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How to get Time for Writing in Busy life? Read expert advice from Author Joel Shulkin

Getting a time for writing for a working professional is quite difficult. However, in this busy life, one must need someone to care, love and support in writing. Therefore, none another but the life partner is the best. Read what Joel shared on writing, including what support he gets from his love and life. Behind every successful man, there is ...

Getting a time for writing for a working professional is quite difficult. However, in this busy life, one must need someone to care, love and support in writing. Therefore, none another but the life partner is the best. Read what Joel shared on writing, including what support he gets from his love and life.

Behind every successful man, there is a woman

Fact
Joel Shulkin

About Joel Shulkin

Being a full-time physician hasn't stopped Joel from writing. Far from it, the complexity of his patients, prior service with the United States Air Force, a Master's in Public Health. And involvement in organized medicine in the middle of an ever-changing healthcare system all provide raw material for his stories.

Joel's short work has appeared in various print and online journals, and he's won several awards, including Best Medical Fiction from SEAK and an Honorable Mention from Writer's Digest Thriller Suspense Competition. ADVERSE EFFECTS is his debut novel.

Joel lives in Florida with his wife and twin daughters. He is represented by Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency.

It is true that experiences teach us, and they are our first teachers in the life. When did you decide that you must write about the “Adverse Effect”? Was there any life-threatening incident in your medical practice? 

Fortunately, I've never been in a situation at work where my personal safety was threatened or I was afraid for my life. The idea of adverse effects of an experimental drug, however, originated from an uncomfortable experience (see below) and my training in psychotropic medications. I also was pursuing my Master's in Public Health at the time that I started writing the book, including courses on ethics and global human rights. That's when I learned that human trial conducted overseas often lack the institutional review oversight required here in the U.S., opening the door to maltreatment of subjects and the potential for pushing through unsafe drugs for approval. This book was a way of exploring the hazards of the current practice.

You being a full-time physician (MD), how do you find time for writing? To write a book, one need empty mind and calm environment. Therefore, you must be meeting many people in clinic every day, how do you manage time and place for writing?

It's not easy, especially now that I also have to keep up with marketing things like social media posts, interviews (!), and so planning for book launch. But typically I wake up at 5 am daily and write for an hour in my little home office before everyone else awakens. I aim for at least 500 words per day--sometimes it's a lot more, and sometimes it's only a handful of sentences. Or I might use that time for editing. Even 500 words a day over 6 months comes out to 90,000 words, which is a pretty good amount for a thriller.

Share to us what was the moment made you write this book and why? Please tell us a story behind the inspiration. 

I used to ride the bus to work when I lived in Boston, and there was a time when the entire bus was empty, until one man wearing old clothes boarded and decided to sit directly behind me. It was uncomfortable, but I could imagine how frightening it might be for a woman in that situation, especially if the man started talking to her. When I got home and told my wife about it, we came up with the idea of a woman who recovered from amnesia, but starts to question if her memories are real. That experience became an early scene in ADVERSE EFFECTS, when a homeless man sits behind Dr. Cristina Silva and says, “I know who you are. Who you really are.”

How do you schedule your day in the busy lifestyle? Tell us more about your family and friends who have helped you in the writing process. 

As mentioned, I typically do my writing in the early morning, as I help get the kids off to school, feed and walk the dog, etc. My wife is very understanding and supportive of my writing career, however, and she was actually my first reader and editor until we had kids, and provided wonderful insight into how women think (helping to make sure Cristina acted like a woman, not a woman written by a man)--and, seeing as she is from central Brazil, ensuring that my references to Brazil and use of Portuguese in the book were accurate. Now that we have kids, she doesn't have the time to read my work, but when I need extra time set aside for editing, proofreading, or meeting a deadline, she keeps the kids busy to give me the time I need. I'm also fortunate to have become friends with several authors who share an agent with me, and we read and critique each other's manuscripts.

Do you have any other writing projects ahead? If yes, are they only limited to medical thriller stories, or non-fiction based on true story? 

All of my current projects are thrillers--mostly medical thrillers but one is a sci-fi/superhero thriller, while another is a psychological thriller. I was going to co-write a non-fiction book at one point in the past (before I finished ADVERSE EFFECTS), but the agreement fell through.

Tell us more about the book, adverse effects and the characteristics of the protagonist.

ADVERSE EFFECTS is about psychiatrist Dr. Cristina Silva, who is studying the effects of an experimental memory-restoring drug on her patients. But when two of her patients commit suicide, she fears the drug is at fault--especially since she's taking the same drug. Then she begins experiencing unfamiliar flashbacks. When a stranger tells her she's not who she thinks she is, and she experiences nightmares and waking visions, she begins to wonder if she's losing her mind, or if the life she's recovered is the illusion. Determined to help her patients and friends even as she struggles to keep a grasp on reality, Cristina sets off on a search for answers that spans two continents, even if the answers--or the adverse effects of the drug--may destroy her.

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