Writer and debut novelist David H. Trock is here today and we’re chatting about this newest crime fiction (a murder mystery), A Religion Called Love.
David Trock has been published in several genres including crime fiction and medical non-fiction. As a novelist, his foray into murder mystery was launched in 2016 with the psychological thriller, A Religion Called Love. In 2007, his first book titled, Healing Fibromyalgia, was published by Wiley & Sons. He's written book chapters and journal articles primarily in the field of rheumatology. He is an attending physician at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut and a clinician on faculty at Yale University School of Medicine
Welcome, David. Please tell us about your current release.
A Religion Called Love is an unconventional murder mystery that draws attention to controversial themes, such as the meaning of faith, the debate over stem cells & tissue cloning (known as somatic cell nuclear transfer), and the pain of unrequited love.
When a young kindergarten teacher confesses the truth about her unorthodox religious beliefs, a throng of angry parents confronts her. The next day, she is found dead, and an investigation led by Detective Robin Noel (a friend of the deceased) exposes the lurid secrets inside a small town.
What inspired you to write this book?
At first, the story was inspired by the yearnings of three different men for the central character (Kathryn), then I folded in the dynamic of a woman (Detective Robin Noel) who also secretly pined for her, then I focused on the intertwining of their lives after Kathryn's death. The subplots pertaining to religious faith and humanism came later and fit perfectly into the narrative.
Excerpt from A Religion Called Love:
(from the end of chapter 1)
When word of Kathryn's attitude spread, she was snubbed in the teacher’s lounge, anonymously harassed online and marginalized by a small but formidable core. At dismissal one Friday afternoon, she found herself surrounded outside the door of her own classroom by a throng of angry parents. Confronted by pointed fingers and accusations, she was forced to field questions from all directions. What kind of teacher are you? What kind of values are you teaching our children? You’re a disgrace to the school!
Kathryn flinched, thinking an object had been hurled in her direction. The brief misperception tugged at her playful sense of humor—she had nearly smiled but thought better of it. By chance, a security guard was making his rounds and diffused the situation by his mere presence. He strolled past the adults, who nodded politely in unison, and when he was out of sight once more, their angry pitch returned. Don’t put confusing thoughts in their minds! You don’t have children of your own, stay away from ours!
Kathryn tried to assure everyone that her personal beliefs were no threat whatsoever to their children. She insisted that only kindness and fairness and the Golden Rule were emphasized in class—but their anger only escalated. Finally, she said, “I’m going home now.” She squeezed through the fray and turned to say one more thing: “By the way, if you’re certain that having a religion is required to be a good teacher, then my religion is love—love for one another—love and respect for all living things. That is my religion.”
Kathryn walked away from the spectacle that Friday afternoon and made little of it. She ended her week in the usual way, on the top step of her cement porch with a cup of green mint chocolate chip ice cream. A roach clip sat in the porcelain ashtray beside her. “Sugar Magnolia” echoed in her thoughts. A crescent moon lit a corner of the sky that evening and she slept well.
The following day, Kathryn’s body was discovered at home with no sign of forced entry—no evidence of rape or robbery. She was only twenty eight when it happened, a crime that roused the neighborhood from its provincial slumber. Neighbors whispered from behind the yellow police tape that she should have been more careful. A patrol car idled silently at the curb with lights running. Curious onlookers gathered to see what was going on, speculating among themselves about the pretty kindergarten teacher inside. Detectives arrived in short order to ask them what they had seen or heard, and their responses were predictably useless. No less than a dozen different stories belied the fact that nobody knew exactly why Kathryn James was dead or who was responsible.
A five-block area was scoured for evidence. Detectives went door to door looking for clues. One reclusive neighbor protested for being questioned more than once, but Detective Robin Noel didn't care; she was accustomed to that kind of response.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm working on several projects, both fiction (the first living heart donor), and non-fiction (about treating chronic pain).
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still think of myself as a doctor, teacher, husband, father, and somewhere in there I get my share of writing done.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I love to write, so I find time to do it whenever I can.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually write freehand, then I edit at least once before transferring to my laptop.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I love animals, so I wanted to become a veterinarian.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I've attended several book groups that have focused their debate on the religious themes of A Religion Called Love, and I think that's okay - but don't forget the love part!!
Thanks for being here today, David!