The Doctor Digs a Grave started with a scrap of conversation overheard during the intermission of a school play; The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call began with an anecdote a friend told me ten years before I began writing; The Doctor and the Dead Man’s Chest was inspired by a setting--rural south Jersey; and The Doctor Dines in Prague was suggested by a visit to a marionette shop in Prague.
The origin of THE DOCTOR ROCKS THE BOAT was a little more complex-- the result of a combination of things coming together over many years. My husband’s anecdote about meeting Jack Kelly, Jr. in person; my love for Thomas Eakins's painting of the rower Max Schmitt; living near Boathouse Row for over twenty years and seeing the scullers practice on the Schuylkill every spring. But none of these things, by themselves, were enough to make a novel. Then one day I read in the newspaper about a rower who died during a regatta--a victim of SCD, Sudden Cardiac Death. That news item sparked my story.
THE DOCTOR ROCKS THE BOAT is the story of a young rower, Chuck Ashburn, whose father suffered from SCD syndrome. His father, Charlie Ashburn, was forced to give up his rowing career when a young man and transferred all his ambitions to his son. The boy’s mother, knowing that SCD can be inherited, seeks Dr. Fenimore’s help to have Chuck examined before the big race. Reluctant to interfere at first, Fenimore finally agrees. The result? The doctor finds himself involved in two murders and his own life
So--here’s my answer to the reader who asked, “Where did the idea for The Doctor Rocks the Boat come from?”:
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©2006 Robin Hathaway