This week it is a joy to welcome author Ann Tracy Marr to Gina's World of Good! We share a lot in common, not only are we both writers...we are both survivors. Read about Ann Tracy's courage here. Thank you for visiting, Ann Tracy!
Ann Tracy Marr, my guest blogger, has published three Regencies with an intriguing splash of magic, with a fourth on the way. Faced with cancer, she took a break from romance and turned her keyboard to non-fiction.
Welcome to my blog, Ann. What is your newest book about?
Dear Cancer is about breast cancer and its treatment. In 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed; I became the average cancer patient. Then the diagnosis tightened. I had two triple negative tumors, a highly lethal type of breast cancer. Suddenly, I was the high risk patient. To cope, I acted like the typical writer: I began a diary. I also researched surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Treatment was challenging; I slept, suffered, and wrote my way through half a year of pain.
Once I began to join the real world again, I realized my diary could benefit others, so I made plans to publish it. Dear Cancer will be born October 1st.
Where did you get your inspiration for this book? Breast cancer treatment is gruesomely involved; it impacts the whole body, not just the breast. My compulsion to know, to understand, forced me to write things down. There are too many possible scenarios and too many solutions to those scenarios, to keep it all in your head. I ended up using my own writing as a reference book for procedures and when side effects attacked me.
Did you put real experiences from your research in this story? The diary is a blow by blow accounting of what happened to me. Mental anguish and physical stresses mingle. Mixed in is practical advice on different aspects of the disease. The reader will experience what happens in surgery, chemo rooms, and radiation labs, know what a biopsy feels like and what to expect from a chest port. She will be able to recognize side effects and have tips for dealing with them, know what Neulasta is and what it can do, and bone up on some of the latest research. Some of the information she can find easily herself, other things are difficult to discover. Instead of spending hours and days digging through various sources, with Dear Cancer, she can just read the book and know what is likely to happen.
What kind of research did you do for this book? I talked doctors and nurses into the ground. I read books, and I spent hours on top of hours on the Internet, going to medical websites, reading the results of clinical trials and research, and cruising chat rooms to learn what other patients experienced.
What intrigues you most about writing this story? It isn’t interest, but compulsion. Triple negative breast cancer is a killer; learning as much as you can in order to fight it in the most effective way is crucial. The patient has to react quickly to side effects and make intelligent decisions on how to care for her body. Knowledge is key, but gaining that knowledge is not always easy. I did the research for the next patient. Dear Cancer contains the information she needs to fight a killer.
That said, you, dear blog reader, may not care about breast cancer. Wander over to my website, www.atmarr.com to learn about my first love, the English Regency. But don’t settle down to read just another Jane Austen novel – romp through an award winning series where King Arthur once lived and Merlin’s magic spices life. There are three books published, with a fourth coming after the dust settles on Dear Cancer.