Author’s Corner: Paul Janson, Author of Mal Practice, Talks Medicine and Mystery

PaulJansonSDP Publishing Solutions helps authors in all genres – children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, business, and more – to independently publish their books. We love to keep our readers updated on what’s going on here at SDP, including recently published titles and the authors we work with. In this post, we’re joined by Paul Janson.

Janson spent five years practicing as a physician in the coal mining, Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky. He now lives on a small farm in rural Massachusetts with his wife and children and practices medicine in an emergency department. He is the author of a children’s picture book about the adoption of his two daughters. Mal Practice is his first published novel, and it was recently named a winner of the “Independent Publishers of New England” book award.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? When did you start?

College. I was an engineer and turned to medical school when my job disappeared. When I got into medical school I wrote a piece about the transition from Engineering to medicine and got it published.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I find that most of life is interesting. It more a matter of paying attention to what is happening. Most people are more interested in themselves than in other people and so they miss the excitement.

Which writers inspire you?

I will have to say that many current writers do not excite me. I like Sue Grafton and Janet Evanavich, but much of literature is violence and sex and offers no solace or inspiration.

What have you written besides Mal Practice? (Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.) Where can we buy or see them?

I blog regularly on WordPress, and write for Emergency Medicine News. The former is spiritual and the latter is political. I have a total of eight novels complete, but unpublished and a book of poetry. I have also written a screen play titled The Manuscript about a literary agent no less.

Give us an insight into your main character in Mal Practice. What does he/she do that is so special?

Joe is in many ways what I would like to be. He is curious, and thoughtful but quiet in his approach to problems. (There is no MEDICAL malpractice crisis, Malpractice is a LEGAL crisis. The lawyers not the doctors must solve it.) That he solves the crime comes almost as a surprise.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

If Meryl Streep would play either leading lady, I would want to play Joe.

Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Mal Practice a mystery of medicine and murder. A pediatrician is the defendant in a malpractice case when he discovers that his patient was murdered. Soon someone is trying to murder him and he must avoid the murder and the police to bring justice.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anyone with a love of mysteries and who enjoys the intricacies of medicine will enjoy this book. My background in medicine “shines” according to the Kirkus review, and I think I agree (modestly) with them.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I like them all in their own ways. One of the things not yet obvious is that I like to give characters from my other books small cameo spots in other novels. Laura, who easily unravels the computer for Dr. Nelson (Joe) is one of my favorite characters in my other novels and I loved giving her a piece of this one. Of the leading characters, I think I like the sassy Carolyn, but my respect goes to Joe and Natalie.

How about your least favorite character? What makes him less appealing to you?

Lawrence Marshall. He is the CEO which places him in a group of people that I find myself at odds with and he is … well, a man who kills a four-year-old for money. What else can I say?

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

I have been told that the solution is obvious early in the novel. I would have to agree in that there is only one person that the reader really wants to be guilty, perhaps. A little more mystery might serve well, but on the other hand the enjoyment is the unfolding of the story and so the change might not be so good a thing. In the end, I decided to write another novel and let Mal Practice be what it is.

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

Much of Robin Cook’s writing has a similar cast to it. The plots hinge on the understanding of medicine and he manages to explain it well. This is something I have tried to emulate.

What are you working on right now? What’s it about?

The novel I am working on now is titled Scratch. It is about a cat that knows when people are sick and scratches them so they go to the doctor and are diagnosed and treated. The target audience is young adult.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I was advised once and will offer the same advice: If you wish to write; write. Every piece I write is better than the last and I have yet to write my best work. I enjoy it too, which is great.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

I do not like writing about violence. In one of my novels, I had to describe a rape scene and I found it almost intolerable. The lady was not raped, never even injured or disrobed in the sequence, and she was rescued before she was pulled more than a few steps, but I found it possibly the most difficult scene to write about.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The dialogue just seems to fall out of the character’s mouth sometimes. I cannot even keep up with what they are saying.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get around it?

I don’t think I have yet had writer’s block as described by my colleagues. When I can’t think of what to write, I sit and let the characters write it for me. They always do.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Embarrassing to admit, but right now I am studying the empires before Alexander the Great. The Egyptians. Hittites, Ur etc. History has always fascinated me.

In what formats is your book available?

Soft cover, and e-book, both Kindle and Nook

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, and write some more. Marketing is important, but you can get very competent people to help with that. First, you must write and write well.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books? How can readers discover more about you and you work?





Amazon Author Page:


What can we expect from you in the future?

Another novel soon

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Write a review of the book. They always help.

Can you give us a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?

One of my favorite scenes is when Joe is talking to Carolyn’s brother Douglas. He says: “If you do this Douglas you will be so famous you will be able to run for president except Carolyn won’t let you.”  You want to know what Douglas has to do and why he wants to run for president. Have to read the book then.

Can you talk a little bit about the process of working with SDP Publishing and going through the process of self-publishing?

Lisa was very helpful particularly for the novice writer that I was. This is a difficult process and the expert help is what is needed.

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) is a leader of self publishing in Massachusetts. We offer optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

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