Mitch Maiman, author of Every Third Night

What inspires you to write?

I am inspired to write when there is a story that must be told. It must be done with passion and honesty, and preferably described by someone who has a connection with the material. It needs to be illuminated by complex characters through their conflicts and their frailties and highlighted by true emotion. Good writing should literally pour out of the author like an unchecked faucet, only to be refined at a later time.

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?

I always loved writing and composed small things such as short stories throughout my life. In my career as a physician, I was quite well published with dozens of research papers and book chapters, but naturally because of the content, always found that type of writing very confining. But it certainly provided a strong foundation. As I progressed toward the end of my medical career into retirement, the opportunity to fulfill my dream of creating a novel came to fruition! Now I am officially a writer!

Can you share with your readers a little bit about your latest book?

Every Third Night is an eye-opening yet poignant novel set in a residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1984. It brings the reader into the real world of medicine at a time of limited supervision and brutal duty hours through the vantage points of young physicians enduring stressful conflicts and volatile relationships. As the protagonist and his colleagues grapple with the overwhelming friction of their circumstances, the intertwined subplots collide and come crashing down when a haunting mishap leaves the program reeling and their lives forever transformed.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes. The ending. Ending a novel is every author’s Achilles heel. The ending must be composed by putting all the pieces of the subplots together with no inconsistencies and creating an uplifting and consistent final product. I have read so many novels that have captivated my attention throughout only to have the last one or two chapters disappoint. I understand that paradox. One can start with the ending and work backward to minimize the task, but that creates a whole new set of problems with originality and true development of the characters. There is no easy answer. And do not be afraid to double back and change the ending. The original final chapter of Every Third Night was completely different from the published version.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

The protagonist, Jimmy Zito, for sure. He is a complex young man, with an enormous amount of internal conflict that so characterizes so many of our lives. In addition, although outwardly he seems very well put together and stable, his inner demons haunt his ability to find true peace in his life. One-dimensional characters may be functional in the simplest of movies or on television series, but good novelists must create identities that are believable and move the reader. Those that create emotion. And for that to happen, the stars of every book must grapple with similar issues that plague real people’s lives. Jimmy Zito is all of that.

What role does research play in your writing?

Being that I spent my entire medical career intricately involved with the issues addressed in Every Third Night, I probably did not spend as much time researching topics compared to a work of historical fiction foreign to me. However, there was still a good amount of fact-checking and verification that was necessary, probably a good thirty hours of work in total. The importance of accurate and painstaking research cannot be overestimated.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

As a physician, the idea for Every Third Night was generated by the realization that so few lay people really understand the grueling, highly abusive nature of medical residency training in this country, especially in bygone eras when there were no duty hour restrictions or safeguards to protect young physicians. In addition, there was a need for fellow doctors who endured such deplorable conditions to have their stories told and share the commonality of typical conflicts. I felt the best way to accomplish this goal was through a fictional story that easily could have simulated any of our actual true-life experiences.

What is your next project?

My next novel, entitled The Rainbow Diary, will be nothing at all like my first. It attempts to grapple with concepts that dominate us all – loss, redemption, and mortality – through the eyes of one man’s struggle. It was inspired by the premature death of a very close friend and my reaction to that tragedy. It is more difficult to compose and complete than my previous novel, but the challenge is part of its beauty.

Want to learn more and get the book?

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