ROOM FOUR grew out of many moments in the ER that left me scratching my head in amazement. One day a patient was actually admitted to the hospital, wheeled up stairs, and died while still on the ER gurney. And as I listened to two doctors argue about who had to fill out the death certificate, I wondered if bureaucracy could be so bad that it could hold up your soul…and the character of Jerry was born. His voice was the most fun to write. He gets away with saying anything.
Alan, the narrator, asks all the questions that we all do, most often “why me?” This book was an attempt to discuss that, not necessarily to answer it. By making both characters invisible to others, it forces them to talk more than they normally would if they had met at say, the bus stop. Once Alan and Jerry started talking, the book almost wrote itself.
Seeing it published is a thrill, tempered at first by the usual artistic neuroses of “what if it’s terrible?” When Kirkus named it one of the best books of 2012, I almost fell out of my chair. I am more motivated to write the next book now. I chose the indie route because I had an army deployment coming up, had two literary agents tell me how they loved the book but didn’t know how to categorize it, and I was tired of the slow pace of writing queries and getting rejections. How hard is it to market a genre-bending paranormal medical comedy? Well, it isn’t easy but it’s a lot of fun.
About the Author:
I am a practicing emergency physician and I have been in the army in various ways for sixteen years. Both of those professions have led me to wonder if the long arm of bureaucracy could extend into the afterlife. Before medicine, I waited tables, sold shoes, bred praying mantises for a lab, drove an ambulance in Chicago, and sold advertising. I‘ve traveled all over, moved to Wisconsin in 2003, and love to call it home. I am so very grateful for my patients and colleagues, who react with compassion and bravery in some of the most challenging of circumstances. It is a privilege to witness some of the everyday things that happen in the ER. When there isn’t time during a shift to contemplate the big questions, I talk it over with my book characters the next day.
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