Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Steven Gossington: The IAN Interview

Steven Gossington is an emergency room physician (medical school - Baylor College of Medicine; residency - Georgetown University Hospital) with over 30 years of patient care experience. For 11 years, he was an academic professor in emergency medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and he published 20 book chapters and medical articles of original research. His enjoyment of mystery and suspense fiction and his love of writing led to his first novel Fractured Eden, a psychological suspense story in which he draws upon his extensive experience with mentally ill emergency room patients. He can be contacted at StevenGossington.com.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

S. Gossington: In Fractured Eden, a doctor loses everything and attempts to reconstruct his career in a town filled with addiction and mental illness. Dr. Aaron Rovsing, Family Practice Physician, is fired from his medical practice in Connecticut because of alleged incompetence. After he flees from that nightmare and starts over in a strange town in East Texas, Aaron discovers that things are not as they first appear, and soon he must combat the deranged and addicted minds of the townspeople, some of whom test the doctor’s own sanity. Events take an even deadlier turn when he finds himself the next chosen victim of a serial killer who plans to add the doctor to his collection of notable skeletons. Aaron is aided by unlikely allies, who are themselves afflicted with mental illness or, in some cases, don’t even seem real. In this town of insanity and with a serial killer waiting to strike, how can Aaron, who is ill-equipped to deal with these bizarre challenges, manage to stay sane . . . and alive?

IAN: Is Fractured Eden published in print, e-book or both?

S. Gossington: Fractured Eden is available in paperback and e-book formats.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Fractured Eden?

S. Gossington: Amazon.com  and BarnesandNoble.com

IAN: Did you use an outline or did you just wing the first draft?

S. Gossington: I did not use an outline. I started with my main character getting into a world of trouble and then having to deal with his sudden change of fortune. The story seemed to unfold as my protagonist met and interacted with other characters (allies and enemies) and as he reacted to various challenges and obstacles along his journey.

IAN: How long did it take to write the book?

S. Gossington: It took one year for me to complete the first draft and another six months for the revision process, which I completed with the help and advice of two literary experts: a developmental editor and a copy editor.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

S. Gossington: As the story developed, some of the characters took on paranormal (angelic or demonic) characteristics, and an underlying theme emerged in a “good vs. evil” battle. The setting for the story is a small town in southeast Texas next to the Big Thicket - a strange forest possessed of a spooky history. The Big Thicket is an evil place (the serial killer roamed in there) but had the potential, if good defeated evil, to become a beautiful place - like the Garden of Eden. When the doctor first arrived, he found the town to be troubled, fractured - thus the title Fractured Eden.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Fractured Eden?

S. Gossington: No matter how dire the situation and no matter the eventual outcome, an ember of hope exists in everyone - hope that can elevate you above your circumstances and make you the hero of your own story.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

S. Gossington: The mentally ill characters and the ER encounters in the story are based on patients that I have examined and treated in the past.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

S. Gossington: My first writing was medically related: book chapters and medical journal articles. I discovered that I enjoyed the craft of writing, even more so if someone else enjoyed reading what I wrote!

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing Fractured Eden?

S. Gossington: The most difficult step was the revision process, which included applying fiction-writing techniques, such as “tension on every page” and “cut out the boring stuff,” and assuring that every sentence - every word - is what I wanted to say.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

S. Gossington: I’ve been attempting to write fiction for years - I’ve read instructional books about writing and I’ve attended numerous workshops. I think what finally got me to the next level (at least, I think I’m at that next level!) was working with quality editors who gave me specific advice pertinent to my needs and to my particular style of writing.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

S. Gossington: My next book, to be published in winter 2016-17, is a murder mystery, which I plan to develop into a series.

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