DEVEN GREENE – Pathologist – Researcher – Traveler – Author

Fiction writer Deven Greene lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ever since childhood, Deven has been interested in science.  After working as a biochemist, she went back to school and became a pathologist.  When writing fiction, she usually incorporates elements of medicine or science. Deven has penned several short stories. Unnatural, Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1 is the first novel the author has published. Her recently completed novel, Unwitting, is the second novel in the trilogy.

After a suicide bomber explodes at a baseball game, Erica takes in a young autistic man who has been trained to be a suicide bomber, hoping to find the perpetrator behind the operation and prevent further bombings.

Any comments about any other of your books: Unwitting is the second novel in the Erica Rosen MD Trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone, although I think the reader might enjoy knowing the protagonist’s background and others in her sphere, which would be learned in the first book of the trilogy, Unnatural.

Tell us about your writing process. My writing is generally plot-driven. I start with a concept or idea I find interesting, often something in popular culture or the news. After I research the topic, I come up with a suspenseful plot centered around that idea. Then it’s time to conjure up characters who can pull it off. Lastly, after spending a fair amount of time thinking about it, I come face to face with my computer screen and type.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process? I find that every time I re-read something I’ve written, I notice things to change. I suspect I often toggle the wording back and forth in some passages each time I see them. It is also difficult for me to decide when I’m done. Maybe I could improve the wording here or there, but at some point, I need to move on.

What are you currently working on? I am, of course, working on the last and final installment of my Erica Rosen MD Trilogy. The working title is Unforeseen. Again, Erica and those close to her will be involved.

Do you base any of your characters on real people? I absolutely do base my characters on real people. This is most true in Unwitting, where Erica becomes the caretaker for a young man inspired by one of my children. Other characters often have smaller similarities to people I have known. Some people may see themselves in particular individuals living in my books, but that is purely coincidental. Or is it?

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? I’m in between. I learned early on that if I have a detailed blueprint, it’s bound to run into insurmountable obstacles as I write. I definitely have a plan, who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, some things that happen along the way, and how it will end. But as I am writing, ideas, details, and even inconsistencies pop up unexpectedly, so I need to be flexible and allow myself to make changes as I go along.

What kind of research do you do? I do enough research to feel comfortable with what I’m writing about if I don’t already know the subject sufficiently. I read books, do internet searches, and talk to experts that I know. I’m not writing fantasy, so I try to be accurate.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? For the most part, I use real locations. In the trilogy I’m writing, my protagonist, Erica Rosen, lives in San Francisco. I describe real places, such as Oracle Park baseball stadium. However, I often fabricate places such as homes, small stores, and towns.

Advice for new writers. Edit like crazy, and seek the opinion of others. It may be painful to hear criticism of your work, but it will help you in the end. There’s nothing worse than a rejection of your work without an explanation. Learn to appreciate whatever input others are willing to give you. You may not agree with it, and you don’t have to act on it, but you should at least listen with an open mind. One person may think your writing sucks, but if five out of five think it sucks, it probably does. Never fear, though. You can improve. It takes time to hone your writing skills.

Contact information:

Website:  https://www.devengreene.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dgreenewriter/

Twitter:  @DGreeneauthor

Instagram:  devengreeneauthor

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Violet Moore

    Both your books were well written, great plot with twists that kept me guessing where the story would go next.

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      Thanks, Vi. I appreciate your editing skills in getting them into tip-top shape.

      Reply
  2. Glenda Carroll

    You and I write about similar locations; one of them being Oracle Park. Your series sound great. Can’t wait to read it.

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      I made special trips to San Francisco to check out the places included in my books. I don’t know about you, but although I’d walked around the city many times, I didn’t pay that much attention to detail until I was going to write about it.

      Reply
      • Glenda Carroll

        I worked for the SF Giants for 8 years working the games so I know the ins and outs of the ballpark. There are many little rooms and passageways that are perfect for mysteries.

        Reply
  3. Mar Preston

    Enjoyed your comment about forensic pathologist weirdness. Like psychiatrists are the weirdest of medical doctors.

