A Sit Down with..... Charles Atkins M.D.

For any one who enjoys a good thriller than you need to check out this book. It is called..The Prodigy by Charles Atkins.

James Martin IV was a former child prodigy and talented cellist. He is a resident of an institution for the criminally insane. James was convicted of stalking a female musician and murdering her. Now from the power of money he is released. James is requesting that Dr. Barrett Conyers treat him as her patient. James is not the typical patient Dr. Conyers would take on but there is just something about James that draws her to him. James may be considered a sociopath but there is more than meets the eye with this cellist. James is gearing up for his final duet with... Dr Barrett Conyers.

The Prodigy is one of those books that once you start it you can't stop reading it till the end. I enjoyed the twists The Prodigy brought. It has suspense, drama and intrigue. James had a very unique personality about him. He may be a sociopath but he is nothing like you have ever meet before. If you are ready to dive into the depths of a thriller that will leave you begging for more than check out The Prodigy by Charles Atkins. You will not regret it other than maybe asking yourself why didn't I know about this book sooner. Well don't worry as you still have time to read The Prodigy before Charles Atkins next book Ashes, Ashes comes out. I know I can't wait to see what else Charles Atkins comes up with in Ashes, Ashes.

I want to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.

Explain what a day in the life of an author is like? How long does it take from start to finish completing a book?

I write first thing in the morning—every morning. One of the most-important habits for a writer is to write. I believe that most that are serious do it daily and typically at the same time of day.
A typical novel, from outline to completion, is about a year. This includes several drafts of a dense outline and a number of drafts of the completed manuscript.

How much research do you do and how do you do it?

For novels I tend to stick with what I know. I’m a psychiatrist so writing psychological thrillers is a good fit. When I hit material I don’t know, I go to the experts—cops, lawyers, mothers—whatever it is I need to make the book completely believable.

Has your profession as a psychiatrist helped you in writing your books?

Absolutely, I’m committed to helping my readers get an in-depth and accurate look inside the worlds of people with serious mental illness—both my heroes and villains. There’s nothing I hate more than finishing a novel or true-crime book and not having a clear sense of why people behave as they do—especially when they’re doing bad things.

How many books do you usually write a year?

Typically I write two books a year. Although, this year, I’ll have three published, two novels—both with my new heroine, forensic psychiatrist Barrett Conyors, MD—and I’ll also have a book on Alzheimer’s Disease come out in the fall—THE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE ANSWER BOOK (Sourcebooks, Inc.). I’m currently at work on the outline of Barrett’s third book.

Which book was hardest to write? Which was the easiest?

Writing is not difficult. The hardest part is doing the outline of a new thriller. It’s like the infrastructure of a building that no one will ever see, but without it the building would collapse. The actual book writing goes quite fast. The Prodigy went through many outline drafts before it finally got to its final version. In fact, I initially wrote my heroine as black.

Do you follow any rules when writing your books?


In The Prodigy James Martin IV is a sociopath. What a found interesting it seems like he didn’t really know that he was a sociopath in addition to the fact that he was not the one in control. Is this a common trait of sociopaths?

Jimmy is quite special, and is not like most sociopaths, although many will lie and say they didn’t know what they were doing at the time they…took an ax and murdered in cold blood.

Jimmy is a badly damaged adult who was horribly and sadistically tortured by his father when he was a child. As an adult he has Dissociative Identity Disorder a.k.a. multiple personality disorder. The child Jimmy who still survives in the adult body is not a sociopath. His father, who has become a split-off personality inside of Jimmy, is quite sociopathic.

Do you draw from real life experiences?

Yes, but all of my characters are fictional. But I do use my own experience quite a lot; it’s no coincidence that Jimmy Martin plays cello and has a Siamese cat. The pieces he plays in the novel are ones in my own repertoire.

What other author have you been compared to and how did you like this compliment?

People make lots of comparisons, everyone from Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwall and even Stephen King. At the end of the day, it’s flattering to be considered in the same company as such well-established best-sellers.

What is on your bookshelf?

Currently I just finished 8 of the 10 Dresden File books by Jim Butcher and am waiting for the other two to arrive. I’ve also been indiscriminately reading various series—romance, detective to sci-fi--to get a handle on what makes a hero or heroine someone you want to follow through several books.

What do you love most about the book you’ve just written/released?

I love the lush gothic quality of The Prodigy. It’s a very twisted love story that incorporates many of my favorite things—New York City, beautiful music, forensic psychiatry, and an insider’s look at the world of great wealth and how it can twist and distort those who have it.
I read that your latest book Ashes Ashes will be released in the U.K (June 2008) and the U.S (September 2008) It has Dr Barrett from The Prodigy returning and it also includes another sociopath.

Can you share any more details about this book?

Ashes Ashes—Barrett’s second outing—is a doomsday thriller, where the fate of the world hangs in the balance. In it secrets left over from the first book are handled—such as who is the father of Barrett’s unborn baby?

Ashes Ashes is not for the faint of heart, it’s the most intense thing I’ve written from a pure action standpoint. The action starts on page one and doesn’t let up.

It was so much fun doing this interview with you. I can’t wait to check out Ashes Ashes.

Excellent! And thanks for the ink in your blog.

Charles Atkins, MD


Anonymous said…
Cheryl, what a fantastic interview! I've never heard of this author, but did a search in our library's database and sure enough, he's there. This book is being processed now. :)

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