Stacy Childs and his wife, Diana, live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where he is entering semi-retirement after practicing urology. He was editor-in-chief of a urology journal for eighteen years and has over seventy-five medical publications to his credit. He is in America’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America, and is a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Colorado. All of that he has funneled into his first medical thriller, BLOCK 10, with more to come. THE BIG THRILL sat down to talk thrillers, good and bad medicine, and hospital chills with the good doctor.
What can readers expect from BLOCK 10?
Block 10 is a wild ride for an unsuspecting neophyte orthopaedic surgeon with grandiose ideals and expectations about his career and the world. Luke Cooper is a has-been world cup athlete whose life was turned upside down by a terrible injury, the recovery from which leads him to the field of medicine. Out of admiration and gratitude, Luke returns to France to work for and be mentored by the world-famous sports medicine surgeon and researcher who repaired his injury a decade earlier, Doctor Henri de Salvo; but, de Salvo has a dark side, a mysterious origin, and tough and wealthy companions. The unsuspecting Luke is tossed into an environment of beautiful women and vintage cognac, which blinds him to what is going on around him, until he is led into the criminal side of medicine. His big decision is choose power and notoriety or face certain death from the Corsican mob. Miraculous surgical procedures to manipulate star athletes, exciting ski racing, fight clubs, murder, and enticing women—BLOCK 10 has it all.
You set the novel in the world of medicine. What do you find most appealing about that world?
The field of medicine is dynamic. Every decade new research brings exciting topics to write about. Think about it. Organ transplant and trafficking, genetic modification and manipulation, new viral outbreaks, robotics, artificial limbs, medical tourism, and more. Physicians have the opportunity to keep a society alive, kill it off, or manipulate it every single day by what we report, by the medicines we prescribe, or by the operations we perform. What a theater! What material! And it doesn’t go away—it keeps growing and growing.
How does your personal background influence this novel?
I love the practice of medicine and consider it an honour and privilege to have saved lives, made people suffer less, and improved thousands of folks’ with ailments. During this career of forty-two years from medical school to my present status of semi-retirement, I have had hundreds of times treating patients where I thought, “What if I didn’t do this?” Or “what if I did this instead of that?” Or “what if I did this tomorrow, not today?” I have faced so many of these predicaments over the years that, although they have made me morally and ethically stronger, they have given me tons of ammunition for writing.
You have a wonderful theme about medical ethics. What makes you want to write about this subject?
I have known unethical physicians. I have witnessed unethical practices and unnecessary surgical procedures. The vast majority, in my opinion, over ninety-five percent, of doctors and researchers are very ethical and have patients’ health and welfare as their daily top priority. I have hatred and disdain for those who betray the Hippocratic Oath. What can be worse than taking advantage of a vulnerable patient? But let’s not talk about the United States Congress here. So, unethical doctors and procedures are terrible, and, like politicians and lawyers, become wonderful topics for novels. I am certainly not going to name anyone, but let’s just say I have stored away a lot of material for upcoming thrillers. It hasn’t been difficult.
How do you feel about your debut novel being released soon?
I am just tickled that David Wilson and his company, Crossroad Press, took me on. I had given up and put my novels in a desk drawer, to be re-visited when I retire from medicine. David released the e-book in March of this year and the trade paperback and hardcover in late May. The audiobook should be out by the end of the summer.
Can you give us any clues as to what will happen to Luke in BLOCK 10?
Not a chance. Read the book. I will say that many of my readers thought the ending was a big surprise, whereas I did not. Maybe that is because my mind was going in the same direction the whole story, but many readers without a medical background will be caught by surprise.
Where will your writing journey be taking you both next?
You will hear from Luke Cooper again—probably several more times. But, at least the next two thrillers will star Mack Barton, a tequila-drinking gunrunner who lives out of his Winnebago. In THE BOYS OF THE DIXIE PIG, Mack is quite a character and you’ll pretty much fall in love with him. That’s why he will continue on in the next book, CABO BELLO, after which I will most likely return to Luke.
They will all be medical thrillers, to some degree, because that is what I know and love. Robin Cook turned me on to medical thrillers, and I was fortunate to have met him at ThrillerFest a few years ago. He signed a copy of COMA that I purchased to re-read to make sure some of my scenes in THE BOYS OF THE DIXIE PIG were not similar to those in COMA. I hope those who have inspired me and taught me over the years (Robin Cook, Tess Gerritsen, the late Michael Palmer, Robert Dugoni) will be proud of my work.
Stacy Childs and his wife, Diana, live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where he is entering semi-retirement from practicing urology. He was editor in chief of a urology journal for eighteen years and has over seventy-five medical publications to his credit. He is in Americas Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America, and is Clinical Professor of Surgery at The University of Colorado. He is an avid Alpine ski racer, biker, fly-fisher.
To learn more, please visit his website.