In the studio we are pleased to have local author, K.J. McCall, here to talk about her new suspense novel, Set Apart, the book people are talking about.
What’s causing the buzz?
The book is set on the backdrop of national health care – a heated topic the last few months.
Was it the public discourse that inspired you to write it?
No, I began the novel in 2005 and finished it before the subject became a major topic.
Tell us something about the book.
At the core is a string of missing-persons cases a DC detective is investigating. His sister is an administrator for the Health Care Databank, privy to behind-the-scenes data pivotal to the story. And their physician brother who lives in a small town in Pa, just over the Maryland line. Through him we see the rationing and prioritizing that is inevitable with any government health care system. There’s an element of city vs country, bad vs good. And there’s a romance between the DC detective and a small-town German Baptist woman, which creates a dilemma – he doesn’t fit into her world and she doesn’t fit into his.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
The story line formed and grew during my years with Dept of Health and Human Services as an information systems specialist. There was a high internal interest in government health care and electronic medical records. The main idea came to me then, involving both subjects, with emphasis on the power of data and how it can be misused.
This is interesting. You worked for the Dept of Health and Human Services and you wrote a book about health care. Can readers expect some insider information?
No, the book is pure fiction. However, I believe much of what happens in the book could really happen. I’ll put it stronger than that – much of it will happen, if it isn’t already.
Besides how to write, have you learned anything else in the process?
The big surprise was how much I love writing. How enriching and all-consuming. Not just the writing itself but the whole process. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. Everywhere I go there’s a potential for getting new ideas, which I capture on paper or on a recorder I carry all the time.
Will there be another book?
Gosh, I hope so. I’m working on another one now.
Do you have any advice for writers just starting out?
To write as much as they can. Read the kind of books they want to write. Read books about writing, especially ones written by successful writers. Janet Evanovich’s “How I Write” was the first one I read. I recommend it. And the one by Stephen King, “On Writing”. I devoured it, twice. In it he says that writing is telepathy – a writer can transmit his thoughts to the reader over any amount of distance and time. If that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
First, that they be entertained. And second, I hope to leave them pondering some issues of government health care they might not consider otherwise.
Where can people get a copy of Set Apart?
At most bookstores. And on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle.
Can people get in touch with you personally?
Yes, my email address is KJMcCall@JJPublishers.com.