? Why?

I have to say it’s Will Kennedy, Cathy’s old high school boyfriend, now practicing law in their hometown. When the woman he’s always loved shows up he doesn’t rush to tear down the apparent wall she’s built that keeps him out. He’s a lot more patient and understanding than I might be. 


How much research did Code Blue take?

Since I know North Texas intimately, there was no need to research the setting. Most of my work involved checking medical facts and details of procedures and treatment. After all, it would be embarrassing for a physician to make an error there.


What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Code Blue?

In researching a scene that didn’t make it into the final manuscript, I came to realize that only automatics have a safety, while revolvers don’t. I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever use that in the real world, since the NCO who gave me my small arms qualification test in the service advised me that my best use of a gun for protection would be to “throw it at ‘em.”


What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

The major challenge is to make myself sit down at the computer and write. It’s a beautiful day outside, my golf clubs are calling me, but I have to knock out 2000 words. That’s tough—and I don’t always win that battle.

Otherwise, I suppose my challenges center around a lack of understanding by friends of what an author’s life really involves. There’s no automatic fame, the monetary rewards aren’t great, and you’re only as good as your last book. But I wouldn’t give it up.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

The absolute joy of reading something I’ve written and edited and honed, then put down and forgotten, only to pick it up and think, “Wow. Did I write this? It’s pretty good.”


What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

I’m firmly in the middle. When I start, I know the main characters, I have an idea of the hero’s journey and “have-to” situation, and roughly what the final scene is going to involve. But I truly don’t know who the villain will be until I get to the last chapter. I keep my options open. That way, the reader has to consider everyone a suspect as well.


Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Oh, definitely. After I completed my first book (still languishing on my hard drive), my wife and I would constantly talk about what “Ben and Rachel” (the main characters) would do in such-and-such a situation.

And I still recall how down I was when, two-thirds of the way into another unpublished book, I realized that one of my favorite characters had to die. That was tough.


What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

I’m completing a three-book contract with Abingdon Press for the Prescription For Trouble series. The next book, Medical Error, will be released in September 2010. The third and final book of the series, Diagnosis Death, is due out in April 2011. These are all freestanding, although in book three I close the loop by reintroducing a few characters from book one.

I’m already at work on my fourth book, working title Strong Medicine.


What message would you like your readers to take from Code Blue?

You can’t outrun God. Wherever you are, whatever you’ve done, no matter the situation, He’s there for you. And He’s able to bring you out of even the darkest situation. When I autograph Code Blue, I add Psalm 139:7-10 under my signature. That’s the focus of the book.


What is your greatest achievement?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be the president or vice-president of all the major organizations in my medical specialty. I’ve written or edited eight textbooks and had over 100 professional papers published. I’ve been honored with numerous awards. But my greatest professional achievement remains the thrill I experienced each time I was able to make a patient better with my treatment.

Even better than that, though, is my pride in my children. If they were my sole legacy, I’d still be happy.


What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To entertain, to instruct (in a low-key way), and to show the reader that Christians aren’t perfect, but God is.



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