He currently divides his time between the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery and a variety of business consulting activities with Millennium Business Communications, LLC, a boutique marketing, communications and business consulting firm. An active volunteer, he has served on the Boards of the St. Clare’s Hospital Foundation, the Kidney Foundation of Northeast New York, and the Albany Academy for Girls. He has also performed medical missionary work with Health Volunteers Overseas.
He has a long history of involvement with thoroughbred horses—from farm hand on the Assunta Louis Farm in the 1970s to partner with Dogwood Stable at present.
His latest book is Shedrow, a medical thriller with a unique twist.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Dean. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, SHEDROW.
I had previously published a variety of works related to my profession, but I set my mind to a work of fiction after meeting novelists Robert Dugoni, Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen. Palmer and Gerritsen, both best-selling authors, also had careers as physicians, and Dugoni was a practicing attorney for many years before he published his first best-seller. So I did my best to study the craft and learn from three of the best, participating in several writing workshops sponsored by SEAK, Inc. and featuring Palmer, Gerritsen and Dugoni. As for my longstanding interest in books and writing, I credit a host of inspirational secondary school teachers at the Albany Academy, a school that counts among its alumni Herman Melville, Stephen Vincent Benet and Andy Rooney.”
Q: I love your title. Can you tell us why you chose it?
To horse lovers and thoroughbred race enthusiasts, the word Shedrow is instantly recognized as a row of barns at a race track. The word may be less familiar to others, but I like the single word title, like some of the Dick Francis classics: Nerve, Forfeit, Risk, Silks, Knock-Down. I think Shedrow is in the same spirit, plus there has never been a title by that name.
Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?
Well, all authors naturally think their work should be published. In my case, I spent a year getting to a rough draft, and another full year of refinement and critique by some very good writers. By the time my editor received it, SHEDROW already had very positive endorsements from some best-selling authors.
Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Grey Swan have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?
One of the advantages of working with a small press is that the author does have greater creative control. I knew from the outset that I wanted to use a modification of a photograph by Barbara Livingston. She is a great equine photographer with good name recognition—people know and respect her work. But it was my editor, Jim Kelley, who found the photo that we actually ended up using. It was perfect, because it shows a horse and a man standing near a shedrow, and the lighting has a very mysterious quality to it—what better for a horse racing mystery entitled SHEDROW.
Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?
I have worked with a traditional book publicist, Kelley and Hall, and a virtual publicist, Pump Up Your Book. But no author, or at least no debut author, should expect that the marketing will be done for them. It’s hard work, and in some ways I have worked as hard on the marketing as I have on the writing of SHEDROW.
Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?
SHEDROW is a racetrack thriller in the spirit of Dick Francis, but since the principal character is a surgeon rather than a barrister, it has a good deal of medical drama. So think Tess Gerritsen or Michael Palmer. They were two of my mentors, after all. Add fast-paced, short chapters and it’s reminiscent of James Patterson in that respect.
Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?
The main character, Dr, Anthony Gianni is seated at a metal table in an old warehouse. His hands are bound behind his back and two men are glaring at him. One of them is wearing a starched, white dress shirt, sleeves rolled neatly to the middle of his massive forearms. A ski mask, open at the forehead, conceals his face. The second man wears no disguise. He has longish hair slicked back neatly, white at the sides, darker on top. His brow is furrowed in a scowl, amplifying deep frown lines between his black-looking eyes. The man in the ski mask unveils a tray of surgical instruments, struggles to put surgical gloves over his massive hands, and reaches for a large scalpel blade. He tells Gianni that he is prepared to do some “surgery” on the doctor’s fingers—unless he cooperates by providing some information.
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?
I am working on a sequel to SHEDROW. There is plenty of room for further character development and more story lines.
Q: Thank you for your interview, Dean. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
The website is at www.shedrow1.com and the book is readily available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.