Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Author Spotlight - Connie Cox

The Minxes are pleased to have with us today debut medical author Connie Cox. And as a medical fanatic, I can tell you that this debut is a winner!!

What is your writing process?

I’m a morning writer. I have breakfast with my husband, check email, play on facebook, twitter and pinterest until he leaves for work. Exert GREAT willpower to stop visiting with my friends via social media and then I get down to work. I write 5-6 hours a day, with a walk or two and frequent facebook breaks thrown in.

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?

I bribe myself by online shopping. Today, I have a brand new crochet pattern book as my reward for working really hard last week—but I can’t start a new project until I get the book turned in. Carrot and stick works best for me.

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?

I wish I was more disciplined here. My husband and I have started walking in the mornings and evenings but it’s been raining this week I need to break out the Richard Simmons Dancing to the Oldies DVDs, I guess.

Do you believe in writer's block?

Sadly, yes, I think writer’s block is real. I don’t think we give our sensitive psyches enough credit for the stories that come from our subconsious so we don’t take care of our mental health as much as we should. Creativity and imagination need nurturing and encouraging. We should take care of our own brains as carefully as we take care of our children’s brains: worry-free rest, good food, stretch out into learning new things and have plenty of fun. Also, my doctor just talked to me about the chemical reality of estrogen and creativity being linked. So, us writers we’ve got to take care of our feminine sides, too. To me, that means taking note and enjoying the sensuous around me, the scent of a sweet olive bush, the orange on an oriole’s wing, the texture of bamboo yarn as it slides through my fingers. Everything can feed the writer’s soul. But if we don’t pay attention, if we don’t celebrate all the wonders around us, our ideas will be as dull as our days.

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?

Yes, I use real incidences all the time. My recent release, The Baby Who Saved Dr Cynical, features two diagnosticians. I needed something that was difficult to diagnose so a friend said she knew someone with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. When I started writing the book, less than 500 cases where identified.

Thankfully, I did my research and was able to include the Syndrome accurately in the storyline. Last weekend, I was asked to sign The Baby Who Saved Dr Cynical at a 5K fundraiser to raise awareness for the syndrome—and I got to meet Dr Phelan, herself, who asked me to sign her book, To Katie! What an honor!

I haven’t heard back from Dr. Phalen yet, so hopefully, I’m not in trouble.

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

For some reason, I thought publishing a book would make me taller and thinner—better put together, more organized, all the things I’m not. Instead, being published has made me very proud to say I make my living writing novels. I have become more disciplined about my writing schedule. Knowing my editor is waiting for my book, instead of knowing a bottomless slush pile is groaning under the weight of my submissions is a great motivator. For all you struggling to make that first sale—all the isolation from family and friends while you write, the angst while you wait for acceptance, and the heartbreak of getting those ‘not right for us a this time’ letters is worth it the day you get The Call where the editor says, ‘I love your book and want to buy it’.

Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?

I’m lucky that the things authors do for promotion are things I like to do anyway. I LOVE conversing with people, face-to-face or via internet. So I speak to readers and writers groups and I play on all the social media. I keep my website up-to-date with news about my newest release and what’s in the future. I don’t make bookmarks, although I do have cute little cards with my website, facebook, twitter and goodreads URLs on them—but that’s mostly so I can make new friends.

What is your top promo tip for other authors?

Only do what you like to do. Listening to someone speak that doesn’t like to is painful for all of us. If you’re only on social media to beg people to buy your books—don’t bother. The rest of us are looking for connections, not advertisements. 

What did you learn while writing this book? 

Wow! This book is so chockful of research, although carefully hidden, I hope! I learned about Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and the foster care system in Colorado and I learned how to deliver a baby in my living room and make an incubator from a salad bowl, tin foil and a hair dryer (although that invention didn’t make the book.) I am so grateful to all my friends who share their expertise with me. The incubator came from a rural EMT friend who actually had to make one a couple of times.

What was the most fun part of writing this book?

The most fun I had with this book was the dialogue between Stephanie and Jason. I felt like I was taking dictation as they verbally sparred with each other. Of course, love won in the final round.

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?

I can imagine them there, right now….They are hiking and camping in the mountains. These are hands on, physical people who would go crazy sitting still on a beach, no matter how beautiful the sunset.

What’s the book about?

To the outside world, Dr Jason Drake is a brilliant diagnostician, but completely lacking in emotion and bedside manner. He is the genius everyone turns to when they have been unable to find the answer to a child’s medical problem, and his methods are unorthodox, his manner brash. Yet his boss, Dr Stephanie Montclair, understands his burning passion for medicine – and over the last months has also been the recipient of his incredible passion in bed! But what was meant to be a no-strings fling has just turned complicated… This book explores: the foster care system and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome also known as 22q13 Deletion Syndrome.

The Baby Who Saved Dr Cynical is available now in the UK in paperback and on Kindle 

And will be available in the US for pre-order on the Nook and on Kindle


karen said...

Great interview. I love the bit about taking care of our physical selves to increase creativity, it totally makes sense :o)

connie cox said...

Thanks, Karen. That's the hardest part for me. I'm not naturally athletic and making myself take care of the body to keep the mind healthy is something I have to work at.

Sally Clements said...

Wow, Connie, your book sounds fascinating, I'm definitely off to get it for my kindle! Great interview, thanks so much for going minxy for the day.

connie cox said...

Thanks, Sally! I had a great time writing it! After you read it, I would love to know what you think about it.

Romy Sommer said...

I love all the stuff we get to learn as we write, and I really hope that the salad bowl incubator makes it into a future novel!

Nas said...

Oh Wow! Fancy meeting you here, Connie! I loved reading about your processes! And your medical (I'm a medical romance fan!)sounds super fantastic!

Congrats on it's release!

Thank you Minxes!

connie cox said...

Hi Romy,
Isn't that salad bowl incubator an awesome factiod! Will definitely have to work it in somewhere. Oy, the research I do on these books to get them as accurate as possible.

Met Dr Phelan, who is the researcher who discovered Phelan-McDermid Syndrome that is featured in the book. I REALLY hope I got the details right for when she reads it.

connie cox said...

Hey Nas! Will you be at Nationals this summer? Would love to meet up with you there! Thanks for the nice rating on Goodreads!

Lacey Devlin said...

The Baby Who Saved Dr Cynical sounds like a fascinating read. I'm off to find a copy. Thanks, Connie!

connie cox said...

Thanks Lacey, for checking in! Hope you enjoy the story!

Rhoda Baxter said...

Hi Connie
Your book sounds like a fascinating read. I'll have go grab a copy. How awesome that Dr Phelan has a copy of your book!

connie cox said...

Hi Rhoda! Yes, I'm so thrilled (and a bit nervous) that Dr Phelan has a copy. I would love to know what she thinks of it.
And I'd love to know what you think of The Baby Who Saved Dr Cynical, too!