For this author interview, T.E. Ridener’s fantastic questions were answered by Jan Meredith, author of Playing Doctor.  An interview mentioning Chris Chemsworth?  Yes, please!

1. What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?

Getting that initial start, the hook to set the voice and pace of the story. Once I get past that, I’m good. Then there are those dry moments—sitting with your fingers on the keyboard, re-reading what you’ve already written, hoping the muse will have mercy on you so you can get over the hump and race to the end. Most of the time, I’m a patch-work-writer, skipping forward during a block and getting down a scene to be pasted in later.
2. Do you have lots of different stories at once in your head or do you get one at a time?

Right now, I have five different stories shot-gunning for the front seat! Two are about the secondary characters in Playing Doctor.
How long have you been writing stories? Longer than I like to think! I finished three manuscripts in the 80’s, and burned one of them—it was that bad. I still have them, in a boot box under my desk that alternates between a foot rest and cat bed. I set writing aside for several years, then in 2009 decided to give it another shot. In 2012, I dove into it full blast and began Playing Doctor.
3. Out of all the stories you’ve written, which one would you say is your favorite?

To date, Playing Doctor. I love that both characters were able to overcome their troubled pasts and give each other comfort and closure.
4. Favorite character? Dr. Gabriel North. He’s the one who started the story. I like his sense of humor. I love that he’s totally alpha, but instinctively gentle when Beth needs him to be.
5. What book are you currently working on?

Ha! The question would be better put as, what stories am I working on? The secondary characters from Playing Doctor are shouting to be heard. Ian and Eve have their own story in, Educating Eve. Connie, Beth’s BFF, plans to pull a fast one on her “old money” match making family with the local bad boy in, Bad Company. Then there are the three others hovering close by, impatiently waiting their turn at the keyboard.
6. What inspired you to write Playing Doctor?

I love a tortured hero—I blame that on Sherrilyn Kenyon and my love for any book she’s ever written. I’m also a nurse, and believe in the old adage, “write what you know.” With that in mind, I thought, “What could be worse than being a doctor and finding yourself helpless to save a loved one?” The answer—if the physician was a specialist and missed the most common sign in his field of expertise and it took his wife’s life. Image the guilt and shame that would fall on his broad shoulders. He’d need a strong woman to bring him back to the land of the living. Enter Beth Roberts, a nurse with her own shattered past, yet strong enough to show Gabe the way back, and in doing so, discovers that she’s allowing her past to dictate her future as well.
7. If you could cast any celebrity to play any of your characters, who would you choose?

Oh, oh! I know this one! When the idea for Playing Doctor was hatched, I was deep into the Starz original series, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. The gladiator, Gannicus, played by Dustin Clare, with his mischievous smile, dark eyes, muscles and long hair was instantly my Dr. Gabe! As the story evolved, along came Chris Hemsworth in all his glory as, Thor. Eventually, the two characters melded into one within my imagination. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a cover accurately depicting my dreamy doctor with the pony tail. As for Beth, she was always a compilation of Sandra Bullock and Mila Kunis.
8. If we opened your writing playlist right now, what would we find?

Ah, music, and the things it can do for the muse. While I don’t listen to music when I’m writing, each of the following songs plays a significant part in the book, along with being some of my favorite tunes.

  • “Bad Things,” by Jace Everett
  • “Damned if I Do,” by Jace Everett (yes—I have a thing for Mr. Everett)
  • “Twist And Shout,” by The Beatles
  • “You Shook Me All Night Long,” AC/DC
  • “When a Man Loves A Women,” Percy Sledge
  • “Too Close,” by Alex Clare (I was driving to work one morning, mulling over the scene where Gabe is attempting to persuade Beth to change her mind and see him again. She wants to, but something is holding her back, something from her past. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to put what she was feeling into words. Usually, I plug my iPhone into the aux jack and listen to my play list, but that morning I left the radio on and this amazing song came on. Alex Clare was saying the very things that Beth was feeling.
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