Exclusive Interview with
Charles W. Page MD
When did you start writing?
I started writing over fifteen years ago. My first book grew out of my quest for a good night's sleep. I wrote a book which explored sleep and rest from a Christian worldview, called Surrendered Sleep.
As a physician all kinds of things rob my ability to sleep well. Trying to piece them all together I began to study the Bible to find some answers. I was surprised to find lots of answers to help be get some shut eye.
Being my first attempt at writing and publishing, I learned lots of things--the hard way. Now, years later--I'm able to laugh a little about my first book. I tell folks, "Read my book. One way or another--you'll get a better nights sleep."
What makes writing your passion?
Over the years I've realized writing is a way for me to process the chaotic events I encounter--as a surgeon, father, and husband. I've realized the greatest benefit is probably the one I receive--learning how to cope with life's crazy circumstances.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Disappointment. I expected the waters to part, my life to be changed, and readers to be excited about my book. Instead, I heard the lonely sound of crickets.
Then I began to think about my career as a surgeon. They don't allow you to take organs out of people the moment you enter medical school. It's a process--and a long one at that.
I began to dig deeper and hone the craft of writing, working on my skills and voice.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
The characters in my nonfiction works are real people. Their names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.
Like most writers I get ideas--in the day to day activities of life. The people and circumstances I face. I guess that's one benefit of not quitting my day day job. Every day I encounter a situation where I think, "Wow, that would make a great story or teach an inspiring lesson."
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Lack of time.
Like most writers, I carry a lot of hats:
Father of Five Kids
Husband to Joanna for 27 years
Owner of a small business
Leader of two Bible Studies
Attending and teacher for medical students
Number two on the "annoyance" list is focus. There's always something to distract a writer from writing.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Not much. I've learned to make my stories short and sweet. Once again, the old enemies of time and focus make longer stories almost impossible.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell my younger self:
Why did you worry?
Why did you major on the minors?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Well, I've had some doozies. I remember reading a scathing review on Goodreads about my Spoonful of Courage for the Sick and Suffering book. The review started out with the word "horrible".... and got worse from there.
As a surgeon, I live with criticism almost on a daily basis. My process for dealing with criticism begins by looking upward. Experiencing God's unconditional approval--apart from my performance is one of the best places to start.
Then I look inward. Within each criticism there may be something which I can learn from--a bit of truth which I need to work on.
Then I look outward. I try to pray for the naysayer and empathize with them. Often negative words come from a past life event which influenced their life.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time. If I quit my day job, I would have no fodder for my stories.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
In my newest kids' picture book, Fluffy's Christmas Gift. I can identify with the Fluffy the tree ornament. Like me, he desires to rise to the tree top, facing ridicule and disappointment. And in the process, his body breaks down.
In the end, Fluffy gets to the top, but finds new meaning. I'm realizing all the challenges, disappointments, and setbacks have been part of God's bigger plan. And, like Fluffy, things haven't turned out exactly the way I dreamed they would. But my life events have served a greater purpose.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting with them. Some readers share their stories with me. We post their interviews on Spoonful of Courage TV. I believe everyone has a life lesson or an experience worth sharing. Unfortunately, I don't have time to do hear everyone's stories.
For those who have a story of faith, hope, and courage, contact us here:
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Great. But I've learned not to take it to heart. People can be fickle.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Max Lucado--for inspiring people's faith
Jack Canfield--for writing volumes of impactful short stories
Francis Schaefer--for encouraging people to think
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I don't think that way anymore.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Yep. Of course.
Did you know the American classic, Red Badge of Courage, underwent eleven revisions in the first couple of years. That gives me hope. Even the classics could have been tweeked.
My newest nonfiction book, Spoonful of Courage: Equations to Find Grace in Life's Challenges, had to undergo a full set of revisions from cover to cover. And I'm still not happy with the title.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
No one. I don't think that way. I'm learning to embrace who I have been created to be
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I wouldn't say anything to them. Responding often makes things worse. As a surgeon, I've developed tough skin.
What would you say to your readers?
I want my readers:
to be inspired.
to have their faith and courage strengthened.
to see the possibilities in their problems.
to know they are not alone--that others are with them in their journey.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I've been married to Joanna for 27 years. I describe myself as the best guy to see on the worst day of your life. Joanna, of course, is the best person to see any day of your life.
We have five kids, four of which are in college. Being a husband and dad have been the most fulfilling part of my life.
Joanna's love for bedtime stories has motivated me to write picture books for kids. Climbing the Upside Down Tree was illustrated by my oldest daughter Georgia.
We live in small town Texas, have the most picturesque view from our back porch, and have a triple-decker tree house.
What is your day job if you have one?
Surgeon. I get the meanness out of people. Or maybe the reverse happens--my patients sometimes get the meanness out of me.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
That's really funny. Hobbies? You've got to be kidding.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
My senior English teacher, Mrs. Nixon, inspired me to read. And reading begets writing.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yep. I've got another book in the Spoonful of Courage series coming out next year for Caregivers and hopefully another in the fall of 2023--another attempt at sleep--Spoonful of Courage for the Sleep Deprived.
I've got another children's picture book called the Lizard in Lizzie's Gizzard, hopefully next year.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Children face a lot of pressure these days. Politically they are becoming pons in cultural chess game. We forget that kids are facing some tough challenges. The need to be loved and encouraged--first and foremost.
And yet, they need to be challenged intellectually. I don't think kids are being inspired to think.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
To be content in life's circumstances
To think how I can bless others with my hands, my head, and my heart.
To fulfill the purposes God created me for....
and, woops, a #4-- a selfish one:
To have 30 minutes a day to sit and watch a sunset--without distractions.
What is your favorite music?
I play the guitar and love all kinds of music.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I have won three prestigious awards in my life:
In high school, I won second place in the Ugliest Man on Campus contest.
In college, I was awarded, Most Likely to be Sued for Malpractice.
My medical school class awarded me the, Most Likely to Marry a Denny's Waitress Award. ( And no, Joanna never worked at Denny's).