Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller
Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in south Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes. So, when Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar. But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find. CONNECT WWW.NATASHAJENEENTHOMAS.COM
Interview with Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I was born and raised as an only child in Daytona Beach, Florida and now live in the Metro Atlanta area. I work as a psychiatrist who specializes in caring for pregnant and postpartum women, and in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
My parents tell me I was a very quiet child. I think that’s partially because I am introverted. I think my constant daydreaming contributed to my quietness, too. Solo activities like reading and playing piano filled my childhood. I was fortunate to have several strong English teachers who taught me grammar and writing construction, spurred on my love of literature, and entered me in writing contests. In high school, I won a National Council of Teachers of English “superior performance in writing” award after my teacher submitted an extemporaneous piece I had written. Winning that accolade made me think, “Hmm, maybe I’m good at this writing thing.”
I’ve been writing in some form ever since. I began with poetry but have also written short stories, newsletters, and mental health blogs. Now, I’m presenting my first novel!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
My work as a psychiatrist has been a major inspiration in both my blog writing and in the writing of my book, Family Medicine. As I mentioned earlier, I specialize in women’s mental health work. Many of the themes throughout the book were selected based on areas where I see women struggle.
However, this book was also inspired by a recurring dream I’ve had for over twenty years. I started writing the story a decade ago and couldn’t pull all the pieces together. It was always scratching at my brain. I finally took the opportunity to write it once my work travel time was eliminated as I converted my psychiatric practice to an exclusively telemedicine practice in 2020.
It was fun to make the story a fictional account and to put a psychological suspense thriller twist on it. That part of my writing is heavily influenced by my father and all the horrors and thriller films we watched together when I was young.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Well, since this book is a thriller, I’d love to save the surprise of discovering the theme for my readers. It would be really cool to hear after people read it what themes they picked up—and what they think is the major message.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I write psychological suspense because I am infinitely interested in the human mind. In medical school, I very strongly considered becoming an OB/GYN and planned to live out my career delivering babies. But in the end, I selected psychiatry as a specialty because I realized I’d never fully understand or master the human mind. That idea intrigued me.
My fictional writing, at this point, is a reflection of the awe, respect, and sometimes outright terror I discover when delving into human psychology.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I love this question! In the story, the main character runs into a woman on the train who begins to stalk her. I think it would be really interesting to know what this woman is doing when she’s not stalking our main character.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
So far, it seems like Facebook has been the most helpful in that respect. I have the most followers on that platform and some people are beginning to really interact with the page. They’re entering contests, have subscribed to my website, and respond in some way to most posts. It’s cool to see.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
I’d say don’t talk yourself out of your dream to write. You don’t have to be super experienced to do great writing but you do need to be open to learning. You also have to set aside time to write, even when you don’t feel inspired. Don’t give a ton of credence to the idea of writer’s block. Get advice from other writers and keep what resonates with you. Don’t be afraid to share your work with people who can make it stronger. If you’re too sensitive to critique, your work will suffer. Have fun with it! You get to create your very own world!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
Now that I’ve gotten over the hump of writing my first novel, I definitely expect to continue writing and hope to have another project out in 2022. Who knows, Family Medicine may even have a sequel!
About the Author
Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in psychiatric private practice exploring individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.
Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. When she is not doctoring or writing, she is enjoying her family, her home, or her corner of the couch.