IR Approved Author John Albedo: “The best [part of being indie] is getting an opportunity to depart from the beaten track…allowing the final product to emerge as you intended.” 

CANNIBAL CLUB received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author John Albedo.

What is the name of the book and when was it published? 

CANNIBAL CLUB  (May 2022)

What’s the book’s first line? 

I have come to believe that all mental illness – including my own – is abstract and luscious, wrongly confined by the certitude of taxonomists who, more like taxidermists, stuff the dead with rubble.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Armed with extraordinary medical talent and a winning smile, newly trained surgeon, Chase Callaway, enters the world of private practice in Los Angeles, only to be greeted by a wall of stunning peer rejection. A charge of malpractice is levied a mere three days into his career, followed by professional attacks intended to ruin, effectively ending his practice after only a month. Battling back to respectability takes many years until he emerges as Chief of Surgery, but dark clouds linger. Significant mental injuries still fester, reinforcing his growing fear of a multi-generational family curse and prompting a return to academic medicine at his alma mater, Far West Texas University. Under the direction of his former mentor, he is given the charge to develop a multidisciplinary breast center, a new concept in the late 1980s, in the midst of a controversial revolution in breast cancer management. Energized by the abiding belief that the California experience had served its Providential purpose to strip away personal gain in favor of group excellence, Dr. Callaway’s indomitable spirit meets head-on with unrelenting tribulation.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

Personal experiences over the course of 40 years in medicine.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

The book provides a unique insight as to how the practice of medicine can be destructive for some personalities. Importantly, the book is the second volume of a series called The Brainbow Chronicles, and CANNIBAL CLUB sets the stage for the denouement in the final book called HEAVENLY BLUES. I’m anticipating that the ending of the trilogy will be a most memorable reading experience.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? 

The main character will self-sacrifice to the point of self-destruction. This is slightly different than a Messiah complex, where a greater good is imagined.  For Chase Callaway, his self-sacrifice is aimed at redemption in order to re-establish his reputation. Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? More than “reminding” me, the main character in the trilogy is based on John Steinbeck’s Joseph Wayne in an early novel, To A God Unknown.  In fact, this book becomes a character in my story in its own right.  (Steinbeck’s novel was the “hardest” one to write, taking 5 years. Also, it was the least successful as few understood the character, Joseph Wayne).

When did you first decide to become an author? 

It first became a goal in 1969 after reading then-unknown Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain. During my surgical residency (1970s) I drafted a novel that received a great deal of attention, but was never published after it was eclipsed by Robin Cook’s COMA.

Is this the first book you’ve written? 

This is my 4th novel, with the 5th scheduled for publication in February 2023.  The first two novels were non-medical and published by WW Norton in 2001 and 2003, writing under my real name, A.B. Hollingsworth. As remote as 20 years might seem, my first novel, FLATBELLIES, has been in nearly continuous option for film/TV since it was published.  Also under my real name, I published the true crime story – KILLING ALBERT BERCH – the story of the murder of my 30-year-old grandfather in 1923…for hiring an African American to work in an all-white town.  The African American was murdered as well.  After that book was published, I went back to working on the Brainbow Chronicles, which off and on took over 20 years to write.  My pseudonym, John Albedo, is used only for authorship of this trilogy.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I was trained as a general surgeon, but left this for breast cancer surgery as part of the “lumpectomy revolution” in the late 1980s, early 1990s.  I’m semi-retired now, working as a consultant for a breast imaging company and a biotech company working on a blood test for early breast cancer.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

At my peak, maybe 15-20 hours a week, but I would also take “vacations” from work in order to write 60 hours a week, esp. when getting close to the end of a book.  I would never advise the marathons, as writing deteriorates after 4-6 hours for most of us, but I had no options when I was working full time.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie? 

The best is getting an opportunity to depart from the beaten track, that is, allowing the final product to emerge as you intended.  The hardest is the same thing – if you depart from convention, you might flop.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why? 

The main advantage of the large traditional publishers is their marketing infrastructure. If I were struggling for fame or fortune (see next question), I would first seek out the large traditional publishers. However, I was more concerned with getting my thoughts in print. Also, trying to find a publisher for a trilogy limited my options. As it turned out, I’ve been happier getting my story told exactly as I intended.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

When I began writing 45 years ago, it was fame and fortune. Or, maybe it was the other way around – fortune and fame.  However, CANNIBAL CLUB is semi-autobiographical, so I think readers will believe me when I say that The Brainbow Chronicles was largely catharsis and self-analysis.  My goal was to convert my experience into the “classical” form of a novel (that is, having a theme, providing edification, etc.)  I would much rather hear that The Brainbow Chronicles has become a medical fiction classic than worry about the dangers of fame and fortune.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

An odd couple – John Steinbeck and Michael Crichton.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

The Andromeda Strain.

 

IR Staff

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