the Same: Tell me about your journey to becoming a writer. You are a doctor! How did you move from medicine to writing?
Kimmery Martin: I am, first and foremost, a reader. In the back of my mind, I always had a secret desire to try writing and one day I just sat down and started. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was so compelling to me I stuck with it. In the process, I wound up rearranging my entire life to have more time to write.
tS: A question we always like to ask in our interviews is especially interesting for me to ask you, as I’m interested in how it applies to both of your careers. Have you ever had to struggle, as a woman, for your voice to be heard?
KM: If by ‘voice’ you mean have I always been paid the same as a man for the same work, the answer is no, at least not in medicine. In writing, I haven’t struggled as a woman to be heard, but you do hear news in the industry of the books of female authors being priced lower than the books of males authors, receiving less publicity, etc. Hopefully all of this is changing.
tS: What was an early experience where you learned that language has power?
KM: I’ve always believed in the power of language. Probably my first awareness of the intricacies and impact of story-telling was from reading Eloise as a child. For anyone who is unacquainted with the book, Eloise is an impish and imaginative child who lives in New York City in The Plaza with her nanny, a dog, and a turtle. I read that book dozens of times, and every time, I’d notice something new in it. It was captivating; the idea that you could, through some magical alchemy, turn words into such a witty form of entertainment.
tS: What female authors have influenced you as a writer?
KM: Helen Fielding, Donna Tartt, Kate Di Camillo.
KM: It’s the story of two doctors—a trauma surgeon and a cardiologist—who’ve been lifelong friends, and one of them is hiding a significant secret from the other. It’s partly about the humor inherent in parenting, partly an anti-romance (there’s a love-gone-wrong subplot) and partly an insider’s look of the practice of medicine. But at it’s heart, it’s a story about the complexities of female friendship and how far you’d go to forgive someone you love.
tS: What was the process of writing “Queen of Hearts” like?
KM: Arduous! And fun! I got so wrapped up in it I’d wake up from dreaming about it, or have to pull over to the side of the road while driving to write something down. It took about 9 months for a first draft, a year to revise and get feedback, and over a year to get an agent. My agent sold it in a few weeks to Penguin Random House, but then it was another two years before it was published. In the meantime, I grew old and died.
tS: As a big “Grey’s Anatomy” fan, when I read TQOH, it felt like a literary version of all the things I love about Grey’s. There is a strong female friendship at the heart of the story, complicated romantic entanglements, medical drama, and, in addition, the ongoing question of “What happened in their third year of medical school?” Do you mind the comparison to Grey’s, and do you see yourself writing more novels similar to this one?
KM: I love the comparison to Grey’s because everyone knows what that is. Well, everyone but me, apparently. I’ve never seen it.
My publisher has signed me to a contract for two more books about women in medicine, so yes, I do see myself writing novels similar to this one. I’m working on one now about a minor character from The Queen of Hearts: one of their med school friends, Georgia, who is a urologist in Charleston.
tS: Did you learn anything about yourself as a woman through the process of writing this book?
KM: Hmmm. I don’t know how gender-specific this is, but I learned once I set my sights on a goal I will nearly kill myself trying to achieve it. Writing and publishing is hard. That being said, I also have developed a deep, abiding, and totally sappy love for other female authors. They’re an amazingly supportive group.
tS: As a debut author, what has been most surprising/interesting/challenging thing about releasing your first book?
KM: How time-consuming the process is. Also what a total weenie I am. It’s hard to emerge from total obscurity to a spotlight, no matter how small it is. I don’t envy famous people.
tS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Thank you for being readers! I have a website where I recommend books, interview authors, and blog on writing topics: kimmerymartin.com. I’d love to hear your recommendations too.
Our thanks to Kimmery for making time to let us interview her! If you would like to purchase a copy of “The Queen of Hearts” through our affiliate link, you will be supporting the Same and treating yourself to a smart and satisfying read!