Monday, December 15, 2014

Dr. Glenn Parris and The Renaissance of Aspirin

The Renaissance of Aspirin by Dr. Glenn ParrisI’m delighted today to welcome ‘new-to-me’ author Glenn Parris, MD, to Thoughts in Progress to talk about writing and his latest release, THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN, a medical thriller based on the release and subsequent capture of a cure of Fibromyalgia. 

Dr. Parris is a renowned rheumatologist who works with those who suffer from the disease every day. His passion for the cure is evident in his writing. 

Here’s a synopsis of THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN:

        This is the story of Anita Thomas and Jack Wheaton, two young doctors unwittingly in possession of a designer antibody for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. The new drug is effective, but dangerously flawed. The problem is Anita Thomas has developed a cheap, safe alternative agent. Naturally, after expenditure of a fortune in development, the drug manufactures are not at all pleased with her.
         The pieces unfold, as we follow Anita and Jack from beautiful upscale midtown to the seedier downtown counterparts of Boston and Atlanta over shadowed by deadly stalkers and embellished by amorous often comically frustrating misadventures.
        THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN is peppered with industrial espionage, suspense and passion as the chase is on for the first cure for fibromyalgia. Entangled with colorful comrades such as Dasher Clay; Stormi Seales and Khandi Barr in their camp, Anita and Jack barely keep ahead of the treacherous cabal of nemeses; Luciana Velasquez and Jason Brasil led by the Über-villain, Orson Quirk.
        Paced in the tradition of The Pelican Brief, Coma or a contemporary Maltese Falcon, THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN is both plot and character driven with a ly credible McGuffin at its core. These complex characters are funny, mean, desperate, lonely and at the same time very humanly imperfect. Readers will find their prickly exploits thoroughly entertaining.

Now please join me in giving a warm welcome to Glenn. Welcome, Glenn.

What a great time to be a reader! We’ve had time off for Thanksgiving, and many of us have time off for the Christmas holiday and New Year’s. Warm hours by the fire with family and friends to kickback and read some of our favorite books. I already have a reading list assembled. I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, Feared by F. Paul Wilson and The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne. If I can find a quiet corner in my house this month, I’ll sit down and go over several chapters of works-in-progress written by members of my science-fiction critique group. And of course there is still the obligatory medical reading to keep up with developments in my field of rheumatology. All in all, not a bad way to spend the holiday break.

Did I mention that I also write as well? Yes I have to make time for writing, too! Good news/bad news, at this point, I’m mostly editing and rewriting as I have two novels in the works and a collection of vampire themed short stories in the hopper. 

My current book is a medical thriller and I am working on the sequel to that, but science-fiction is my true love. I’ve been enthralled by science-fiction since I was a small child. The more I learned about science and how the world works, the more I tried to force the square peg of science-fiction into the round hole of reality. Back in the 60s and 70s, the challenge was the limits of our knowledge and the slow pace of technology. Nowadays the challenge is getting your work published before the scientific community creates, develops and markets that same science-fiction idea!
For science-fiction readers this is a terrific problem to have. Why you might say? Because scientists are very open with their knowledge. If you’re reading science-fiction and you can learn or verify almost anything from the public library, a university database or even your own television. Then of course there is the Internet. Not always the most reliable source, but a pretty darn good one. You need little more than a basic working knowledge of some technology or area of interest. That’s where the fun begins.

There are so many topics that were previously thought to be too complex for the general public to grasp or just plain boring to anyone without the letters PhD after his or her name. I think that Michael Creighton, Robin Cook, Kip Thorne and Carl Sagan largely redressed this concern. Many of the objects of desire in those books can actually be found either in modern science or in development. These are just a few of my literary heroes in medical and science-fiction. I hope to one day stand on their shoulders and push both science oriented genres forward a notch or two. In my field of rheumatology there are incredible developments that border on science-fiction either in use or in the pipeline. Unfortunately, there are also treatments that are dismal disappointments and represent areas in which the scientific community is still whistling in the dark. (Think, flying cars for example.)
My current novel, THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN takes on the chronic pain syndrome of fibromyalgia. This is a diagnosis that defies diagnosis. There’re still no definitive lab tests, imaging tests, tissue tests or consistently reproducible physical metrics that we can rely on for diagnosis or treatment. Unlike heart disease, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure and diabetes, this is one of several medical disorders that defies measurement. 

That said, 6 million people in the United States suffer from this painful condition. So I merged the methodology of both medical research and development with the tenants of good science-fiction; ‘Premise’, then ‘What if?’ Then ‘What if?’ again, ‘Then “something” happens?’ Then I wrote a story in which an effective treatment for fibromyalgia was created by the same methodology that we created effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and diabetes.
Having created this MacGuffin-coined by Alfred Hitchcock to denote an object that all parties are in pursuit or that which drives the story, I began with my premise; a company creates an incredibly lucrative drug in high demand followed by “then what if that product’s launch was jeopardized before it got to market by a single whistle-blower? What if the individual who was “in the way” survived an assassination attempt and went on the run? What if the plot thickened (as it always does) and our heroine develops a better product that is even more valuable than the first? Then I bring in another protagonist to help her survive a squadron of kidnapper/assassins giving chase. As long as you can tie up the loose ends, you have a book. I hope you add my book to your reading list.

In the meantime, ripped from today’s headlines, the ‘what ifs’ are fueling the next in the Jack Wheaton series, coming at you in early 2016. Make some time, make a book list and keep on reading. I know I will. Happy New Year!
Glenn Parris

Glenn, thanks for visiting and sharing this look at your writing. I think your ‘what ifs’ make for an intriguing story.

Now for a bit of background for those unfamiliar with Glenn.

As a board certified rheumatologist, Glenn Parris has practiced medicine in the northeast Atlanta suburbs for over 20 years. He has been writing for nearly as long. 

Originally from New York City, Glenn migrated south to escape the cold and snow, but fell in love with the southern charms of Georgia and Carla, his wife of nearly 23 years. He now writes cross-genre in medical mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN is his debut novel. 

For more on Glenn and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Facebook.

Here’s a book trailer for THE RENAISSANCE OF ASPIRIN for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks for stopping by today during Glenn’s visit. Do you enjoy medical thrillers? What aspect of the medical field would you like to see written about in a medical mystery thriller?

*This post contains affiliate links.


  1. It sounds fascinating. And, with luck a cure for this vicious disorder will be found. Soon.

  2. Good point that science fiction can barely keep ahead of real science. (And my favorite genre as well!)
    The what ifs in your story sound like something we'd see in the news - or could really happen behind the scenes.
    Congratulations, Glenn.

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Glenn.

    Glenn - Thanks for sharing the background of The Renaissance of Aspirin. With so much at stake, I can well imagine that there'd be a lot of pressure to get that cure out there - and not to do so. I wish you much success.

  4. Glenn, you have two very successful careers now.

    Good premise for your book. No one wants a cheap cure, especially doctors and pharmacists.

  5. I may be wrong but that sounds like an original storyline. We need cures for so many debilitating illnesses that this will definitely resonate with readers of fiction.

    Dearest Mason, Have a Merry Christmas!

  6. Huh? I love medical thrillers and I have fibromyalgia. But aspirin?


  7. How wonderful to have his background to draw from when he writes! Love this plot.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.