Tiny Stitches – The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks

3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, April 14, 2017!

As Dr. Blalock’s research assistant, Vivien learned surgical techniques. In 1943, Vivien was asked to help Dr. Helen Taussig find a cure for children with a specific heart defect. After months of experimenting, Vivien developed a procedure that was used for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. Afterward, Dr. Blalock and Dr. Taussig announced their innovative new surgical technique, the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Vivien’s name did not appear in the report.

Exclusive interview with the author:

1) Be honest, how many drafts did you have to write for this book?

I’m sure I wrote at least 50 drafts. If I counted them, it would probably close to 100. As easy as writing may look to some, it is a hard and time consuming process. At least for me. I would have great sentences in my head, but when I type them, they are BORING! I continue researching as I write, because something catches my attention and I want to explore it. So the number of drafts inches up. Then of course, once it’s sold an editor has some extra thoughts. Did I say maybe 100 drafts? It’s probably more like 150!

2) How long does it take you to write a book?

I love writing early readers and those can take as little as two weeks to write to a couple of months. Nonfiction takes longer because of the research needed. I want to make sure everything is accurate for my young readers who depend on me. For Tiny Stitches, it took several years.

3) Tiny Stitches-The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas is a great title! Who came up with it? Was it the original title or did it change along the way?

I was working on the final draft when the perfect title occurred to me. It had a lot of titles along the the way, including Blue Babies which reminded my critique group of Smurfs.

As I read through it one day, I just wrote a list of words that popped out. Of those, tiny and stitches made me pause. My editor loved it and it stuck.

4) Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what do you like to listen to?

I do listen to music. Sometimes is classical. Sometimes jazz. If I’m writing something thoughtful, I listen to classical. If I want the project to be upbeat, I tune in to jazz.

5) If you had one message that you’d like to impart on your readers, what would it be?

Writing is not easy. But to become a writer, you have to be a reader. I was always an avid reader. Books are never far from me. They are all over my house and car. I read adult books, children’s books, anything I can find. I love libraries. I try to visit them whenever I travel. They are the coolest places in any city! And librarians are just as cool.

About the author:

Gwendolyn Hooks is the author of over 20 books for young readers Her latest, Tiny Stitches-The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas is a 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Chidren. Other books include If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights Movement and her popular Pet Club series. Visit Gwendolyn online at gwendolynhooks.com.

Giveaway info:

Title: Tiny Stitches – The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas
Author: Gwendolyn Hooks
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Capstone Publishers, Scholastic
Author website: gwendolynhooks.com

3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, April 14, 2017.

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