Interview with medical thriller author John Bishop MD
Today’s special guest author is John Bishop MD. He’s chatting with me about his medical thriller, Act of Murder (A Doc Brady Mystery).
John Bishop MD is the author of Act of Murder: A Doc Brady Mystery. Dr. Bishop has practiced orthopedic surgery in Houston, Texas, for 30 years. His Doc Brady medical thriller series is set in the changing environment of medicine in the 1990s. Drawing on his years of experience as a practicing surgeon, Bishop entertains readers using his unique insights into the medical world with all its challenges, intricacies, and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of health care professionals. Dr. Bishop and his wife, Joan, reside in the Texas Hill Country.
Welcome, John. Please tell us about your current release.
Act of Murder is a medical mystery novel centered around Dr. Jim Bob Brady, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, Texas. He witnesses his neighbor’s ten-year-old son, who has OsteogenesisImperfecta, killed by a hit-and-run driver. Was this an accident, or an Act of Murder? After the child’s death, he enlists his son J.J. and his wife Mary Louise in chasing down clues from another child with the same bone disease that take them deeper and deeper into a Houston that Brady didn’t know existed. They discover a macabre conspiracy stretching from the largest teaching hospital in Texas, to the upper reaches of Houston’s legal community, to the shores of GalvestonBay. Soon Doc Brady realizes that the old adage remains true: The love of money is the root of all evil.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book for a number of reasons. First, an old friend lost a child, and the grief around that issue was quite intense. I wanted to somehow put into words the emotions that surround that sort of cataclysmic event. At the same time, I had ended a long-lasting teaching position, and was concentrating on my medical practice only, without the teaching, or the presentations required at national meetings, or the articles that required publishing as a part of being a Professor. I found I had…gasp…free time. I had always enjoyed the writing of medical articles, but not the politics of academic medicine. So, instead of sitting down at my desk, and starting an article on the Effects of Hydroxyapatite Synthetic Bone Graft on Acetabular Insufficiency, I sat down and wrote the title, Act of Murder, and took it from there. It was like a faucet was turned on inside of me, and I just couldn’t quit writing. What a feeling!
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have two other Doc Brady books coming out. The next, Act of Deception, releases June 10th. In this novel, Brady gets sued for medical malpractice when a patient whose knee he replaced ends up losing the leg to an amputation. Brady is convinced he did nothing wrong. Did he somehow commit malpractice, and this is all his fault, or is this an Act of Deception. The next book is Act of Revenge, and releases September 10th. Doc Brady is involved in a ski accident on the slopes in Aspen, and befriends the victim who happens to be a plastic surgeon in Houston. The plastic surgeon is later seen on national television threatening the President of the InsuranceCompany who has recently cancelled the doctor’s malpractice insurance. The next day, the executive is found dead. Is this a suicide, or an Act of Revenge?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess I first considered myself a writer when I wrote Act of Murder, back in 1994 or so. The book wasn’t published at the time, but I had the “juice” so I kept writing. I completed two additional novels after Act of Deception and Act of Revenge, Act of Negligenceand Act of Fate. Now that the first three books are being published, I’ve gone back to writing about Doc Brady, and hopefully I’ll see all of them in print. I’ve completed two new novels, and am working on the third, which would be the eighth in the series.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I can’t say that I write full time, although I am retired from my Orthopedic Surgery practice. I still play the piano, which has kept me somewhat sane all these years, and I am an avid golfer. So now I divide my time between my three hobbies, and juggle my daily schedule to accommodate all three.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure this is a quirk, but I generally do not create an outline of the novel prior to writing. I mull around an idea in my head, think of a title that would fit well with “Act of,” sit down, and start typing. Sometimes the story line will flow, sometimes I back myself into a corner and have to work my way out by either changing my tack on a subject, or by creating a complete fabricationthat is believable. That’s the fun of writing. You don’t like a character that you’ve created? Bam! They’re gone! Too bad, so sad.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up an only child in a very small town outside Waco, Texas, of very modest means. My mother was oldest of eight children, my dad the youngest of nine children. They grew up in the Depression, without an opportunity for college, so I was the first in the entire family to achieve that. Growing up my only real aspiration was to get out of town, and make my own life. I stumbled across the idea of going to medical school when I was a sophomore in college, when we used to sit around the dorm and watch the broadcast of lottery numbers of draftees for the Viet Nam War. As I remember, you had three guaranteed deferments back then: medical school, divinity school, or marriage. It was an easy choice for a kid making extra money by playing music. I didn’t mind the idea of serving my country, I just wanted to serve when the timing was best for me. As it turned out, when I did get drafted, towards the end of medical school, the military discovered I had Rheumatic Fever with a heart murmur when I was twelve, and classified me as 4-F. All that worry for nothing.