Carol Wiley Cassella, whose first novel, "Oxygen," won rave reviews, is a real-life Wonder Woman, juggling duties as a physician, a writer, wife and mother of two sets of twins.
This is what the book jacket says: Carol Wiley Cassella majored in English literature at Duke University and graduated from medical school in 1986. She practices anesthesiology in Seattle and is a freelance medical writer specializing in public-health advocacy for the developing world (www.carolcassella.com).She is the mother of two sets of twins and is working on her next novel.
The book jacket is for Cassella’s first novel, “Oxygen,” picked up, first-shot-out-of-the-barrel, by Simon & Schuster, with a comparison to mega-best-selling author Jodi Picoult.
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The twins, by the way, are 12 and 13. The medical writing was for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The anesthesiology work is at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Cassella also belongs to a writer’s group. And commutes from Bainbridge Island. And she’s on the board of the Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Island Association.
I need a nap.
Q: How did you catch the Bainbridge writing virus?
A: When (author) David Gutterson opened up Field’s End, the writer’s community, I immediately signed up for classes.
Q: How did you have time for that?
A: I did the writing when the kids were in school, on the days I was not in the hospital. I have a really supportive husband who never laughed at me. I was working full time until Will and Sara were born. Then I went to 60 percent. With the book I’ve dropped to 40 percent. Q: How do you have time for another book?
A: I learned some things from the first novel. Now I know when a sentence needs to go: When my first instinct is to kick it out, I do.
Q: What’s today looking like?
A: I’m still in my bathrobe, but I do have my coffee and I’ve answered some e-mail. I’m going to sit at the computer and revise a couple of chapters. Then I’m going to drive to Seattle and go to Bothell and do a reading and sign some books, and then I have to be at the hospital at 6 in the morning. In between, of course, I’m sure I’ll write some more chapters. And I’m doing a blog on a guest Web site.
Q: Is this how they all go?
A: They vary between hospital days and nonhospital days. On hospital days I get up at 4, walk on the ferry and walk up the hill to Virginia Mason. On average, those are 10- to 11-hour days. I come home, feed the family and collapse. When I’m not at the hospital it’s kids, mail, cleaning the kitchen, laundry, a run and car pools to ballet, tennis, soccer followed by homework and piano. We love those healthy Trader Joe’s frozen dinners on nights I work. Q: Do you have time for spare time?
A: You have to make spare time important and put it on your list.