I’m so tickled to welcome Kimmery Martin back to the Deb Ball this week! Kimmery was part of the Deb Class of 2018, the same year I read her irresistible novel, The Queen of Hearts. Her publisher described that novel as a cross between Grey’s Anatomy and Big Little Lies, and I was obsessed with it. Now, Kimmery is back with her sophomore effort, another work of medical fiction, The Antidote for Everything. I read an early copy, and I have good news: the prose is sparkling and smart, and the story has a gigantic heart.
Read through to learn more about Kimmery AND get your chance to win. Winning this week is extra great because I’m celebrating my own release week by bundling a signed hardcover of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes with The Antidote for Everything. As a bonus, I’ll send two runners up signed copies of Minor Dramas, as well.
Kimmery Martin is an emergency medicine doctor-turned novelist whose works of medical fiction have been praised by The Harvard Crimson, Southern Living, The Charlotte Observer and The New York Times, among others. A lifelong literary nerd, she promotes reading, interviews authors, and teaches writing seminars, speaking frequently at libraries, conferences, and bookstores around the United States. Kimmery completed her medical training at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She lives with her husband and three children in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her next novel, The Antidote for Everything, is available February 18, 2020, and is described by Goodreads as “a book for our times.”
You can find Kimmery online at her gorgeous #Bookstagram account
And now to the interview!
What first inspired you to start writing?
Reading! I’m a hardcore book nerd; I read three or four books a week. A few years ago I started writing book reviews and discovered to my astonishment that I had a distinct voice and an absolute passion for spewing out words. I started a book review website that eventually evolved into my author website and transitioned from writing about fiction to writing fiction of my own. But I’ll never equal the talent of my writing heroes.
Tell us about one of your writing disappointments or failures.
How much time do you have? That’s a serious question, because during my tenure with The Debutante Ball, I wrote extensively about this. To say I had a difficult time getting an agent would be an understatement—-it was an exercise in humility. I also failed by missing deadlines and allowing distraction to undermine my writing. (These last two articles were meant to be humorous but, uh, also constitute sort of serious problems for me.) But I think my biggest disappointment is the realization that, once published, the flaws in my novels are never going to be fixable. Once they’re out there and have been read by other eyes, you cannot go back and right your wrongs. You cannot clean up your mistakes. You cannot improve the flow of the story or fix a bad sentence or negate an error or a display of bias. You have to live with having done something imperfectly and try to do it better in the future.
Have you ever traveled to do research for your writing? Where did you go?
I recently returned from a trip to Spain and Morocco, where large portions of my third novel are set. As helpful as the internet is, it was no substitute for seeing these gorgeous, vibrant countries in person. I wish I had the time and resources to do this for every location in my novels!
Also: my novel that’s releasing in two weeks has a scene set in Amsterdam and I have been there in person. If you read the book, I’ll leave it up to you to assume whether or not I ‘researched’ that scene, but I just want to remind you: fiction.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I worked in a store that sold hand-crafted cowboy boots as a teenager. I was not a successful salesperson, given that I knew nothing about boots. Or feet.
Tell us about your next big project.
I’m working on a story that my publisher is pitching as The Hot Zone meets Sophie’s Choice, so that should give you some idea what it’s about. The main character is an infectious disease doctor who is traveling with her two children in the midst of a new viral pandemic—and she has to decide which of her children will receive the only available dose of an experimental antidote. I hope that life doesn’t imitate art here, given this new real-life coronavirus outbreak!
Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter and SHARE or RETWEET the interview for a chance to win The Antidote For Everything AND A BONUS Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by 2020 Deb Kathleen West, whose book launches this week!!!!
About The Antidote For Everything:
THE ANTIDOTE FOR EVERYTHING represents the best of Martin: a beautifully realized portrait of the humor and drama within hospital walls; and the importance of friendship (not romance), as among the most complex and rewarding of relationships. Georgia and Jonah are fun, and their devotion to each other and to their patients shines through. Martin beautifully balances the friends’ situational comedy— from attending to a fainted passenger on an airplane, to an undercover-ops-style investigation into the hospital’s practices—while grappling with issues like power dynamics in the workplace, compassion of care, and human rights.
Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.
Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers.
“With issues ripped straight from the headlines, The Antidote for Everything is a book for our times.”—Goodreads
“Martin’s second novel combines strong storytelling with interesting characters and compelling themes and offers a discussion-worthy, layered read… Martin’s trademark witty repartee makes her characters fun to be with, and she both entertains and tackles thought-provoking questions of honor and integrity.”—Booklist
“A moving story about the absolute power of friendship and the utter feebleness of intolerance.”—New York Times bestselling author Chris Bohjalian
“Intense and vibrant.… A binge-worthy page-turner that’ll rival your favorite prime-time medical drama.”—Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kerry Lonsdale
“With her signature compassion and sharp writing, Kimmery Martin delivers a poignant yet compulsively readable story examining the timely topic of medical discrimination. I loved it—and have a new must-read recommendation for book clubs everywhere.”—Colleen Oakley, author of You Were There Too
“With incredible voice and scalpel-sharp wit, Martin deftly navigates the light, the dark, and the in-between of the human soul. As Southern and queer, I saw myself reflected in honest pages penned by a true ally. This novel broke my heart in all the best ways.”—P. J. Vernon, author of When You Find Me
“A story of friendship, loyalty, and redemption, Martin’s second novel is sure to become as beloved as her first.”—Meghan MacLean Weir, author of The Book of Essie