Interview With The Author: Carrie Rubin
John Dwaine McKenna
Today’s Mysterious Book Report Interview is with a physician-turned author named Carrie Rubin, who’s penned one of the best medical thrillers to come along since Michael Crichton or Robin Cook last wrote. Ms. Rubin’s newest, The Bone Hunger is reviewed in MBR No. 415, and comes highly recommended. With our many thanks for taking a short time-out from working on her next Benjamin Oris medical thriller, here’s Carrie Rubin . . .
Why do you write?
For me, it’s about the storytelling. I love creating a world where there wasn’t one and filling it up with characters who, hopefully, seem like real people in the reader’s mind. The experience of letting my imagination run wild is so enjoyable.
I also love plotting the details, and that doesn’t always happen in front of the computer. Oftentimes, bits and pieces come to writers when we’re off doing other things, and then we have to hurry and jot them down before we forget them. It’s like working on a puzzle: you have to put all the pieces in the right place if you want a structurally sound novel.
What do you write about?
With my background as a physician, I write medical thrillers—write what you know, right?—but I sometimes blur the genre, like in my Benjamin Oris series where a man of science gets caught up in otherworldly situations. However, I recently published a cozy mystery written under the pen name of Morgan Mayer that had little to do with medicine, so it was fun to color outside the lines a bit.
Are any of your characters autobiographical?
Not autobiographical, no, but introverts like me do seem to find their way into my novels quite frequently…
Do you plot-outline or wing it?
I’m definitely an outliner. I like knowing where the pieces need to be and what the purpose of each scene is before I begin writing the first draft. That doesn’t mean surprises don’t happen—they do—but for me it’s a lot easier to make the changes in the first draft than a later one.
How did your book first get published?
My writing journey has been a long one with plenty of ups and downs. I finished writing my first book in 2003, but as so often happens between work and family, life got in the way, and it sat hidden in my computer files for years. Then, in 2011, I polished it off, submitted it around, and got an offer from a small press that published it in 2012.
With my next book, I opted to go with a hybrid publisher, one geared more toward my genre and giving me a little more control over my work, but I still desired an agent and a more traditional route, so I kept writing and submitting. Last summer I signed with Victoria Skurnick of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, and she currently has a book of mine out on submission.
Do you belong to a writers group?
I don’t. I feel like I should devote as much time working on my manuscript as I can, because it’s so easy to get sidetracked with other things, but I do have a great pool of beta readers who are invaluable to making sure my story works. I also have some resources to draw from should I need a specialist in a particular field to make sure I get the details right. In fact, a family member of mine, who’s a police officer, is probably tired of my questions by now!
What type of scene is most difficult for you to write?
Description in general, particularly as relates to nature. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the vocabulary. (Maybe I should have taken a class in botany…) Plus, as a writer, you want to set the scene and anchor the reader in the surroundings, but it’s a balance between giving them too much detail and not enough. Finding the right amount can be tricky. You don’t want the reader confused as to the setting, but you also don’t want them skimming the paragraphs.
Bonus. Where could you be reached on the World Wide Web?
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, John. I enjoyed answering your questions!
You’re welcome . . . and my personal thank you to you for such an outstanding novel. It was a joy to read and review it. And please keep us in the loop about your next project.