Carol Cassella was born as Carol Elise Wiley in Dallas, Texas. She is the youngest of three daughters to Katherine and Ray Wiley, and graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas in 1975.
Carol married Stephen Rowan Cassella in 1991 and now lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington. They are the parents of fraternal twins born in 1995, and identical twins born in 1996.
Carol has a degree in English Literature from Duke University, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where she was president of her medical school class three of the four years. She received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1986 and completed her internship at Baylor-St. Lukes Affiliated Hospitals in Houston, Texas before moving to Seattle where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Virginia Mason Hospital. In 1992 she returned to Virginia Mason Hospital for training in Anesthesiology. Carol is board certified in both internal medicine and anesthesiology.
Immediately after College Carol worked for Prentice Hall Publishing company before deciding to attend medical School.
Carol is a practicing anesthesiologist in the Seattle area and also a published novelist. She is the associate editor of Mind to Mind, the literary section in Anesthesiology, the journal of the American Society of Anesthesiology. She is also a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist on Healthcare. She is also a founding member of Seattle7Writers, a non-profit supporting literacy and reading in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to writing fiction, Carol wrote medically centered articles for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation profiling their grant recipients working in low resource countries around the world. She published her first novel OXYGEN in 2008.
After completing her residency at Virginia Mason Hospital, Carol practiced medicine at Pacific Medical Clinics, SeaMar Community Clinic and Pike Market Community Clinic until 1992 when she began her residency in Anesthesiology at Virginia Mason Hospital. She now works as a staff anesthesiologist at Virginia Mason Hospital and The Surgery Center of Silverdale. Carol serves on the board for BOSIA, the Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Island Association. BOSIA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on people-to-people exchange between residents of Bainbridge Island in Washington State and Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua.
Though she studied literature and wrote some fiction throughout her life, Carol did not begin a serious writing career until she was in her forties. “It was a source of discomfort and dissatisfaction for a long time, years, that I knew I wanted to write, and I felt the drive to write” she's noted. “I literally had to ask myself, can I just be happy with reading? And I realized that I couldn’t. I had to write. In order to go to the grave not feeling like I missed what I was supposed do.” She then enrolled in creative writing classes. Her first novel, Oxygen, was published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster. It was a national bestseller, and an Indie Best Pick in 2008. Her second novel, Healer, was also an Indie Best Pick in 2011. Her third novel, Gemini, was an Indie Next selection for March 2014, as well as a Library Reads selection, and won the PNBA’s BuzzBooks contest. All of her novels draw from her personal experience as a physician, her role as a mother, and her interest in medical ethics and the complexities of contemporary healthcare. Prior to focusing on fiction, Carol wrote informational articles for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from 1999 to 2001. She has also been published in the Wall Street Journal as well as other major literary outlets.
Carol is a founding member of Seattle 7 Writers, an organization founded in Seattle with the mission to support literacy organizations in the community and to create connections between writers, readers, booksellers, and librarians.
Gemini (Simon & Schuster, 2014): After ICU doctor, Charlotte Reese is put in charge of an unidentified hit-and-run victim whose operation leaves her in a coma, her usual professional distance evaporates as she fights to find out what went wrong and finds herself making increasingly complicated decisions that will tie her forever to the patient's fate: Who is this patient? Who should decide her fate if she doesn’t regain consciousness and ultimately, is a life locked in a coma worth living?
Healer (Simon & Schuster, 2010): When Claire Boehning starts working at a public health clinic, she meets Miguela, a bright Nicaraguan immigrant and orphan of the contra war who has come to the United States on a quest to find her extended family. As their friendship develops, a new mystery unfolds that threatens to destroy Claire’s family and forces her to question what it truly means to heal.
Oxygen (Simon & Schuster, 2008): An anesthesiologist at the height of her career faces a malpractice suit after a disastrous operation that ends a child’s life. At the same time, she has to cope with her aging father and ultimately confront questions of love and betrayal, family bonds, and the price of her own choices.