GLENN SHEPARD IS THE author of The Missile Game and The Zombie Game. His first novel, Surge, was written while he was still a surgical resident at Vanderbilt. In the following years he wrote The Hart Virus, a one-thousand-page epic about the AIDS crisis, as well as three other novels. In 2008, he created “Dr. Scott James,” his Fugitive-
like action-hero, and began publishing the series. The first volume of the Dr. Scott James series was originally released as Not For Profit, but was later changed to The Missile Game.
Many of the twists and turns at the end of The Missile Game were inspired by Shepard’s experiences as the Founder and Director of the Peninsula Cranio-Facial Deformities Clinic, a mobile, not-for-profit, medical outreach, staffed by volunteer personnel. The group has treated over five hundred patients suffering from deformities of the face, frequently travelling to remote rural areas to perform surgery.
After the massive earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010, Dr. Shepard joined the Notre Dame Hospital unit in Leogane for a 10 day rotation. His empathy for the people and their problems greatly inspired his second novel, The Zombie Game.
Born on a farm in eastern Virginia, Dr. Shepard lives and maintains a thriving plastic surgery practice in Williamsburg. The third volume of The Dr. Scott James Thriller Series, The Ebola Game, is due out this year, through Mystery House.
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This is the text of an interview that was recently conducted with Dr. Glenn Shephard, just a few weeks before his first book came out. Here is the complete text of the interview. Enjoy.
An Interview with Author Glenn Shepard
How long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was a resident. In 1986, I wrote a 1000 page action thriller entitled, The Hart Virus. It told of the beginnings of the AIDS problem and offered insight into the nature of the virus, its mutations which made it difficult to cure, and the social stigma associated with the disease. I thought it was a novel "ahead of its time" and it did project the direction AIDS eventually took as well as the method necessary for a successful vaccine. However, the burdens of a busy plastic surgery practice did not allow the time to pursue publication, and as the years passed, the concept of the book became outdated. Yet, I had caught the writing bug and kept at it. I continued exploring fiction and completed six mystery novels of the next twenty years, and again, made no attempt to publish any of them until four years ago when I started my current novel, THE MISSILE GAME.
What's your novel about?
THE MISSILE GAME is a thriller about a conscientious plastic surgeon, Dr. Scott James, who tangles with an ambitious hospital administrator, Herb Waters, who siphons large sums of money from a non-profit hospital into his own pockets. Two men are murdered in James's surgery center and the doctor is charged with the crimes. In trying to prove his innocence, Dr. James discovers a terrorist attack planned against a mysterious drone operator who moves his base of operations from the Middle East to the doctor's home town. A beautiful computer genius, Elizabeth Keyes, comes to assist him as he tries to free himself from the capital murder charges.
Is it the first book in a series?
Yes, THE MISSILE GAME is the first book in an action thriller series involving Dr. Scott James, the terrorist, and the beautiful computer geek. In the second novel, THE ZOMBIE GAME, the good doctor, Scott James, goes to Haiti to assist an old surgical colleague with a backlog of surgery caused by the Haitian earthquake. Terrorists have seized the $5 billion Relief Aid Fund given by a multitude of foreign nations. The hospital ship James works on is hijacked and the terrorists seek not only destruction of major cities in the US, but want revenge for the blow James gave to the terrorists in THE MISSILE GAME. Book Three, THE VATICAN GAME, again uses the special talents of Dr. James in tracking down a Nazi physician who committed crimes in WWII and is now seemingly immortal and practicing in Texas.
g.) What parts of your new book are based upon real life events?
The events that inspired THE MISSILE GAME occurred on a distant planet, far away, and in the distant future but it does include ISIS and some very real threats. Throughout the novel, I became involved, as a participant in the action, and realized that revenge from a rich and powerful hospital can cripple an individual with average means, as happened with Dr. James. It would take another powerful corporation to stand toe to toe with the hospital giants. Let somebody else blow whistles. I just want to write my novels and enjoy the good life that brings. All fiction is real life and all real life is fiction. I could not be a novelist without the life experiences that show weaknesses in our great, but tainted network of health care delivery.
h.) Tell me about your hero?
Dr. Scott James is part me, part colleagues I have known and worked with, and part total make-believe. However, over the course of the writing, James became a real person, at least to me. So real, I lived his trials and triumphs. When he was hurt, I suffered from agitation and sleep loss, just as he did. The depression he endured to the point of suicide, I endured as well. From his experiences, I know what it's like to be suicidal. I know what it's like to experience depression. And, I know the joys of surviving. The love Ethel Keyes gave to him, she gave to me. That love made me strong. The long nights I spent writing the book gave me strength, just as they were also a source of strength for Dr. James.
i.) Tell me about the next book in the series?
The trauma of divorce and the loss of Dr. James' surgical practice in THE MISSILE GAME have depressed him so that he begins to use tobacco and alcohol as crutches. He is looking for an escape, so he interrupts his job as a hospital administrator to go to Haiti to operate. And recover. Only once there, he becomes involved in terrorist activities even more dangerous and deadly than the ones he faced in book 1. The odds are stacked against him. Is he strong enough to survive?