by I.W. Gregorio
To be published on April 7, 2015
by Balzer and Bray
Synopsis from Goodreads:What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant? When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him. But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned--something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts." Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?I read None of the Above last week and was impressed but the way the book tackled a little known and discussed issue. It's a compelling story that taught me more about what it means to be intersex and really made me think about issues of identity, the intersection of gender and biology, as well as tolerance and self-acceptance.
I'm thrilled to welcome author I. W. Gregorio to the blog. She's a practicing surgeon and here to tell us why she thinks writing is tougher than medicine. Below that, you can enter to win a mystery box of Harper ARCs!
|Waiting for a case to start|
by I.W. Gregorio
A couple of years ago, I was at a conference and ended up kvetching with an agent about all my anxiety surrounding publishing. She tried to calm me down by saying something like, “You’re a freaking doctor, why are you stressed out about hacking the book world?”
In response, I declared that medicine was a piece of cake. It was writing that was hard. To wit:
1. Most of the time in medicine, you have a roadmap to care, and a pretty well paved road in front of you. I mean, that’s what medical school is for: Giving you the knowledge and experience to navigate the human body. In contrast, when you’re a writer, you have to bushwhack the way to your story every day. Sure, you can hone your craft by taking classes and reading (in a way, other books are the closest things to signposts that writers have), but sometimes the beginning stages of writing a story feels like you’re wandering blindfolded in the jungle.
2. When you’re not sure what to do with a patient, you can always tell them to get a second opinion. But when you’re an author, only you can write your book. One of the reasons I initially didn’t go into writing was because I realized that, in the end, it was a solitary act. No matter how many critique partners you have, no matter what advice your agent or editor gives you, in the end, the buck stops with you. That is both liberating and somewhat terrifying.
3. Doctors get paid for the work they do (at varying levels, of course). Writers? Not so much. I have so much respect for every writer I know, published or unpublished. Because let’s face it, most of us don’t write for the money - after all, most writers don’t get paid they have a mostly finished product. And it’s freaking scary to operate without a net like that. And even if you get a six figure deal, if you count all the hours you spent writing (let alone the years you wrote before getting a publishing deal), you basically earn minimum wage. In other words, like many other writers, I’m keeping my job for now!
4. At the end of the day, when I’m not on call, I come home from work and can decompress from doctoring. But a writer’s job is never done. The blank page is a hard, hard mistress. There’s always another page to write, another paragraph to tweak.
5. People go to doctor’s because they need them; people read books because they want to - and as such, the writer is always at the mercy of a reader’s taste. Sure, medicine is moving toward an increased emphasis on patient satisfaction. But let’s be honest, in the end what really matters is outcomes - when a patient gets better, s/he is usually happy and grateful. S/he doesn’t downgrade your review because they didn’t like the cover, or the flap copy doesn’t match your story, or they don’t like how many times your character dropped an f-bomb. A truisim in writing is that no matter how good a book is, someone’s going to give it a one star.
Bottom line? Mad respect for the work that all authors do, and for their ability to reach thousands of people with a single book.
I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins). She is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books™ and serves as its VP of Development. A recovering ice hockey player, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. Visit her online on her website, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and GoodReads for her latest news.
Each None of the Above tour stop will debunk a common myth about being intersex. Here's Myth #2:
The Reading Date 5 Inspiring LGBTQI Books That Can, and Will, Change Lives
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