Rodolfo Del Toro - Funny, Witty, Tragic

Rodolfo Del Toro - Funny, Witty, Tragic
Surviving Jane

Rodolfo Del Toro is a physician with over twenty-five years of experience. He has spent most of his professional life in private practice and teaching. When away from work he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. When he can he steals time away to write and to feed, and unhealthy obsession with old Land Rovers and electric guitars. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Surviving Jane.

Please give us a short introduction to what Surviving Jane is about.

A young, burned-out doctor is counting the days to finally be done with his internship. He has decided to take a year off to see the world and consider if wants to continue journey as a doctor. Now on his last few weeks of internship he is assigned a Jane Doe with complications of substance dependence. From their first interactions he realized that she will make his remaining time that more difficult.

What inspired you to write this story?

Most of the inspiration is drawn from experiences during my last year of medical school and my internship, more than one patient dealing with dependence and complications from that dependence. From people that I admired on both sides of the fight.

How did your experiences as a doctor influence the story and characters in the book?

There would definitely be no writer without the doctor. My profession allowed me a life experience that made me mature that much faster and certainly made me see the world from a different place. My profession has made me fortunate enough to learn the amazing stories people carry, and their bravery often unbeknownst to those around them. It has allowed me to be a participant in those stories, for that, I am forever grateful.


The novel deals with heavy themes such as addiction, recovery, and hope. Why did you find this important to write about?

Because addiction is closer than anyone thinks, because everyone believes they are immune, because so many think “I am in control”. Because it does not take much to fall. Nevertheless, there is always hope, and there is always someone willing to help. And because as bad as you think your life has been, there is always someone worse off than you, who will never complain.

Tell us more about Dr. David Scholz. What makes him tick?

David is a typical first year intern, overworked, always tired, and grumpy. The irony is that despite feeling under appreciated he is diligent, selfless, and caring. He knows he has to do his job, he sometimes resent it, he is human after all, but he does it anyway. Sometimes he does more what has to be done.

Jane Doe is a pivotal character with a traumatic past. How did you approach writing her character and her interactions with the medical staff?

Oddly enough this book began as Jane’s story, not David’s. She is an amalgamation of the interactions I had with people afflicted by addiction.

With writing her character I wanted to covey her point of view, I needed to make her believable as someone who does not see anything wrong with her choices, or at that will justify them. Even if in the back of her mind she knew she was not.

Her interactions are very real parallels to things I experienced, and sometimes still do.

What challenges did you face in balancing the technical medical aspects with the emotional and personal elements of the story?

I learned a lot while writing “Chasing Rabbits” my previous book, so with Jane I think I had an easier time, and I hope I managed to maintain a good balance. As a spectator myself, I enjoy some background information, I like to understand what is happening when it relates to the story, but at the end it is the story that should take center stage. I don’t what the reader to have to look fire up a search engine to understand what’s happening.

What was your writing process like for Surviving Jane? Did you draw on specific real-life experiences or cases?

I have been planning this book for over twenty years. When I finally sat to write. the first draft was done in one month. The next drafts fought time with the realities of life and finding the characters real voices, it almost four years until I was satisfied.

Real life experiences? Absolutely, without real life we cannot have fiction.

How do you balance your medical career with your writing projects?

I truly don’t know; all I can say is that I make it up as I go.

Surviving Jane has received positive reviews, with readers praising its emotional depth and realistic portrayal of hospital life. How do you feel about the feedback you’ve received so far?

Very grateful.

When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?

Fight procrastination, then try to find the time. I do spend a lot of time playing with the ideas in my head. I tell myself the story while I drive to work.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

Music, and espresso coffee, many, far too many. When I get stumped, I play guitar or excessive. When I get in the zone, I try to get a chapter done every day. Funny enough I don’t write chronologically!


What are you working on right now?

I’m working around the story of a female lawyer who has a life altering accident and is forced to see a world she has never experience.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

I don’t have a website, for me they feel very 20th century, I do have public instagram account. @del_356