Handsome, brilliant, and surrounded by good friends, twenty-three-year-old medical student Miles Fox has a secret—and it’s not that he’s gay. Though he harbors a crush on his straight best friend, Luke. Miles, like his grandmother, Anna, possesses the healing gift, an ability she’s made him swear never to use or divulge, lest horrible things befall those he loves. It happened to her when Nazis butchered her family.
But it all goes to hell when Miles heals a terminally ill man on a New Orleans cancer ward and wakes locked in the psych unit. Worse, news of the healing miracle spreads. For millennia, its carriers have been hunted by those who would steal it. Dr. Gerald Stangl and his teenage son, Calvin, know what Miles possesses. They, like their predecessors, will stop at nothing to take it, including kidnapping, torture, and murder. As the Stangls’ noose tightens, Miles and Luke are trapped in a death match with stakes higher than they could ever imagine.
Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Caleb: No music whatsoever. I write every day at a ridiculously early time…four a.m. is standard. I get up, make coffee and climb the stairs to my office. The walls are a dark purple that comes off as black. Invariably my cat Lulu follows me and demands to be held for a few minutes before I’m allowed to work. She likes her belly rubbed and will wrap her paws around my hand and not let go until she’s had her fill.
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer?
Caleb: I have three careers. I’m a psychiatrist three days/week. I write books as Charles Atkins, Charles Atkins, MD, and more recently, as Caleb James with DSP Publications.
Molly: Do you hope to one day be a full time writer?
Caleb: I like doing different things, so I’ll probably never be a full-time writer. I give between thirty to fifty workshops a year. Many of them clinical, but also quite a few on writing and how to never get blocked.
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Caleb: Absolutely. It’s imperative if you want to get books written. On days I go into the office, I’ll do about three or four pages. On the four days I work from home or the road, the goal is ten pages if I’m working on a first draft. At this pace I can finish a first draft of a novel in a couple months.
That said, from start to finish I go through many drafts. Dark Blood, which is a good and creepy thriller went through a ridiculous number of revisions. A word of warning, this book contains the stuff of nightmares. I wanted to go full out Hannibal Lector, although none of the gruesome bits are gratuitous. Sometimes you need to bring on the Nazi doctors, heads in jars, and creepy teens who can’t understand why kidnap and murder aren’t the way to your true-love’s heart.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Caleb: No time at all, although I bounce between my various personas. Recent books have included: Done to Death (Severn House) written as Charles Atkins. This is a fun murder mystery with two older women detectives who fall in love. It was a 2014 Lambda finalist. Also in 2014 I came out with a textbook written as Dr. Atkins, and of course in 2012 I have Haffling (Harmony Ink) my first YA written as Caleb James. My next book, the second in the Haffling trilogy entitled Exile (DSP Publications) will be out this winter. The Haffling books while still structured as thrillers, do not contain the horror elements we have with Dark Blood.
Again, thanks so much for inviting me in. I do hope folks check out Dark Blood and if it gets too scary, cover your eyes.
Caleb James is an author, member of the Yale volunteer faculty, practicing psychiatrist, and clinical trainer. He writes both fiction and nonfiction and has published books in multiple genres and under different names. Writing as Charles Atkins, he has been a Lambda Literary finalist. He lives in Connecticut with his partner and four cats.
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