Not Violating HIPAA: BASELINE (Author Interview)

Not Violating HIPAA looks like a great book.  What can you tell us about it?

An emergency department is set on an alternate Olympic Peninsula (WA, USA), which recently cracked off the mainland (spoiler: not a typical tectonic event). Many ED employees live with psychiatric personality disorders. Most of the nursing staff side-gig as pirates. A storytelling pharmacy tech reprograms personalities, a pediatric nurse runs a crime family, and an environmental services detective solves criminal cases while cleaning rooms.

The style is sort of humorous slipstream, mixing science fiction, fantasy, alternate reality, and medical fiction. Mr. Brogath, Teller of tales ( calls my writing style “medical pulp.”

Oleksandr Pitura ( is a great illustrator. I met him just before Russia invaded his country. His wife is a nurse, and they were so busy I wasn’t able to reach him for a period and got really nervous, but I just looked  him up, and he seems to be keeping busy.

The cover designer,, is also Ukrainian.

Any plans to turn it into a series?

Yes. NVH: Baseline combines the first two books, Jessica’s Path and Duncan’s Gambit. Six to eight more traumas are planned, which will be told in three or four books.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

That’s a good question. I accumulate little bits and snippets, and I like to write haiku, so there are a couple of fun and easy “breaks.” Bubbabubble Mystery was a blast, and I had fun with Walter’s Half.

What inspired the idea for the book?

My background is in construction, but I had a health scare in my forties and took classes to be a nurse aide, thinking it would be easier. Physically, yes, it’s easier, but wow. Working in a Level one trauma hospital emergency department, you see a lot of stuff. Feet get cut off and forgotten in sinks.  People die no matter the quality of the compressions.

You need an outlet, but I stopped drinking a long time ago. I write as a therapeutic release.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

The assistant director of the emergency department confronted me.

“I hear you’re writing stories. Three things: 1) Be careful not to Violate HIPAA! 2) Fictionalize everything. And 3) Don’t use me as a character.”

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Not Violating HIPAA?

Developing characters was challenging but fascinating. I interviewed over two hundred hospital employees, asking them what they would enjoy doing on a full-time basis if they didn’t worry about wages or benefits. So many female nurses said they would travel that I made them all pirates.

It’s an expensive hobby. I love writing but hate going back and cleaning it up. I’ve hired friends and pros to proofread, though I haven’t coughed up the money for a line edit yet (sorry!). My wife is awesome and patient, but she gets that look.

What do you like to do when not writing?

I like my job at the hospital and have a great family, including my 15-month-old granddaughter. I’m also active with my congregation and help with volunteer construction work.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

They can visit my author’s page on Amazon or find individual stories on Kindle Vella.

And here are some chapters from the next book, the prequel, NVH: Preexisting Conditions

If you want to see some of my writing research, you’re welcome to visit my Facebook pages and blog that I’m neglecting shamefully.



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