Intimate Conversation with D.W. Brooks, Author, Physician, and Kidney Transplant Survivor
Dr. D. W. Brooks is a distinguished physician and editor hailing from the heart of Texas, where she shares her life with her loving family. Passionate about maintaining her fitness, Brooks occasionally delves into culinary adventures, remains an avid reader, and pens her thoughts, both as an author and on her personal blog. Her life was transformed over half a decade ago, thanks to the selfless gift of a kidney donor. This profound experience has since fueled her fervent advocacy for organ donation.
For updates on upcoming publications, events, and more, explore https://authordwbrooks.com
BPM: Have you always wanted to become a published author?
Becoming an author was an early dream of mine but was pushed aside by practical considerations. A health crisis awakened the desire to write again. And with the ability to self-publish, I could see a path to getting my stories out of my head and into books that others could enjoy.
BPM: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
I love this question. One of the first words that I would use to describe myself would be TALL. I know it seems like an odd choice, but my height has had an enormous impact on my life. Because I grew so much so fast—about six inches in six months at age 12—my parents were acutely aware that I was at risk of being very self-conscious about my height. They sent me to modeling school—not to become a model but to gain poise and self-confidence in my new body. That bled over into other aspects of life.
Another word would be SMART. Being smart has been one of the tent poles of my life for as long as I can remember. From my parents, to teachers, to classmates, to everyone else—it was always one way that everyone described me. There were significant expectations that went along with the “smart” classification, too.
Finally, the third leg of the stool of “me” is NICE. I have been called “Saint Nikki” by friends and family for years. I have done the right thing, even when it was to my detriment. I try to be kind and respectful even when I shouldn’t. I am just nice.
Ironically, In July 2022, I asked several of my friends to describe me in three words, and almost all of them had some variation of smart and kind in their list. But everyone had TALL. It’s a thing.
BPM: Please share something our readers wouldn’t know about you.
I decided to become a physician after meeting a newly minted physician at my uncle’s medical school graduation when I was eleven years old.
My father wanted to expose me to all the careers that were available, so he asked his brother if our family could come to his graduation. My uncle had to get tickets and permission for me to attend some events, but he did, and we went. During the graduation dinner, I was sitting at the table with my family and a few of my uncle’s classmates. One was a young woman named Elizabeth Luck. Most of the classmates, in their excitement, were talking to their friends and family members. However, soon-to-be Dr. Luck spent a lot of that time talking to me. She was going into neurosurgery, and she told me about why she wanted to be a physician, why she chose neurosurgery, and what she hoped to accomplish.
She talked to me not like I was a child, but like I was someone who understood what she was saying. I left that experience totally admiring her and wanting to be just like her. I eventually changed my specialty to ophthalmology, but from the day I met her, my goal was to be a doctor. As a side note, I reached out to her after I finished my residency just to let her know I became a physician. She remembered me from that long-ago day.
BPM: Tell us what writing your first book was like. What was the journey like?
I started writing this book when I was developing kidney failure.
When I was eight years old, I wanted to be a writer. For various reasons, I changed my mind and went to medical school instead. By this point in my health issues, my energy was limited, and I hated just sitting or lying there doing nothing, I decided to write a story that had been in my head for a while—or rather, I should say, the characters had been in my head for a while. I spent some time developing my characters and general plotlines, but most of the time I was writing freehand. It took my mind off the fact that I felt like crap, and that it could be up to seven years before I received a transplant.
I finished the book before I received my transplant in December 2017, after which I took some time to recover. I put the book aside. Then, I hit a detour. My mother passed away in July 2018, and my father moved in with our family. He lived with us for almost two years, during which I didn’t touch the manuscript. After he passed away in 2020 during the pandemic, I started thinking about what to do with my completed manuscript.
Finally, I got it edited and started looking for some guidance. I signed up for a book publishing class—self-publishing can be confusing! I think I picked three publish dates and canceled them when life got in the way. Finally, here we are!
BPM: Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
I see having published at least five books in this series. I have more stories I would like to tell about these characters. Right now, I don’t have other concrete characters in my head that I would like to tell stories about, so that’s up in the air for now.
BPM: How do you find or make time to write? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
While I was writing my book, I had nothing else to do! So, trying to write with other obligations is a novel experience for me. I have planned some overarching plots for future books, but I don’t get into the weeds of the plot until I write a little. I know where I want each character to end up. I like to write some scenes and see how the characters are developing. Then I go back and do more story planning. Could I be a plotster?
BPM: Do you try to deliver to readers what they want or let the characters guide your writing?
At this point, I let the characters guide me as I write. As I noted, I like to see how the characters are moving toward my endpoint. I haven’t been in the position to have readers express an opinion about what my characters should be doing. I look forward to having that type of relationship with readers in the future.
BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips on self-care for creative folks?
Because of my health, I have learned to listen to my body as far as self-care goes. I exercise several times a week. For me, that’s going on walks. I try to make my daily bath a little respite period—even if it’s not a “spa” experience.
Writing does not have to be only story writing. Keeping a diary or journal where you write about other things, or jot down your thoughts and feelings, is always helpful. Taking breaks during the day, taking vacations, and spending time with your friends can help with self-care, too.
BPM: What other projects are you working on at the present?
Right now, I am working on the next book in the Chaos universe. I also have several blogs that I have had for several years and have been neglecting as I have worked on Homecoming Chaos. I plan to be a little more present on those blogs. I also have an Etsy store where I sell printables like planners, worksheets, and checklists. I want to become more consistent in creating products for those stores and marketing them. For updates on upcoming publications, events, and more, explore https://authordwbrooks.com
Connect with Dr. D. W. Brooks
Twitter (X): https://www.twitter.com/lifethereboot
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/43374981.D_W_Brooks