Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this Q & A, please welcome author Michelle Lord, who wrote the nonfiction book Patricia’s Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight published by Sterling Publishing. What a phenomenal book, check out what she has to say!
BUT first- YAY! Michelle is generously giving away an arc of the book! All you need to do is comment on this blog post. Contest ends October 30, 2020.
The idea for a book about Dr. Bath first came to me in the fall of 2016. My mother had just been diagnosed with cataracts and scheduled for laser surgery. Around this time, I read an article about Dr. Bath’s invention of the Laserphaco Probe and technique for laser cataract treatment. I reached out to her via email and we spoke over several phone calls in early 2017. I wrote several drafts before sending my work to my critique group. I dug into revisions, and finally sent my story to my agent. I received a contract in November 2017, completed more revisions with a series of editors, and Sterling published Patricia’s Vision in January 2020.
Where did you draw the book’s inspiration?
In my conversations with Dr. Bath, she told me, “I was always a curious child.” I considered my own childhood. I too was an inquisitive youngster and questioned everything. I also related to Dr. Bath’s interest in science at a young age. I enjoyed assembling the spine and vital organs of my favorite toy, The Visible Woman, a model of the human body. My elementary science fair entry, The Eye, included a dissected cow eyeball.
Dr. Patricia Bath’s perseverance inspired me to share her story. A little girl in Harlem who had never heard of a female physician, grew up to become the first female African American doctor to receive a medical patent. Wow!
She told Good Morning America, “Hater-ation, segregation, racism, that’s the noise. You have to ignore that and keep your eyes focused on the prize. It’s just like Dr. Martin Luther King said, so that’s what I did.” I found her words inspirational and hope young people will be encouraged by her story.
What is your writing process, and does it vary depending on the project?
I begin most of my projects with the research. Even with fiction, I feel that research gives a framework to my story. For me, the most difficult part of any project is writing that first draft. Once I have something to work with, I can tackle the challenge of revision. After revision. After revision.
What differentiates your book from others with similar content currently on the market?
One thing I think differentiates my book is the series of telephone interviews I conducted with Dr. Bath. I believe this gives a personal touch to Patricia’s Vision that similar books may lack. Sadly, Dr. Bath never saw the completed project. She passed away in 2019 before the book was published.
Please paste a short and compelling excerpt from your book.
“Walking into work that first morning, she had no idea she was the first woman on the faculty! Her eyes widened upon finding her new office…
…away from the others, in the basement, next to the lab animals…”
Where do you see your career headed? Do you have other WIPs or projects in the pipeline you would like to mention?
I’ve written a picture book with eight-year-old NY State Chess Champion, Tanitoluwa Adewumi, that is scheduled for release from Thomas Nelson next month.
I’m writing a middle grade novel, though I find creativity hard to come by in this current climate. I recently read an article that describes these feelings as acedia. “We get distracted by social media, yet have a pile of books unread. We keep meaning to go outside but somehow never find the time. We’re bored, listless, afraid and uncertain.” I hope new daily writing goals will get me back on track.
Please share your favorite books that have inspired you and served as mentor texts. Pick one classic and one contemporary book. What is it about them that moved you?
Bread and Jam for Frances and other Frances books by Russell Hoban began my obsession with books. I learned to read at five-years-old, and these humorous stories grew my love of reading.
One of my favorite picture books is Frida by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Ana Juan. This book contains the perfect combination of words and images for emotional impact. While it wasn’t a mentor text per se, I also used the childhood to adulthood model for my book. Similar to Frida Kahlo, events in Dr. Bath’s childhood greatly influenced her later life.
The Queen of Physics, written by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Recca Huang, simplifies the complicated subject of beta decay for young readers. This is not an easy task. I love Teresa’s poetic writing style!
What is the best (one) piece of advice you would give to other writers?
When I first shared my goal of writing a children’s book twenty years ago, a family member said, “That’s a pipe dream.” While the comment felt like a punch to the gut, it also made me think, “watch me.” My advice to other writers? Never believe in the word, “impossible!”
I would choose to be my favorite flavor, Rocky Road. Chocolate boosts endorphins, improves mood, and tastes great. Almonds add interest. I’m not sure about the marshmallows, but I put up with them because the rest of it works.
Michelle Lord grew up in Carson City, Nevada, the oldest of three sisters. Ever since she could talk, she never stopped asking questions. These questions led to a passion for reading, research, and writing. To this day–to her family’s dismay–she still interrupts movies, musicals, and conversations with Who? How? What? Where? When? Why?
She is the author of Sterling’s A Girl Called Genghis Khan, as well as A Song for Cambodia, Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin, and numerous science books. Michelle lives in Texas, with her family.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Education, Inspiration & motivation, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing tips and tagged author, blog, books, Children's literature, dance, giveaway, nonfiction, publishing, writing.