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Dr. Cristina LePort: On Writing the Medical Mystery

Medical professional and author Dr. Cristina LePort discusses combining her two passions to write her new medical thriller novel, Dissection.

Dr. Cristina LePort was born in Bologna, Italy. She attended medical school at the University of Bologna and then completed her medical training at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn and at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases and has been practicing medicine for more than 30 years.

Cristina is also the Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Genescient, a biotech company devoted to genetic research on aging and the amelioration of chronic diseases. Medicine and fiction are her twin passions, and she is absolutely thrilled to be able to share her medical thrillers with the world.

LePort currently resides in Orange County, California, with her husband Peter LePort, a general surgeon. They have three children and three grandchildren. Visit her website cristinaleport.com and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Dr. Cristina LePort: On Writing the Medical Mystery

Dr. Cristina LePort

In this post, Cristina discusses combining her two passions to write her new medical thriller novel, Dissection, her advice for other writers, and more!

Name: Cristina LePort
Literary agent: D4EO Literary Agency
Book title: Dissection: A Medical & Political Thriller
Publisher: Bancroft Press
Release date: September 20, 2022
Genre/category: Medical Thriller, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/ and Political Thriller
Elevator pitch for the book: In Dissection, surgeon Steven Leeds and his former lover, Dr. Silvana Moretti, are beleaguered by an onslaught of heart attacks and strokes, preceded by mysterious cards: “Your heart attack will arrive in one hour!” Private detective Kirk Miner and FBI agent Jack Mulville investigate Silvana, who harbors a grudge against the victims, but the apocalyptic bioterrorism plot designed to topple the U.S. government has just begun.

Dr. Cristina LePort: On Writing the Medical Mystery

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What prompted you to write this book?

One day I saw a commercial on TV about a medication used to treat heart attacks. A man opened a card while a voice said, “Wouldn’t be nice if we got a notice when a heart attack is going to strike, so we can prevent it?”

I thought that was a great idea for a medical thriller. That’s how Dissection started.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

It took seven long years: one fun year to write the book, two tense years to edit and find my agent, three agonizing years to acquire my publisher, and one happy year to plan the publication. The basic idea never changed.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

I had read about the dismal statistics of a book being traditionally published, but I never quite believed them, until I stared at baffling rejection letters. Unimaginable!

Often agents discarded the novel, which I dedicated so much time, labor, and love, after a mere glance at my query’s first line. The journey to publication was the most difficult task of my life. Worse than medical school, or even more difficult than saving lives.

Dr. Cristina LePort: On Writing the Medical Mystery

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

During the extensive research for the political side of my novel, I learned about governmental policies in a state of emergency. I was surprised to discover the extensive arsenal of weapons available today, potentially able to wipe out the entire planet, if in the wrong hands.

I learned how fragile and precious our liberty and our pursuit of happiness can be, and how important it is to keep up our defenses. I also discovered how hard the FBI and the police work to protect us.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Heroes are regular human beings who keep on fighting to overcome impossible obstacles, despite their fears and limitations.

Radical extremists often commit acts of violence in the name of a religion they disrespect.

If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

An author advised: The best thing you can do for a new writer is to give him a copy of The Elements of Style. The second-best thing is to shoot him, while he’s still happy.

Seriously: If you truly love to write, read a lot, write a lot, and after every rejection, write some more. The final judges of your writing aren’t the agents or the publishers. The last word belongs to the readers. Thank God!

(Editor’s Note: The paraphrased quote above regarding The Elements of Style is a reference to a quip made by Dorothy Parker for a book review of the guide in the November 1959 issue of Esquire.)

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