Author spotlights (like this one with Kimmery Martin, author of The Antidote for Everything and The Queen of Hearts, both from Berkley) are a great way to learn how other authors are finding success.
Kimmery Martin is an emergency medicine doctor-turned-novelist whose debut work, The Queen of Hearts (Berkley), has been praised by multiple media outlets including Southern Living, The Harvard Crimson, The Charlotte Observer and The New York Times.
A lifelong literary nerd, she promotes reading, interviews authors, and teaches writing seminars. She's a frequent speaker at libraries, book festivals, and bookstores around the United States.
She lives with her husband and three children in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In this post, Martin shares her experience writing and publishing The Antidote for Everything with Berkley, including what prompted the book, why she used sensitivity readers (and a surprise connected to that process), and more.
Dive into the world of writing and learn all 12 steps needed to complete a first draft. In this writing workshop you will tackle the steps to writing a book, learn effective writing techniques along the way, and of course, begin writing your first draft. In the workshop, you will be able to finish either a decently developed half draft (of half of your novel) or a rough "in-progress" full draft. However, you'll learn all the tools needed to complete the full first draft. At the end of this workshop, you will have accomplished every writer's goal—an "in-progress" working first draft.
Name: Kimmery Martin
Literary agent: Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Book title: The Antidote for Everything
Publisher: Berkley (PRH)
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Genre: Women's Fiction/Medical Fiction
Elevator pitch for the book: When two physicians are instructed to stop treating transgender patients, one of them makes a shocking choice that changes both their lives forever.
What prompted you to write this book?
It was partly inspired by real-life circumstances—one of my colleagues, a physician, was fired from a privately-owned practice after refusing to abandon treatment of trans patients. I think the novel poses valid questions: What happens when a doctor's core ethical principles conflict with administrative ones? And who gets to make medical decisions: Administrators? Politicians? Or doctors and patients? How far is too far when battling injustice? But also, the book is an exploration of friendship, which I consider to be one of the most interesting and profound of human relationships. I love these characters and their entirely voluntary bond to each other.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication?
I'd started the novel with a different plot—one of the main characters suffered a brain tumor—and the publisher guided it in another direction, thinking my original idea sounded too grim even though I promised them some humor too. I think it took around three years.
Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?
Most of the big publishing surprises walloped me during my first rodeo. This time I had a better idea of what to expect but I'd still like to delve into some of publishing's deepest mysteries…how exactly are decisions made when a publisher formulates their list of priority releases, for example? What constitutes good sales? How does one get in touch with Reese Witherspoon? That kind of thing.
Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?
Every moment writing is a learning moment for me. Two books in, I am still figuring out how to do this thing! In this particular book, I had to do quite a bit more research than in my debut. The storyline revolves around discrimination in healthcare so it touches on legal issues. I figure people want a doctor offering legal analysis about as much as they want surgery from their lawyer so that was tricky. Also, I'm not a member of the LGBTQ community myself and one of the protagonists is, so I worked extensively with sensitivity readers. This resulted in an ironic and delightful surprise: One of my sensitivity readers has since become an incredibly close friend. I'm not going to compare us to Georgia and Jonah, the book's protagonists, but we aren't wholly dissimilar in our affection for one another. Even if the book bombs, it will have been a blessing.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
Entertainment in a thought-provoking context.
If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?
Read! Read in your genre, of course, but also read outside it and try to analyze the voices you find most appealing. This will help you but it will also spur some teeth-gnashing and garment-rending at your own perceived inadequacies. Or maybe that's just me.
If you're an author who would like to be featured in a future post, send an email to Robert Lee Brewer with the subject line "Author Spotlight" at firstname.lastname@example.org.