Hello, author, doctor, and missionary, Dr. Don Brobst!
Thank you for giving us time for an interview today. Having read your book (exciting!), your blog and having talked with you personally, I feel I know you pretty well. However, I am looking forward to learning more today. Can you tell us what genre you write and a little of your writing journey?
Originally I began my writing career by publishing a book about my wife’s battle with cancer eight years ago. That’s where it really all began. That book, titled Thirteen Months, was actually a memoir, and a tribute to my beautiful wife, who I miss desperately. Although I didn’t have an agent at the time, that book found me one. Suddenly I had the opportunity to write my other passion—a fiction thriller, adventure, and mystery. Of course, with all good stories there has to be some romance or why bother?
For the past eight years I’ve worked to provide aid in Africa by offering medical care to the refugees and poor. As a physician, I’ve felt the deep desire to make a difference where it really matters instead of just living out the American dream of wealth and prosperity. God has given me the ability to go, the knowledge to help, and the privilege of allowing me to be a part of easing the suffering. While establishing clinics in certain regions, I have experienced several close encounters with local militia and terrorist organizations. That in part led to the writing of my book, The Ghost of Africa(http://amzn.to/2dElz6w).
Can you give us a short summary or back copy blurb of the book?
The Ghost of Africa is the story of New York City surgeon Paul Branson and his wife, Nicki, who had a dream. They wanted to help the poorest people of the African bush. After Nicki’s untimely death, Paul decides to honor her memory and carry on alone.
In South Sudan, he channels grief into hope, caring for villagers and working to save Leza, a little girl with leukemia who has captured his heart. Meanwhile, Jason Quinn, terrorist leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the LRA, has deadly plans for the people of South Sudan. But he needs information to carry out his plot — information from research Paul did for the US government years ago.
Quinn will stop at nothing to obtain this secret intelligence, even kidnap a dying child. Now, in order to save the ailing Leza and stop genocide, Paul must go beyond his medical training to journey into a world of brutal terrorism and global intrigue.
With only instinct and his faith as guides, how far will he go and what will he sacrifice to save the lives of thousands?
It is an exciting story. What do you do when you sit down to write? Anything special?
Depending on the scene, I may listen to action soundtracks from movies I like, or even music from Archangel. I do like to slow my mind down a little when I write any form of romance, and setting the mood with the right music is important for that.
Then, there’s every writer’s nightmare—writer’s block. For that, I strap on my jogging shoes and run, sometimes for quite a while. Strangely, when I sit at the computer to write after that, the words I’d been searching for pour out, but they aren’t words I got while jogging. Perhaps it’s a matter of clearing my head that helps.
What is something unique or amusing about yourself or your life that we would like to know?
I met the woman who would become my wife in a singing group when she was 16 and I was 17. I went on to continue with music and auditioned with an international group, which then toured the United States and Northern Europe prior to getting married and going to medical school. Now, I don’t sing at all. I write instead, relying on my experiences and medical knowledge to add accuracy to my plot lines. In addition, over the years working with the U.S. Army Special Forces, I have obtained somewhat of a “weapons specialist” title.
Wow. Touring with a music group and a weapons specialist, as well as working for the U.S. Armed Forces. I knew none of that! You’ve already told us a lot about your life, but can you give us a short biography and tell us how we can contact you (fb, twitter, website)?
I was born in New Jersey and educated in Chicago. I currently live in Birmingham, Alabama, where I practice medicine. I’m also busy as the Medical Director of the State of Alabama. As the father of three grown children and grandfather of six, I divide my time between my practice, family, writing, and many trips to Africa. I am dedicated to providing medical care in the African bush, as well as in Egypt and Ethiopia.
For more information, visit www.donbrobst.com
My Facebook Author page is https://www.facebook.com/officialdonbrobst/
The Ghost of Africa is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2c2XsfK
Twitter is @donbrobst
*GIVEAWAY!* One free book (either paperback or ebook) of this same title will be given to the winner of a drawing. Anyone who makes a comment on this post on my blog (lindarodante.com) or on my author facebook page (Linda K. Rodante) will be put in for a drawing. On Monday, following this blog, a winner will be drawn and their name will be given to the author who will contact them and arrange for the book to be sent.
