An Open Heart (David C. Cook) isn’t
just the title of Dr. Harry Kraus’s new book, it’s also a common theme in his everyday
life as a surgeon. The Doctor answered
four questions for us about his career and his newest project.

Q:  The characters in your book have supernatural experiences while
their hearts are stopped during heart surgery. Where did you get the idea
for this book?

Believe it or not, I got the first idea for this book when in a
dive boat in the Indian Ocean off Mombasa, Kenya. I saw a teenage boy with a T
shirt that said, "Crysis". I was intrigued by the spelling and
thought about what kind of novel could be written with a title like that (of
course, eventually, my publisher chose another title!). I thought, what if a
surgeon thought he heard a message from his long-deceased twin sister (a cry
from his sis...crysis). One "what if" thought lead to
another, and eventually presented itself as the plot for An Open Heart.

Q:  How much of the plot is pulled from real life experience?

All of the locations around Kenya are real places. Kijabe
Hospital is real. It's where I currently live and work. The Kenyan cuisine is
authentic. All of the open-heart scenes are taken from my real life O.R.
experiences, but the "other-worldy" experiences of the patients is
pure fiction.

Q:  What made Kenya a great setting for this book?

Kenya is perfect because it really is a hotbed for supernatural
activity, spiritual war, and witchcraft.

Q:  Which
do you prefer: writing a novel or performing a surgery?

or after midnight? I love both, but if someone needs emergency surgery, it sure
would be more preferable to need it between 9 and 5.

Q:  Do you have any projects currently in the works?

Yes! "Lip Reading" is a new novel and will come out in January with David C. Cook. It it a contemporary drama that surrounds the billion-dollar stakes game surrounding development of a safe artificial blood product.

Q:  Who is your favorite character in An Open Heart?

Oh, I am biased: The surgeon, of course. Jace Rawlings, flawed, touched by grace!

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About The Author

Best-selling author Harry Kraus, MD, is a board-certified surgeon whose contemporary fiction (beginning with 1994’s Stainless Steal Hearts and including his 2001 best-seller Could I Have This Dance?) is characterized by medical realism. He practices surgery in Virginia and formerly in Kenya where he served as a missionary surgeon. He and his wife, Kris, have three sons.