I met Gregg Luke at the Johnson County Library Writers Conference in Kansas City this fall when he taught a fabulous class titled Writing White-Knuckled Suspense. The class lived up to its name. In fact, Gregg did such a great job sharing suspenseful teasers from his work, that I rushed out and bought Bloodborne the next day. As promised, it’s edgy, a nail-biter, and not too gory for me (I asked)! Gregg is a friendly, personable writer (11 published thrillers) who is eager to encourage others.
What makes your books and writing unique?
Being a clinical pharmacist, my claim to uniqueness is that all of the medicine and science in my novels is 99.9% accurate, with a 0.1% allowance for artistic license. My novels are also a clean read, meaning there are no ultra-graphic scenes thrown in for mere shock value. You can feel safe letting your teens read them.
How did you find your writing niche?
A number of years ago, it occurred to me that there are a lot of thrillers out there that contain what I consider unnecessary graphic elements. Although highly detailed, my novels contain little, if any, vulgarity or sex, and are not graphic to the extreme. There is a wide audience out there who want medical-style thrills without all the unnecessary garbage.
How do you balance writing, speaking, online platform, other work, church or community service, and family? How do you organize your time?
My work week usually takes up about 40 to 50 hours each week. However, like any job, there are slow times between the crazy busy times. I carry my flash drive with me at all times. When I get an idea for my writing, I either scribble it on a prescription blank or I plug in my flash and jot down a paragraph or two. Also, I don’t waste my time watching sports or TV shows. I love reading, writing, and family, so most of my free times goes toward that.
Why do you think readers buy your books?
I assume readers buy my stories because they are gripping, fast-paced, intriguing, entertaining, and clean. I strive to make all the medicine and science in my novels highly detailed but understandable to the lay reader. And the fact that all the technical info contained within the story is real only adds to the intensity and creepiness of it.
What helps your business succeed despite competition?
My competitive edge comes from the uniqueness of my writing. I am one of the only writers among authors in my church who writes medical thrillers. Also, I still practice clinical pharmacy which gives me daily, updated info on the stuff I write about.
How do you find new readers?
I have a website www.greggluke.com for general information about my novels and such. I also post writing updates on Facebook and do book signings whenever a new novel is released. Additionally, I regularly attend writing conferences and teach classes on suspense writing.
What have been some keys to your success? What have been your biggest barriers?
I never sit back and think my writing has reached perfection. It hasn’t. I continually attend writing conferences, read and study other writers’ works, and edit, edit, edit. Writing is putting words on the page. Good writing is rewriting until it shines. My biggest barrier is time. I would love to write fulltime, but I truly love my career and would hate to give it up. (Plus, pharmacy pays a lot better than writing!) So I devote more time to writing when a deadline is near, continue to help my patients with their drug needs (you know what I mean), and fill the remainder of my time with life.
Gregg Luke is the author of eleven medical thrillers. His literary claim to fame is being a finalist for a Whitney Award in 2008 for Do No Harm, in 2009 for Altered State, in 2010 for Blink Of An Eye, in 2011 for Bloodborne, and in 2012 for Deadly Undertakings.