Coma Author-Physician on His New Medical Thriller, Cell

Eric Topol Talks Medicine and Murder With Best-Selling Author Robin Cook

; Robin Cook, MD

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February 03, 2014

In This Article

33 Books and Counting?

Dr. Topol: Are you going to keep writing?

Dr. Cook: I hope so. It's a challenge. Every time I finish a book I really have a question of confidence: Can I do another one?

Dr. Topol: Well, you've done 33.

Dr. Cook: I know, but I still feel that way. Do you remember what it was like in medical school when you had to act like a doctor and you didn't feel like you were a doctor? You felt like you were the imposter. Eventually you overcome that. Unfortunately, in terms of being a writer, that's never happened; I still feel like I'm learning every day.

Dr. Topol: Did you feel that way as an ophthalmologist as well?

Dr. Cook: No, I felt very comfortable. There's something more elusive about writing. When I went to college, I had an idea or some sort of mental image of an author: An author was some sort of philosopher-type individual who, most of the time, smoked and wore very thick sweaters -- sort of like Hemingway. I'm not anything like that. I still feel that I took all the wrong courses in college. I wish I had taken some literature and some more history.

Dr. Topol: It seems like you've done pretty well.

Dr. Cook: Whatever I've done, it's been self-taught. But I have to say that college did help me, because it encouraged me to do a distinction thesis as an undergraduate, which I did all on my own. I don't think I would have tried that first book had I not had that experience. So Wesleyan University did help me.

Dr. Topol: That's terrific. This has been a really fascinating discussion, because I don't think there's anyone who's written 33 medical thrillers who's a physician, and you've really captured the message of digital health in your latest book. Thanks so much for joining us on this Medscape One-on-One.

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