Dr Rishi Kanna is a practising spine surgeon, based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. He is an active blogger and has written more than a hundred blogs in social media, and several of them have been published in the national edition of The Hindu newspaper.
TBE: Tell us about your book, can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Dr Rishi Kanna: This is a unique story, just short of being scandalous. As a society, on one side, we worship doctors and on the other side, we denigrate them. It is easily perceivable that our healthcare system is troubled. What are the reasons behind the existing problems of healthcare system of India? Are doctors really to be blamed for everything? What is the role of Government and Corporate owners in this cesspool?
If you read the story, the reader can understand the answers for the above questions.
TBE: How did you come to write The Phoenix Doctors? How much of the story is drawn from your own experience as a physician?
Dr Rishi Kanna: Looking at the problems faced by doctors and the society being totally oblivious to it, I wanted the common man to understand the hardships faced by doctors in delivering good health care to the public. I believed that a story is the best way of passing a message to an audience in an interesting manner. I am glad that it had come out well and reached a good part of the society.
For the second part of the question, I had drawn inspirations from many doctors for the story. About 60% would be my own personal experiences.
TBE: Spine Surgeon and writing are two very different pursuits. Do you find similarities in the focus required for each, or do they satisfy two distinct parts of your personality and intellect?
Dr Rishi Kanna: Yes. They have a lot in common. The common traits of being a spine surgeon and an author would be attention to detail, calm and composed attitude and able to put up long working hours.
Being a spine surgeon is the priority while writing is my passion.
TBE: Do character ideas, intentions and plot inform your writing from the start? Do you discover much in the writing process or is it mostly pre-determined by you before the writing begins?
Dr Rishi Kanna: Most of the character sketch is pre-determined, while I add up stuff while re-visiting the manuscript periodically. Of course characters are drawn from real life personalities.
TBE: What do you do as a writer when your brain feels stuck and uncreative? What gets your work churning?
Dr Rishi Kanna: I am a multi-tasker. The story keeps running in the back of my mind while I am working on my clinic and perform a regular surgery or when I am doing regular works like cycling. So, when I sizable part of the story is formed, I create time to write it. This is my first book and so it has been ruminating in my mind for quite some time. I think the challenge would be to write the next few books in different genres.
TBE: Tell us about your publishing journey. How’s your experience with Leadstart Publishing?
Dr Rishi Kanna: Leadstart publishing is a very professional organisation. Very happy and grateful that my debut work landed in their hands.
TBE: What does a typical day look like for you?
Dr Rishi Kanna: Irrespective of the day, I get up at 5.30 and share a coffee chat with Akila, my wife. Then I go for walking or cycling for 45 minutes. Then I am off to the operating theatre or clinic by eight. I work continuously till half past six. Then the evening time at home is spent on dinner, watching TV, reading books and spending time with my sons, till I retire to bed by ten.
TBE: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?
Dr Rishi Kanna: Yes, I read the Hindu newspaper and the Week magazine regularly. I like non-fiction, and my favorite authors include Malcolm Gladwell, Yuval Novah and Shashi Tharoor.
TBE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Dr Rishi Kanna: I like to draw and write blogs. I am a cartoonist and a meme creator.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Dr Rishi Kanna: I have started work on my next project. It is a psychological drama.