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Mairi Chong on The Table Read

Written by Mairi Chong


I used to be a doctor, but now I write books about murder and malpractice. My protagonist, in the DR CATHY MORELAND MYSTERY series, is a doctor with bipolar disorder. It’s something I know a bit about.

Leaving Medicine For Writing

I reluctantly gave up work as a general practitioner following the personal diagnosis of bipolar, several years ago. The experience of being a patient rather than a clinician was both excruciating and profoundly humbling. I desperately mourned the identity that my career in medicine gave me. I missed my colleagues and patients, but I knew that I had little hope of getting back to where I had once been.

Death by Appointment by Mairi Chong, coming JANUARY 2022, on The Table Read
Death by Appointment by Mairi Chong, coming JANUARY 2022

Bipolar affects people in many different ways. My experience is to hear music in my head almost constantly when I am unwell. But one day, I woke to find that the music had been replaced by the spoken word. I always enjoyed creative writing as a child and read quite voraciously. Over the years also, I wrote some bits and pieces for medical journals.

That morning, as I listened to the words in my head and the jumble of a message that they began to form, I started writing it down and it gave me immediate and quite physical relief. Now that I am thankfully more stable, my words have greater clarity and their message can form a real story.

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Writing Death By Appointment

I chose to write crime fiction because I am an avid murder mystery fan myself. My books are traditional in structure and my aim in writing them has always been to offer the reader a ‘good deal’. I like to keep them guessing until the very end with lots of interesting characters and red herrings!

I gave my protagonist the same mental health disorder as myself, partly to raise awareness of the illness and to explain what it entails, but also to gift a heroic role to someone with a severe psychiatric issue. In doing this, I never intended to evoke empathy, but instead, a realisation that the disease, along with the alternative way of thinking that comes with it, can lead to truly great things (such as solving a murder!) Obviously, with a background in medicine, it made sense for the murder mystery series to be set in a doctors’ surgery. I hope that my readers will enjoy getting a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes!

I was delighted when the hugely supportive Bloodhound Books signed me for a seven-book contract earlier this year and so far, I have loved working with them. My first novel titled: DEATH BY APPOINTMENT will be released in January 2022.

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More From Mairi Chong:

For more details, visit Mairi’s website: https://mairichong.com/ or follow her on Twitter @Mairichong

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