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Gary Birken M.D. Gary Birken M.D. Gary Birken M.D.
Gary Birken

Before I first set pen to paper as a novel writer, I was a fulltime pediatric surgeon. Nine years and five novels later, I am still a busy pediatric surgeon. The question I'm asked most often is; how do you find time to do both? The simplest answer is that when you spend every waking hour pursuing your life's passions, you can always find time. Practically speaking, I try to arrange my surgical schedule to leave some time for writing. But even with the best intentions and planning, it's not always possible to write every day. It's the price one pays for having a day job. Fortunately, vacations and weekends off offer a wonderful opportunity to write. When I'm not in the operating room or writing, I utilize whatever time remains to play tennis and basketball. I also hold a black belt in martial arts and try to spend as much time as I can in the dojo.


Background


I was born and raised in New York. After completing my undergraduate studies in Ohio, I was fortunate enough to spend two years studying in Paris. The opportunity to absorb another country's language and culture is one that I will always cherish and one that I have encouraged my own children to pursue. All of my training in general and pediatric surgery took place in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio State University Hospital and Columbus Children's. Upon completion of my fellowship in pediatric surgery, I moved to Hollywood, Florida where I have spent my entire professional career. Presently, I serve as the Surgeon-in-Chief of the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. I am also the immediate Past Chairman of the Children's Hospital Charitable Foundation and the Director of Pediatric Trauma Center.


My Novels


My approach to novel writing has always been to use fiction as a means not only to entertain, but to educate the reader in a particular area of medicine. This is why I go through the same process each time I embark on a new book. First, I select a timely or controversial topic in medicine, and then, using it as a springboard, I weave a story of suspense and conspiracy around it. When an individual reads one of my novels, my great hope is that he or she will not only enjoy the story's journey but when they are finished, they're more knowledgeable in a specific area of medicine.

I have found that over the years many of my readers have confessed their aspirations to become an author. I have had the great fortune of spending a considerable amount of time teaching fiction writing. The best advice I can give anybody who seriously aspires to write is to, first, read a lot and write a lot. And secondly, to take the time to learn the craft.