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I've lived among four completely different cultures: Persian, Russian, British, and American. Confusing as hell. So in my late teens and early twenties, I kicked around looking for my place in the world. From yearning to be a professional athlete to a guitarist to an all-around loafer, I finally settled on surgery. Of course, that came as a shock to my parents, who had long given up hope of me doing anything useful with my life. Somehow I managed a successful career as a university surgeon. I belong to numerous medical and scientific organizations, have published extensively in the medical literature, and received numerous awards for excellence in teaching. But most rewarding of all, I alleviated a lot of suffering.
But there was another mountain to climb: fiction writing. Why? I used to tell stories to my three kids before tucking them in bed. Based on my speckled background, those were ad-lib tales, never-ending cliffhangers, that did anything but put the little imps to sleep. Probably prodded by my loving wife, in their later years the children kept asking me why I didn't write novels. So I did.