Monday, January 13, 2014

Ignoring The Pain

Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author, J.L. Greger , who brings Sara Almquist, from Ignore the Pain, a November 2013 release from Oak Tree Press.
Sara, where are you from? I’m a retired baby boomer, living in the Albuquerque area with my Japanese Chin dog, Bug. Isn’t he cute in the picture? Actually my retirement from being a professor is relative thing, I still consult as an epidemiologist.
Please tell us a bit about Ignore the Pain. Did you know 6% of children born in Bolivia die before their fifth birthday? That’s why in Ignore the Pain, I agreed to be a member of a team sent by USAID to Bolivia in 2015 to assess public health problems. I knew the trip would be rough, but I didn’t expect to be tracked across Bolivia from La Paz to Potosí by drug cartels protecting their interests in the coca trade. But as I showed in Coming Flu, I like adventure.
What made you choose epidemiology as a profession? Epidemiology allowed me to ask endless questions – be a busybody so that I could piece together logical solutions to medical problems.
If you had it to do over again, would you do something different? I wouldn’t have picked the same man as a husband, but that was long ago. We were only married for a couple of years, and now I’m not sure I can find a man as interesting and loyal as my Bug.
What is your biggest fear? Being useless.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? My sister, Linda Almquist. She’s everything I’m not – neat, tactful and a caring physician. She’s a supporting character in the medical thrillers Ignore the Pain and Coming Flu, where I’m the protagonist. I tried not to nag her too much in the medical mystery Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, where she’s the heroine.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I’ll quote form Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight:
“There are three types of problems. A few problems are like wine; those situations improve if you delay decisions and let them age. Most problems are like waste paper. You can ignore them because they don’t matter. Unfortunately like waste paper, they tend to be messy when they pile up. And some problems are like manure. You must identify them quickly before they stink.”
J.L., which writer had had a major impact on your writing? Probably John Grisham. He is a lawyer, who seems to love the law, but honestly describes the strengths and weaknesses of his fictional legal colleagues in his books. As a retired professor, I wanted to emphasize the importance of science, but I also wanted to demonstrate the need to apply scientific knowledge wisely when trying to answer societal problems, without turning most faculty members into laughing-stocks as Jane Smiley (another of my favorite authors) did in Moo.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I traveled to Bolivia about eight years ago and am a scientist. Originally I planned to feature Dengue fever in Ignore the Pain, i.e. have Sara chart the spread of this mosquito-borne viral disease from Bolivia to the US and have her sister Linda be involved in establishing a center on tropical diseases at the medical school. Then a label from a coca tea bag fell out of my souvenir file from Bolivia. As I fingered it, I knew that coca and pain management had to be the themes in Ignore the Pain.
This entire interview has been a fascinating experience—for a number of reasons. Let's read a blurb for Ignore the Pain:
Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission in Bolivia. Soon someone from her past in New Mexico is chasing her through the Witches’ Market of La Paz and on to the silver mines of Potosí. Unfortunately, she can’t trust her new colleagues, especially the sinister Xave Zack, because any one of them might be under the control of the coca industry in Bolivia. Worst still, she’s not only put herself in danger but also her sister Linda back in New Mexico.
Thanks, for that, J.L. Now, please tell us a bit about your publisher. I met Billie Johnson, the owner and publisher of Oak Tree Press, and a number of authors, who are associated with Oak Tree Press, at a Public Safety Writers Conference. Most of the editors and agents I had met up to that point were condescending. The people I met associated with Oak Tree Press, especially Billie, Marilyn Olsen, and Marilyn Meredith, were nice and offered helpful advice.
What about the submission process? I think the process for books differs for the first book and later books. It was about a year from the time I first talked to Billie about Coming Flu until it was published; the submission to publication time for Ignore the Pain was about four months.
Thank you so much for visiting us today. This has been a real pleasure!
To learn more about J. L. Greger and the stories she creates, go to her website at and her blog JL Greger’s Bugs at
For Coming Flu go to


  1. Thanks for hosting Sara and me. Sara never thought of herself as a wild woman before, but I guess she fits the image.
    JL Greger

  2. hey, you never know!
    glad to have you join us, J.L. and Sara and Bug, of course.
    This story looks like a winner.
    kat and veronica