Author Michelle Lord: On Never Giving Up- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

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Hello world!

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.

 

Please describe the journey to publication for this book.

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.

http://theconversation.com/acedia-the-lost-name-for-the-emotion-were-all-feeling-right-now-144058?fbclid=IwAR3IhYsWLUkMckK4Ejy65uHLPhq7O4Uis3FH8Ho1K5_lB8NJRMwFJsxrOOk

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!”

And a bonus question just for kicks! If you could be any flavor of ice cream, which one would you be and why??

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.

BIO

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.

 

22 thoughts on “Author Michelle Lord: On Never Giving Up- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

    limakat said:
    November 18, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    I was thrilled to win a copy of this book. Not only did I learn a lot, and relish in the illustrations, but I was deeply inspired by Dr. Bath’s determination, dedication, compassion and creative thinking. Thank you for sharing the book, and congratulations to Michelle Lord and Alleanana Harris for bringing it to life!

    Liked by 1 person

    csheer18 said:
    October 30, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    How bittersweet that Dr. Bath did not live to ‘see’ her story shared with the kidlit community, yet how fortunate, Michelle, that you got to ‘meet’ herby phone. I LOVE the story of your writing journey, especially the backstory of your cow-eye-ball science fair project! Looking forward to reading PATRICIA’S VISION!

    Like

    CarlaBourne (@CarlaEyeBourne) said:
    October 26, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Lydia, Thank you so much for featuring Michelle’s book!
    Michelle! I can’t wait for this to be released. I’m a black eye surgeon and Dr Bath is inspirational. Since my daugther currently runs around telling everyone she wants to be a doctor mermaid or that she wants to be a doctor like her mummy she will love this book and it just warms my heart knowing I can share her story in a way that my daughter can appreciate and learn and grow from it even at her tender age.

    Liked by 1 person

    ellenb said:
    October 24, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    What an interesting book journey, beginning with your mother’s surgery and ending with the published book, albeit after the Dr.’s passing. How fortunate that you were able to connect with your subject, whose words are so powerful. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    molleem said:
    October 22, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    My absolute favorite author! I definitely need this book to add to my collection!

    Liked by 1 person

    seschipper said:
    October 22, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Wow, Super interview !…..always follow your dream!!!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Teresa Robeson said:
    October 22, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    What an honor to have Michelle mention my book as a mentor text! I JUST read Patricia’s Vision a few days ago and I loved it. Way to go, Michelle, on writing a wonderful book about an amazing woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    Angie said:
    October 22, 2020 at 11:44 am

    What a wonderful book! Congratulations! And thanks for asking questions, lots of questions!

    Like

    chardixon47 said:
    October 21, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Positive interview. Thank you for sharing Dr. Bath’s journey. Congratulations Michelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    limakat said:
    October 21, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    GREAT INTERVIEW! I especially love her quote from Dr. Bath, “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.””
    Thanks for sharing her inspiring story.

    Liked by 2 people

    Joyce Schriebman said:
    October 21, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    This is an important story…on so many levels. Thank you, Michelle, for this addition to your ever-expanding catalog of creative, relevant, timeless books..

    Liked by 1 person

    Deb Buschman (@DebBuschman) said:
    October 21, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Oh my, tears came to my eyes that Dr. Bath passed before seeing the completed book. What an inspiration you both are. Congrats Michelle!

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      October 21, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, that was tragic…but so important to have the story told.

      Like

    rosecappelli said:
    October 21, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks for this important book. I also love taking on a challenge and try to remind myself to imagine the possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    TerriMichels said:
    October 21, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Never believe the word impossible is so true. Sometimes being Naive is a good thing in publishing. Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

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