Five on Friday with Mairi Chong @MairiChong

Today I’m delighted to feature author Mairi Chong. Mairi writes crime fiction with a very unhealthy dose of medicine. Shooting Pains the latest title of her Dr. Cathy Moreland Mysteries was published earlier this month.

After graduating from medical school, Mairi qualified as a general practitioner, specialising in addictions psychiatry and women’s health. She found the grittier side to medicine especially rewarding, working for homeless practices before gaining a partnership in a semi-rural practice in the northeast of Scotland.

Throughout her career as a GP, she met many thought-provoking people with stories that would equally shock and enthral you!

Having taken early retirement following the diagnosis of renal cancer and then bipolar disorder, Mairi now writes full-time and lives in Aberdeenshire with her horses, cats, husband and son. Any free time is given to reading her ever-expanding British Classic Crime collection and plotting murders for her Dr Cathy Moreland Mystery series.

Over to Mairi:

Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Hey Jude by The Beatles – I’m a massive Beatles fan and this song is like a mantra to me when times are tough. I feel as if I was born knowing the words


Lady Stardust by David Bowie – My brother and I got into Bowie as kids. A lot of Bowie’s songs are about trying to find who you are and where you fit in in the world. Perfect teenage angst music! I still adore anything Bowie. His voice gives me goosebumps.


There She Goes by The Las – I think The Las were a one hit wonder but I loved this song. I sang along to it a lot as a drunken medical student!


Follow Me by Uncle Kracker – This is an outright romantic smooch song. My husband sang it to me in the car when we first met and I was totally smitten. On closer listening unfortunately, it seems to be a veiled message about infidelity and drugs though so perhaps not as lovely as I at first thought!


Dance Tonight by Paul McCartney – This is such a sweet upbeat song and it always reminds me of my son who loved to sing along to it as a little boy, while stamping his feet to the rhythm.


What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

My cats and horses – unconditional love is hard to come by but I know I have it with them.

Books/Audiobooks – the easiest way to dissociate from life and travel anywhere!

Tea – I must drink about 10 cups a day. Can’t do without it!

My computer – purely so I can write. I could happily do without all the social media though!

Hot water bottle – I’m a cold tattie even during the summer months!

Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?

Trust your instinct! I think it gets squashed down with logic and conditioning as we grow up but gut reaction is such a powerful thing and I wish I had known how strong mine was earlier in life.

Speak your truth and be proud of it. When I was diagnosed with bipolar, I didn’t tell anyone and became incredibly isolated. Speaking openly about mental health is so freeing.

Get more books/cats/horses! (In other words, do more of what you love with all your heart!)

You will come through the dark stuff. Bipolar and changing career because of it, felt like the end. I wish I could reach out to that younger me, hug her and promise it would be fine.

You are different and that’s OK. I grew up feeling like I didn’t understand the rules of friendships and actually had a rotten time at school. I’d love to tell my younger self that the best friends I was searching for would come, only a bit later in life.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you

I have all The Beatles’ autographs and have seen Paul McCartney in concert twice.

I can’t read/watch/listen to any violence because I empathise too much! It’s a nightmare trying to find films I can safely see!

I had my first episode of mania just after giving birth and one of my delusions was that gangs of terrorists were operating from my local Tesco. At my most unwell, I swore at some poor man doing his shopping because I thought he was trying to steal my baby. (I was nearly sectioned afterwards!)

I come from a family of psychics and can read tarot.

I proposed to my husband during an argument after working late shift in A&E.

Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.

I’d love to promote healthy conversations about mental illness in my writing. The protagonist in my medical murder mystery series has bipolar and I hope people learn more about the illness when they read my books.

I’m currently at an in-between phase in my writing having finished one series of books for now. I am reading lots and looking for fresh ideas. I hope something sparks in my mind soon! I’m always happiest when I’m working on a project.

I’d like to go back to Iona (a tiny island on the west coast of Scotland). We holidayed there a lot growing up and it’s a very special place to me.

I’d like to see my son grown up, settled and happy. He’s sixteen and going through the trauma of exams at the moment. I wish I could take on all the worry for him.

I’d like to spend more time with my husband. He’s a busy doctor and he’s been exhausted with the pandemic. I’m hoping for a few day trips, meals and walks together this summer on his days off.

Many thanks for joining me today Mairi, always happy to meet another tea-aholic and ‘cold tattie’ – there are only about 5 days a years when I don’t bed socks in bed! I’m with you on gut instinct, it’s rarely wrong and we should definitely listen. That sounded like an interesting argument with your would be husband – real rom-com territory maybe that could be your new project? I hope you get back to Iona and get to enjoy some well deserved family time.

Mairi’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Shooting Pains (Book 4)

When a patient visits Dr. Cathy Moreland with a disturbing story of marital tension and a bruise on her upper arm, Cathy is understandably concerned. But the young woman, Fiona, refuses further help despite confiding that she’s afraid of her husband.
 
Cathy is more worried still when, just days later, Fiona’s husband urges her to sign his gun licence form. With no reason not to, Cathy reluctantly complies. Soon after, Cathy is horrified to hear of a death during a shooting party on a local estate. But Fiona is not the victim. Nor is Fiona’s husband the one who pulled the trigger—but it was his gun that took the victim down. Now Cathy is left questioning whether what looks like an accident is really a coincidence, and what’s been going on behind closed doors . . .


Deadly Diagnosis (Book 3)

A dying patient’s mysterious warning sends a doctor to follow a trail of murder in a new novel by the author of Death by Appointment.
 
As Betty Scott is dying, she warns Dr. Cathy Moreland that danger lurks at the charity shop where she volunteers. But the only clue she provides is a reference to the now-derelict psychiatric hospital called Fernibanks. Then Betty is found dead—but not from natural causes—and Cathy is compelled to investigate.
 
At the charity shop, Cathy encounters several workers, some of whom raise her suspicions.
 
When a local man with a learning disability is arrested for Betty’s murder, a man Cathy deems an unlikely suspect, she grows more determined to find the truth. And when two people end up in hospital, the story behind the recent events—and a long-ago death—begins to emerge . . .


Murder & Malpractice (Book 2)

Dr. Cathy Moreland has recently returned to work after battling mental health challenges, but her surgery in the British countryside is simmering, as usual, with tensions. One doctor struggles to keep up with the changes in the medical field; another, ambitious and aggressive, is romantically entangled with a nurse. The newest arrival, a pharmacist, seems very competent—but his behaviour is mysterious.
 
When one of the doctors dies after drinking a cup of coffee, the practice is thrown into a state of suspicion and chaos. Circumstances seem to point toward one partner—but Cathy intends to examine the evidence more closely . . .


Death by Appointment (Book 1)

A doctor retreats to the Scottish coast for a fresh start—but finds herself in harm’s way—in this compelling murder mystery.

Physician Cathy Moreland needs time to heal, having recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder while struggling with a painkiller habit. The little village of Kinnaven promises respite, but after Cathy attempts to get an opiate prescription, things don’t go well. When she discovers the body of the local Dr. Cosgrove, her sanctuary is shattered.

Before long, Cathy is swept up in local gossip about the death. Decades earlier, the cliff where Cosgrove died had been the site of another tragedy, leading some to suspicions about the doctor’s demise. But as Cathy determines to learn the truth, she will find herself in grave danger.


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