10 November 2007

Blog Tour--Sandra Glahn

My friend and mentor, Sandra Glahn, has a new book on the shelves, Informed Consent, a novel.

Informed Consent tells the story about a doctor and researcher, Jeffrey Cramer, who has discovered a possible cure for AIDS. The media loves him. But guilt from accidents that wreak havoc on the lives of those he loves plaques him and spurs him toward work, taking him away from his family. When another accident? sabotage? brings about horrible results with his cure, the media and the hospital turns against him. Now his own son's life hangs in the balance. Dare he use the cure to save his son's life, even if it means unethical medical practices?

The writings propels you forward, forward, forward in the action, and deep into the character's psyche. Sandi doesn't waste a single word. Each scene spins with meaning.

Nothing is simple. Even when characters make decisions that you know are wrong, you don't question the character. Sandi doesn't give you predictable or easy answers. Flaws pepper the pages, yet these characters aren't pure evil. They are you and me trying out to figure out truth in this messy world.

I had the opportunity to ask Sandi a few questions regarding this book:

This book brings up the question of AIDS, opening up discussions for how we, as Christians, can and should handle it. You've mentioned before that the church in Africa is doing a better job with it than the church in the States. As you know, my heart is to incarnate Christ's love to the hurting and hopefully inspire others to do the same. What are some practical ways that we can incarnate Christ's love to those who have contracted the virus both in our country and in other countries?
. Pray. Really. Fervently.
. Care for widows and orphans. Send money monthly through an aid organization such as Samaritan's Purse earmarked for HIV/AIDS orphans/widows.
. Sponsor someone you can grow to know. Link up with an HIV/AIDS-impacted family via http://www.adoptalegacy.com/ (Heather Jamison's ministry). Sponsoring a family through a ministry such as hers helps put a face on AIDS, and research shows we only give to that through which we feel we can truly make a difference.
[My note: Heather Jamison will be guest blogging on Monday for our Mentor Monday--come back to find out how she deals with everyday struggles in her ministry.]
. Lend to the poor. You can do so through kiva.org (secular) or ALARM (http://www.alarminc.org/) (Christian), which work through locals to help families start small businesses to help with the economic impact of the pandemic. You get all your money back with the satisfaction that you've invested in what lasts.
. Get informed. Watch the Frontline "The Age of AIDS" show online (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/) or get it on Netflix. It will provide you with a terrific history of the disease, what we know about it, and even how the faith community has responded (good and bad). You can also check out a related website: World Vision's info on AIDS.
. Volunteer. In every city you can find ways to volunteer. For example, in Dallas we have the AIDS Outreach Center, which at the moment needs a librarian and someone to coordinate events. http://www.aoc.org/volunteers.asp
Your writing is tight. In fact, Nicole at Into the Fire linked your writing to your journalism background. How do you see that backround influencing your fiction? How has it gotten in the way?
Thanks. Actually, it was the other way around. When I was a journalist, I kept using narrative structure. I'd develop setting, characterization, narration, plot... Journalist Jon Franklin won a couple Pulitzers applying narrative elements to his journalism, so that told me readers like story structure. Writing as a journalist I had to put the least important stuff at the end in case it got lopped off due to space limitations. As a narrative writer, I try to "come full circle" at the end, but the story's ruined if the last few paragraphs get chopped off. I like writing fiction much more than writing for the print market!
Speaking of influences, what/who are some of your influences?
Author(s)? Madeleine L'Engle. Lief Enger. Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Mentor(s)? Reg Grant at Dallas Seminary. My many editors in publishing houses.
Historical Church figure(s)? Julian of Norwich; Margaret Fell Fox; Dorothy Sayers
One of the strengths mentioned numerous times in reviews is your research. I can't imagine coming up with a cure in biomeds and having it sound legitimate! Can you share with us some of your researching methods and secrets?
The first secret is to hire a doc as a consultant! Actually, I've coauthored four non-fiction books in the medical field--two on infertility, one on marital intimacy, and one on contraception. So I kind of knew my way around medical journals and sites or I never would have attempted it. I also had a nasty fall two years ago and had two major surgeries as a result. (For a while I had a hospital bed at home.) So I kept notes on sights, sounds, smells, and procedures down to the tinkling of the plebotomist's vials at 4:30 AM!
Thanks, Sandi! Love your book!
To learn more about Sandi, her ministry, and her writing, visit her website: Aspire2
or her blog: Aspire2Blog


Danica/Dream said...

Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing info on what we can do.

Pamela said...

Another book that should be in my lap.

Jenny said...

Agreed, Pamela--get the book. It is a great read.
Thanks, Sandi, for the story rollercoaster ride.
Thanks, Heather, for the great interview.
Abundant blessings!