Gregg Luke's work as pharmacist prepares him well for writing medical thrillers. As he researches new drugs, "what if? reigns supreme." 99% of the science in his novels is real and he strives to make it "easy to understand to a lay audience yet have it remain complex enough to fascinate and add credence to plausibility."
Luke will present sessions on suspense writing, prose writing, and offer a 3 Page Critique session at our 2016 Writers Conference.
Introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?
I live in a small town next to Logan, UT in beautiful Cache Valley. I have lived here since 1991. I work as a clinical pharmacist for the Bear Lake Community Health Centers.
What kind of writing do you do?
I write clean suspense thrillers with a medical/science emphasis.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I can remember, but my foray into novels began in 2000.
Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
I chose this genre because it’s what I mostly read. I enjoy almost all genres but I seem to always come back to medical thrillers. And they say to write what you know, right?
How many unpublished manuscripts are stuffed in your desk drawer (or in a folder on your computer?)
I’ve been very lucky to have had the majority of my novels published. I have one full manuscript that has received a stack of rejections, but I keep polishing it because I feel it’s a great story. I do, however, have a file crammed with ideas for new novels.
What do you find most challenging or surprising about the writing process? The publishing process?
To me, the most challenging part of writing is to make my characters not sound like me. It’s sometimes hard to not include my knowledge, opinions, or preferences in a character’s structure. Then, once a character gets their own voice, the next challenge is to not let them take over the direction of the story. I’m a discovery writer, and it’s not uncommon to have a character take a scene in a direction that doesn’t move the plot in the right direction. As for publishing, I was (and still am) surprised at how little input I get on aspects like cover design, release date, back cover blurbs, and sometimes even the title! But perhaps that’s just a quirk with my publisher.
On what does your writing productivity depend? Is it a routine, a place, a special pen?
My writing comes in spurts. I try to commit time each week to my WIP, but working a fulltime job and having other family, church, and civic commitments often derails best-laid plans. Luckily, I have a multi-tasking mind and can work a story for many angles while involved in other projects. Then I sit down later and regurgitate what I’ve crafted in my head.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever gotten?
The best writing advice came from a creative writing teacher. He recommended that if you like a particular author, dissect their work to find out why you like them. Then pattern your writing based on what you found. I have a number of authors I like for a variety of reasons, and I take the bits and pieces I like and craft them into my writing.
To whom do you look for inspiration?
I look for inspiration from all my author friends. I revel in their successes and commiserate in their set-backs.
What books do you recommend to fellow readers and writers?
I don’t have any particular “how to” books I recommend, although I know there are thousands out there. I’ve read a couple but haven’t adopted everything they teach. I do recommend every writer to read works from a variety of genres because life is multi-genred. There’s action, adventure, suspense, mystery, romance, etc in everyone’s life, so why not include it in your writing?