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      Psychiatrists can be pretty strange, but in my experience forensic pathologists beat them on the weirdness scale. That said, there are weirdos in every branch of medicine (and in every other occupation – probably even writers, not that I know any).

      Reply
  4. John Schembra

    I’ve read both of your books and really enjoyed them. The characters are varied and vibrant, the plot exciting, and you paint a picture with your words- I can “see” the characters and settings, and feel the tension from wondering “what will happen next?”
    The story flows nicely, and your writing skill is spot on! You are a master at weaving an intricate, exciting, story.
    Looking forward to the third installment!

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      Thanks, John. As you know, we writers never get tired of positive feedback.

      Reply
  5. Jim Hasse

    I loved “Unnatural” and am about to finish “Unwitting.” I’ve come to really care about Erica and her buddy, Daisy. Erica’s husband, Lim, is a cool guy and a great partner. It is interesting how you brought the American and a Chinese culture together. Lim’s understanding, or rather misunderstanding, of English idioms has made for some funny situations.

    I normally wouldn’t be into romance, but you’ve done an excellent job writing mysteries with a touch of romance. There is a soft side to all your characters. It is obvious that Dr. Erica is a compassionate doctor.

    I am looking forward to “Unforeseen.”

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      Thanks for the kind words, Jim. I hope you didn’t find too many punctuation errors in the interview above. (Inside joke).

      Reply
  6. John G. Bluck

    The premise of your book, “Unwitting,” is very good. I’ve always wondered what would motivate a person to become a suicide bomber. I like the process that you use to plan and research your novels. Also, you note that you are flexible, permitting your characters and the situations in which they find themselves to take you along slightly different directions at times. I look forward to checking out “Unwitting.”

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      If you do read it, I’d of course love to find out what you think of it.

      Reply
  7. Madeline Gornell

    Great meeting you, Deven, and learning about your process! Love hearing how other writers think and work. So agree, “Edit like crazy, and seek the opinion of others.”

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      Yes, I can’t overemphasize how important constructive criticism is. Still, it’s nice to hear from friends or relatives that your work is perfect. Just don’t believe it.

      Reply
  8. Michael A. Black

    Being a pathologist gives you an interesting perspective that you can bring to your writing. Your writing process sounds a lot like mine. Your trilogy sounds interesting. Best of luck to you with your writing.

    Reply
    • Deven Greene

      I certainly use my pathology background in my writing. I am not, however, a forensic pathologist – they tend to be the weirdest of an already weird group.

      Reply

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SHELDON SIEGEL – BEST SELLING AUTHOR SHARES HIS STORY

Sheldon Siegel is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon best-selling author of the critically acclaimed legal thriller series featuring San Francisco criminal defense attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez.

Sheldon is the author of the thriller novel The Terrorist Next Door featuring Chicago homicide detectives David Gold and A.C. Battle. Sheldon’s books have been translated into a dozen languages and sold millions of copies worldwide. A native of Chicago, Sheldon earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1980 and his law degree from the University of California-Berkeley in 1983. He specializes in corporate and securities law with the San Francisco office of the international law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. Sheldon began writing his first book, SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES, on a laptop computer during his daily commute on the ferry from Marin County to San Francisco. A frequent speaker and sought-after teacher, Sheldon is a San Francisco Library Literary Laureate. He is a former member of the National Board of Directors and the Past President of the Northern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and an active member of the International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. His work has been displayed at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois and a Northern California Super Lawyer. Sheldon lives in Marin County with his wife, Linda, and a 17-year-old tabby cat named Betty. They also have twin sons named Alan and Stephen. He is a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears, White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks. His twelfth Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez story, FINAL OUT, was released on January 26, 2021. He is currently working on his next novel.

What brought you to writing? I always wanted to be a writer, but I don’t know why. I’ve discussed this with other writers, most of whom have said that it seems that there is something hot-wired into our system to try to tell stories. It’s a bit presumptuous for us to think that we have something interesting to say. I have no formal training. I studied accounting in college at the University of Illinois, and I’ve been a corporate lawyer with a big law firm in San Francisco for more than 35 years. I have never handled a criminal case (not even a parking ticket), but I’ve written twelve best-selling novels about murder trials. I like to tell people that I’m a fraud on multiple levels.

Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? When I was practicing law full time, I used to write on a laptop computer on the ferry between Marin County and my firm’s office in San Francisco. I no longer work full-time, so I do most of my writing at home in the spare bedroom in our house. It’s a great luxury to be able to write almost full-time.

Tell us about your writing process: I start with a light outline. It helps me to know the beginning and the ending. I write a series, so I know that the books will feature Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez and will be set in San Francisco. I outline in greater detail about 50 pages ahead of wherever I am in the story. I try to write to the end of the outline, and then I outline another 50 pages. I generally try to write straight through from beginning to end, but I sometimes skip ahead and write the ending. I spend about 50 percent of my time on the first 100 pages because if I make a mistake in the early part of the book, I’ll pay for it later. Once I get to the midway point in the book, I don’t stop until I get to the end. I tend to write long and cut. I usually do at least six full drafts. The first draft takes about eight months, the second about two months. The remaining drafts take a couple of weeks.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process? I’m self-taught, so I find plotting to be challenging. First drafts are more difficult than second and third drafts. There’s nothing scarier than looking at a blank sheet of paper. Once I have something in the computer, I know that I can go back and fix it.

Has an association membership helped you or your writing? I have been a member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers for years. I served on the national board of MWA and as the president of the Northern California Chapter years. These organizations provide a supportive environment for writers since we spend so much of our time in front of our computers.

How long did it take you to write your first book? It took three years. I had the idea for my first book, Special Circumstances, for about ten years before I started writing it. I took one creative writing class at Book Passage in Corte Madera, which was very helpful. Then I worked on the book in short increments on my commute to work and late at night.

How long to get it published? I got very lucky. When I finished the manuscript for my first book, I was introduced to an agent who was friends with one of the attorneys at our law firm. She agreed to read the manuscript as a favor to my colleague. The agent liked the manuscript and agreed to represent me. She submitted it to multiple houses in New York, and they liked it. Two weeks later, I had a two-book deal with Bantam for a six-figure advance. The chances that this would happen again are one in a million, so I am very grateful.

We hear of strong-willed characters. Do yours behave, or do they run the show? My characters have minds of their own. At times, I feel like I’m just a stenographer. That’s why my outlines are so light—my characters tend to misbehave, and they rarely follow the plotline that I’ve started.

Do you try to make the antagonist into a more human character? Yes. Good guys are interesting when they have flaws, and bad guys are interesting if they have some positive elements. Characters who are all good or all bad are one-dimensional.

Do you have any advice for new writers? Read a lot and write a lot. Work on your craft so that you can make your story as good as it can be. It’s fine to read a few books about writing, but it’s better to spend your time writing than reading books about writing. I would recommend Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King.

How do our readers contact you?
Website:http://www.sheldonsiegel.com
E-Mail: sheldon@sheldonsiegel.com
Twitter:@SheldonSiegel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SheldonSiegelAuthor

 

4 Comments

  1. Maureen Andrews

    Is Nick the Dick Hanson a real person? If so, what is his name? What books has he written and what is the Netflix series based on theses books?

    I have enjoyed your books immensely. I really enjoyed hearing all your knowledge of San Francisco. I attended State where I took a class on the city, but I never learned the best ice cream shop, coffee place etc.

    Thank you,

    Reply
  2. Thonie Hevron

    An interesting interview, Sheldon. I used to commute on the Ferry to SF, too, back in the 70’s. I’d never have thought to spend my time as productively as you did! Now, I wish I’d gotten started then. BTW, your product is excellent which is probably why you got a “deal” so fast, although knowing someone helps, too!
    Fun to hear about your process, as well.

    Reply
  3. Deven Greene

    Thank you for that interesting interview. I remember you from a Book Passages conference where you were very positive and gave good advice.

    Reply
  4. Marilyn Meredith

    Excellent! Thank you. Was very interesting, and much different than I write–and I never got a big advance like that so tells you a lot.

    Reply

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