Interview with Anne McCarthy Strauss, author of A Medical Affair

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Publication Date: September 29, 2013

Book Links:  Goodreads

Synopsis: While under the care of her pulmonologist after a life-threatening asthma attack, Heather Morrison enters into an affair with her doctor. This affair violates the state’s code of conduct and his medical treatment violates the Hippocratic oath. Heather’s life is shattered as a result. After the doctor terminates the relationship, Heather begins research for her own healing, and armed with this information, she initiates a civil lawsuit. Although it is a work of fiction, A Medical Affair was extensively researched. A Medical Affair is a critical book for women who want to make educated decisions regarding their relationships with their doctors.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.

I have heard stories – both from friends and in the news – about medical doctors making passes at their patients.  The tales range from inappropriate touching during examinations to full-fledged affairs.  Realizing there was something inherently wrong with this dynamic, I began to research doctor-patient affairs.  I learned that such affairs are the ultimate violation of the Hippocratic Oath to which all doctors pledge to do no harm.  If a case is reported and found proven to be true, the doctor can lose his license.  And, in nearly half of the states in the U.S., a doctor having an affair with a patient is considered to be a criminal act.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

Writing A MEDICAL AFFAIR made me realize that, given the dynamic of the doctor-patient relationship, doctors who take advantage of their patients are as guilty as priests and teachers who molest children.  The nature of the relationship means the patient is not an “equal” to his or her doctor.  Doctor-patient affairs have been called “medical incest.”  Writing the book made me reassess my choices of my medical caregivers.  Ultimately, it led me to switching to a female doctor.  Why look for trouble?

Q. How did you come up with the title?

It wasn’t easy.  The working title had been FIRST DO NO HARM throughout five years of researching, writing and pitching.  Only when the book had a publisher was it determined that the title had too much competition on the Internet and on Amazon.  I spent three days and sleepless nights soliciting titles – all of them wrong.  Then, my marketing manager for the book, Jennifer Gilbert, used the words “a medical affair” in the midst of a sentence in an email.  I knew immediately that was the title.

Q. When did you know you would be a writer?

I’ve never understood people who didn’t know what career path they wanted to follow.  I’ve been fortunate to have known since I was a kid that writing was my one and only career choice.  When I was 10 years old, I started a newspaper called “The Princeton Street News” about the events in the lives of the people who lived on the street where I grew up.  It was handwritten in pencil and mimeographed.  I majored in Journalism in college, hoping for a newspaper career, but ended up in public relations.  Some writing, but certainly not novel writing.  Like most novelists, I’d love to be able to make a career of the craft.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Absolutely.  I’ve got a good start on – but not a title for – my next book, and ideas for many more.  In addition, A MEDICAL AFFAIR is the third novel I’ve written, but the first for which I obtained agent representation.  I may update the previous novels.  More likely, I will take some scenes from them that I will use in subsequent novels.

Q. What are you currently reading?

Currently, I’m reading THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty. Next on my must read list is Domenica Ruta’s WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.

Q. All of the books you’ve read, which book has impacted you the most?

Without a doubt, it was a self-help book I read in the 1980s:  WOMEN WHO LOVE TOO MUCH by Robin Norwood.  The book was dog-eared and highlighted on virtually every page before I learned to turn away from my propensity toward emotionally abusive relationships to a relationship with a man who truly loves me, listens to me, encourages me, and has now been by husband for 18 years.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

Having both lost our jobs during the (not so) Great Recession, my husband and I agreed to appear in a documentary, HARD TIMES: LOST ON LONG ISLAND.  The film has been nominated for an EMMY in the business category.  The award will be presented on October 1, the day after my book launch.  An appearance in an EMMY-winning film and a book launch during the same week are more than most of us can ever dream of.  Hard times brought me to a great place.  I am one lucky – and persistent – lady.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

A MEDICAL AFFAIR is both a novel and a warning.  If you are attracted to your doctor and suspect the feeling may be mutual, find another doctor immediately.   Once you’ve done that, you are open to initiating a personal relationship with your former doctor.  Never, ever date a doctor who is still your medical caregiver.  Some doctors marry their patients.  That’s all well and good if they are former patients.  But involvement with current patients is wrong, wrong, wrong.

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