Twelve men lay motionless on their beds in the makeshift barrack. Charles Manning stood in the doorway in disbelief as the stench closed his nostrils. But it wasn’t death he smelled. It was the chemicals and vomit. He turned in disgust to leave the room, but Quinn’s massive frame blocked his exit.
“You didn’t come to Africa to leave so quickly. So tell me, Doctor . . . how many of these men do you think are still alive?” Quinn gripped Manning’s shoulders with his enormous hands and spun him to face the test subjects that lay before him. “How many?”
Quinn’s calm voice forced a chill down Manning’s spine as nausea urged him to close his eyes and swallow hard. He rubbed his sweaty palms against his slacks as beads of perspiration dripped from his brow.
“See what you’ve done, Doctor? This, after only fifteen hours of exposure.” Quinn squeezed harder on Manning’s shoulders, radiating pain across his back and chest. Manning imagined Quinn could crush him with his grip alone. “Tell me how your work is coming now. Is your experiment a success?” Quinn pushed Manning into the room with such force that he fell to the dirt floor.
From there he saw puddles beside each bed. When one of the men moved, Manning forced himself to stand. He hurried to the man’s side and reached for his pulse. It was faint.
“He’s alive, Quinn! This man’s alive.”
Quinn walked to the bed unhurried, as if he didn’t care, and looked at the man. “What are you feeling right now?” he asked him.
Instead of answering, the man turned to Manning. “Help me.”
Manning attempted to take the man’s hand.
“Don’t—you’ll catch what I have.” He glanced around the room, then back up at Manning. “Water . . . I’m so thirsty.”
Quinn shook the man’s leg. “I asked you a question. What are you feeling right now?”
Manning fidgeted with the stethoscope that hung around his neck as he waited for the man to answer. His heart pounded, and he felt short of breath, anticipating what was about to happen. The man’s pupils constricted and he wheezed. Manning stepped back from the bed.
Quinn seemed to notice and let go of the ill man’s leg just as a seizure shook him violently. Less than a minute later, he stopped moving. Quinn motioned for Manning to check him.
Quinn punched the support post beside the bed and shook his head. “You promised me.”
Manning did his best to control the panic rising in his chest. “You have to understand, Quinn—we’re experimenting. We don’t have all the answers yet. I don’t have a photographic memory like . . .” He caught himself and fell silent.
“I’ve paid you a great deal of money for this formula, and you have immeasurable riches to gain from its success, Dr. Manning. You told me you could deliver it in three months—it has been six. Instead of riches, dead men surround me.” Quinn swept his hand through the air as he turned in a circle, emphasizing the carnage in the room. “Explain this to me!” He walked from bed to bed, glancing briefly at each man before turning back to Manning. “My time is running out. That means your time is running out. Do you understand?”
Manning’s head throbbed, and he used his shirtsleeve to wipe his brow. “There’s no need for threats.”
Quinn grabbed Manning by the neck and pulled him within centimeters of his face, drew his sidearm from its holster, and placed the cold steel against Manning’s temple. “Don’t take my promise as a threat, my friend.”
Manning struggled to breathe. “I can do this.” He could barely force the words out. “Let me. I can do it.”
Quinn released Manning’s neck and shoved his pistol into its holster. Manning gasped for air.
“You have one more chance to prove yourself to me, Doctor. Go back to your lab in New York.” Quinn flailed his hands in the air as he turned away. “Find the papers, steal the papers, ask your partner—I don’t care. Whatever it takes, get me that formula or don’t come back. I’ll send someone for you instead—to finish this.”
Manning nodded nervously. “Understood. You won’t be disappointed again. I’ll get it right this time.” He stammered, “I’m sorry for all these men who died.”
Quinn shook his head. “These men who died?” He walked to the door of the barrack and pushed it open. “Take a closer look, Dr. Manning. Please. I insist. Come and see your work.”
As Manning squinted to see in the fading light of day, he couldn’t believe the scene that stretched before him. He shook his head. “No . . .”
Everywhere he turned, bodies lay scattered on the ground—men, women, children. Some struggled, most lay motionless.
“You have two months, Dr. Manning.”
The village was silent.